The rumors prior to the start of the Chatmoss Classic at Chatmoss Country Club were that the course would play “really easy.”

Tournament winner Matthew Ryan would beg to differ.

Ryan won the first Chatmoss Classic Thursday in Martinsville with a three-day score of 203, 7-under par. He was one of just five players to finish the tournament under par.

Ryan shot 68 on the par 70 course for the final round to win by two strokes.

“Actually there were some rumors, guys said it was going to play really easy because there were a lot of wedges,” Ryan said. “But the greens, there’s so many small sections that if you don’t control your spin you could have really tough putts. I didn’t think it would play as hard as it did.”

Ryan shot 1-under on the first day, and said he was surprised to be in third and still near the top of the leaderboard through 18. Ultimately, he was happy to play a course that provided a challenge to everyone involved.

“Sometimes that’s just kind of a war of attrition,” he said. “Just stay in play and get somewhere on the greens, make some pars and don’t do anything crazy, so I thought it played great. You rarely get to play courses that are single digits wins so that was awesome.

“I got off to a bad start so then I was kind of in my own world. My short game was awesome. I chipped and putted really nicely. I didn’t hit it very well but sometimes if you just keep it on land it’s good. Short game on a tough course is sort of all you need at times.”

The tournament was part of the GPro Tour, a professional golf tour that was established in 2013 as a “regional platform for aspiring professional golfers,” the tour’s website states.The tour travels throughout Virginia, North and South Carolina for tournaments. This week’s tournament at Chatmoss was the first of it’s kind, though GPro Tour founder Gary Haugh said they’re already in discussions to return next year and hope to make it an annual event.

The week started with a pro-am on Sunday, allowing Chatmoss amateurs to play a round with the tour pros. The tournament started on Tuesday, with a junior clinic, and longest shot and nearest pin contests.

Fifty-five golfers competed in the event, with 18 making the cut for the final round.

Ryan, a California native, was paired with Ridgeway native, and Magna Vista graduate, Adam Webb for the final round Thursday. Ryan said he’s known Webb for about eight years, and said having a friend on tour who knew the course this week helped him.

Ryan had never played at Chatmoss prior to Monday’s 9-hole practice round.

“My mindset going in was if I could hang with him I’d be in good shape,” Ryan said of Webb. “As pros we notice a lot on our own, but even yesterday I texted Adam, there was a pin position on the first hole and I texted Adam and said, ‘Do you even hit driver to that?’ And he texted back and said, ‘No you hit 3-wood,’ and I hit 3-wood and made birdie... I wouldn’t say it was things I didn’t know. Just like every guy out here sometimes you become more aware when someone who plays here all the time tells you. And obviously Adam knows what he’s doing. He’s a great golfer and has been for years. I wouldn’t trust everyone but every bit of information he gave me I wrote it down in my yardage book, so it was huge.”

Webb finished the tournament tied for ninth, 4-over par.

Webb, a GPro Tour regular, was just one local to Chatmoss who welcomed the tournament with open arms. Haugh said they had great support from Chatmoss membership in the lead-up to this week, and during the five days of events. The great community was one good review he heard from tour players.

“The guys that have come forward have said nothing but positive things about the event and the golf course, and especially about the community,” Haugh said. “I think the pro-am we hosted on Sunday has gone over really, really well. They really got behind that one. It’s a bit of a smaller field than we wanted this week but the players that were here, I believe that they really enjoyed it and they felt the support and I think next year it will only grow from there. So the best that we can do is have the guys who are out support it and it just grows from that point.”

“I had a great host family and everyone working at the club was great,” Ryan added. “Everyone working here has been thanking us, which should be the opposite. I’m sure every player is happy to be here too. So it’s nice when you feel like the local crowd is really happy to have everyone here. There was a great crowd on the last hole. and most of the day... so it was great. For a mini tour golf event it was awesome.”

Cara Cooper is the sports editor of the Martinsville Bulletin. You can reach her at (276)638-8801 ext. 241.

Cara Cooper is the sports editor of the Martinsville Bulletin. You can reach her at (276)638-8801 ext. 241.