JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Zachary Healy of Peachtree Corners wins the Atlanta Amateur Match Play Championship over David Noll, Jr., of Dalton, 19 holes. In a final match where the momentum shifted many times, the high school senior defeated the seasoned competitor whose name is etched on the trophy four times. The 95th playing of the annual competition took place at Rivermont Golf and Country Club, October 3-6.
To start the final match, Noll got off to a quick start with birdies on holes one and two, taking an early 2 up lead. Both players matched each other's par on the next four holes (three, four, five and six), before both bogeying the 573-yard par 5 seventh hole, keeping the match in Noll's favor. Making the turn with Noll 2 up, Healy won holes 11, 13 and 14, taking a 1 up lead with four to play. The next three holes would go back-and-forth with Noll winning 15, Healy winning 16 and Noll winning 17. Standing on the 18th tee with the match all square, both players would hit drives in the fairway. Both players would then make par and the match would continue to the first tee (19th hole). Healy would then secure the victory, his first, over Noll in 19 holes.
Healy made his way to the final match with four wins in two days. He topped Michael Standard of McDonough in the round of 32, 3 and 2, and then dominated Terry Rush of Buford in the round of 16, 8 and 6. In the quarterfinals, Healy met Brad Hondros of Atlanta, who recently won Rivermont's club championship, and earned the victory, 1 up. In the semifinals, Healy and Georgia Tech golfer Michael Hines of Woodstock battled before Healy clinched the win on the 18th hole, 2 up.
Noll's road to the finals began with a win over one-half of the reigning Georgia Four-Ball Championship team, Danny Nelson of Savannah, 1 up, in the round of 32. Then in the round of 16, Noll and Mitch Kim of Peachtree Corners went the distance plus some, with Noll outlasting Kim in 23 holes. In the quarterfinals, Noll defeated reigning Georgia Senior champion Jack Hall of Sea Island, 3 and 2. Noll and Jerry McFadden of Johns Creek, who is a member of Rivermont Golf and Country Club, met in the semifinals with Noll once again prevailing, 3 and 1.
In a way the tide turned at this year's event. Last year when Noll won in 19 holes, he did it by beating a high school senior, Tripp H'Doubler of Atlanta, in the final match, who went on to play golf at a Southeastern Conference school (University of Missouri). This year, Noll fell short in 19 holes, again to a high school senior, who will go on to play collegiately at a Southeastern Conference school - the University of Georgia, next fall.
The 95th annual Atlanta Amateur Match Play Championship was open to male amateur golfers who are GSGA members and the field was made up of those with the lowest USGA handicap indexes. The format was 18 holes of stroke play qualifying with the low 31 and the defending champion advancing to single-elimination match play.
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