Alabama State Amateur: UAB's Cannon leads
POINT CLEAR, Ala. (June 6, 2014) - Former Hoover High School golfer and UAB golf team sophomore Will Cannon leads the 98th State Amateur at Lakewood Golf Club's Dogwood Course after rounds of 68-70--138.

Elkmont's Lee Hodges (66-73) and Forrest Knight of Clanton (71-68) are tied for second, a shot back, on 139 with Dothan's Ryan Benton fourth after rounds of 72-68--140. He is a redshirt sophomore on the golf team at Auburn.

"I played really well in the first round and just tried to continue to execute my game plan in my second round. I got a little conservative on the back nine, but am still pleased with how I stand," Cannon said.

"It may sound a little unusual, but my swing doesn't feel that great. I've been saving a lot (of shots) with my short game. I suppose I got a little conservative as subconsciously your (good) score creeps into your mind a little. I lost my focus just a little, but my Dad, John Cannon, has helped me a lot."

The elder Cannon runs SunBelt Golf Corporation, the entity that manages the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which is statewide and is funded by the Retirement Systems of Alabama. Lakewood Golf Club's 36 holes (the State Amateur is being played on the Dogwood Course) is part of the Trail. He is proudly caddying for his son his week.

"I think I finally came to realize that Dad knows more about the game than I do and he can help me. I'm excited about the position I'm in. It's been a very long time and I'm excited about the opportunity before me."

Hodges, 18, recently graduated from Ardmore High School and he plays his golf at Canebrake Golf Club in Athens. He will join Cannon as a UAB Blazer as a freshman this fall.

He finished T-10 last year in the State Amateur and earlier this year won the State High School 4A individual title. He has won two SJGT events as well.

Hodges got off to the perfect start making eagle on his first hole after holing "a bomb" (of a putt). This took him to eight-under-par and he played a steady front nine, dropping one shot on No. 8. However, disaster befell him on No. 10 when he pulled his tee shot slightly and it was lost in a dense tree. He had to go back to the tee and ended up with a triple bogey. He steadied himself and played the rest of the back nine one-under-par.

"I just made one bad swing all day and it really cost me. I was frustrated (about that hole) for a little bit, but knew I had to focus (straight away) on 11 as it's a tough hole.

"Still, I feel good about where I'm at and I like my chances (over the weekend)."

Knight just finished his freshman year at the University of North Alabama. When home for the summer he plays his golf at Timberline in Calera.

"I feel pretty good about everything. Visually this course sets up really well for me. I played (in the second round) how I wanted to play and how I know I can play."

Shot of the day came from Patrick Twesme of Florence who made a hole-in-one on the 165-yard No. 8 using a 7-iron. After Friday's second round, the cut was made to the low 66 and ties, falling at 154, 10-over-par.

ABOUT THE Alabama State Amateur

Entries are open to any male amateur golfer who is a legal resident of Alabama, and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at an AGA member club that does not exceed 8.4. Pre- qualifying for non-exempt players, followed by 72 holes of stroke play.

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