BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Leading after every round, defending champion Will Cannon successfully defended his title in the 99th State Amateur Championship at Mountain Brook Club on Sunday. The UAB rising senior and Hoover resident had rounds of 65-68-72-68–272, good for 12-under-par 272, and a four-shot win over Patrick Martin (68-71-69-68–276).
He becomes the first player since Montgomery resident and former University of Alabama golfer Hunter Hamrick to win back-to-back State Amateurs, with Hamrick doing so in 2009 and ’10. Cannon indicated he hoped to go for three in a row next year when the 100th State Amateur will be hosted by the Country Club of Birmingham. Sam Farlow is the only player to have won three in a row (1986-88).
Cannon had a share of the lead after round one with Matt Johnson. He then led the rest of the way on his own as he successfully kept his challengers at bay.
Martin, the reigning State High School 7A individual champion, recent Spain Park High School graduate and soon-to-be freshman on the Vanderbilt golf team, put some pressure on Cannon, getting within two shots on multiple occasions, but could get no closer in what turned into a two-horse race.
University of Alabama rising senior and Mountain Brook resident Tom Lovelady fired the low round of the day, a 66, to move to five-under-par overall and a third place finish. Cannon’s UAB teammate Taylor Eyster, who played for Mountain Brook High School and will be a sophomore for the UAB Blazers, finished in fourth place.
But it was Cannon’s day. After three pars to open his round, he caught fire with birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6. After a bogey on hole 8, he rebounded by a birdie on No. 9 to go out in 33 and lead Martin, who started with three birdies in his first five holes, by three.
Cannon played the back nine in one-under-par with bogeys on holes 10 and 15 against birdies on 11, 13 and 18, to close out in style in front of a large group of spectators.
“It really is very special to win the State Amateur,” a jubilant Cannon said. “It makes all the hard work I put in worthwhile. This is why I do work hard…for days like this.
“Patrick put a lot of pressure on me and I was glad to hold him off. I was trying my best to not worry about what he was doing and to play my game, stick to my game plan, but he made it tough. He just didn’t make any mistakes.”
Martin was pleased with his performance.
“I hit a lot of good shots, but it was tough to get at pins. I’m pleased though with my game and my consistency. I only missed two greens (in regulation) today (Sunday). I got close to Will, but couldn’t get close enough.”
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