Derek Cleveland wins 2019 Singing River Classic

Derek Cleveland (right) shakes hands with Will Fisher, director of golf at Robert Trent Jones, after Cleveland won the Singing River Classic on Sunday. [SAVANNAH VICKERY/TIMESDAILY]

The inaugural Singing River Classic is officially in the books, so that means congratulations are now in order for the tournament’s first overall champion.

Derek Cleveland had no difficulty securing his victory in Sunday’s championship round at Robert Trent Jones, where he shot a 74 to put him at 3-under in the tournament’s final standings.

In Friday’s first round contest at Cypress Lakes, Cleveland grabbed the lead in the regular division and never looked back. The transition from green-to-green would not faze him as he dominated the leaderboards from the tournament’s start to its finish.

With this victory, Cleveland is heading home with a gift certificate to Robert Trent Jones and the first Singing River Classic first-place award.

To earn his second-place spot and a credit to RTJ, Corey Rochelle carded a 72 in Sunday’s championship round to wrap up his run in the tournament at 2-under. Matching his father’s championship-round score, Codey Cleveland shot a 74 on Sunday to secure third place in the contest.

In the senior division, Fred Boughner and Scott Stephens finished the tournament tied for first, each wrapping things up at 1-under. In Sunday’s championship round, Boughner carded a 72 while Stephens shot a 69. The two first-place winners earned gift certificates to Cypress Lakes.

Throughout all three rounds, Dale Nesbitt and Charles Whitehead remained dominant in the super senior division leaderboards. The two participants finished out the weekend at even par, which was 215 for the multiple-course slate.

Following the completion of this year’s Singing River Classic, organizers said they are pleased with the overall turnout of the event.

Given it is the first individual stroke-play, multiple-course event the area has hosted in recent years, Will Fisher, director of golf at RTJ, said he believes this tournament will become a Shoals area tradition with its unique format.

“For this to be put together three, four months out, the 54-player turnout isn’t bad at all,” Fisher said. “We also ran into competition with other tournaments, mainly the Spirit of America event in Decatur, so we’re looking to avoid conflict in the future with that.”

And although the inaugural Singing River Classic is over for 2019, local golfers should plan to save the date in their amateur golf calendars for next year’s event.

Moving forward, event coordinators including Fisher (RTJ), Scott Arndt (Cypress Lakes) and Jason Vaughn (Blackberry Trail) are planning to hold the 2020 Singing River Classic golf tournament from June 26-28, so those interested should begin to plan accordingly.

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