MACON, Ga. — Doug Hanzel of Savannah fired a 6-under-par 66 in the final round to successfully defend his title at the Georgia Senior Championship. Hanzel finished with a 11-under-par 205 (70-69-66) overall mark, 13 strokes ahead of runner-up Mel Mendenhall of Marietta (2-over-par 218; 76-70-72). The 29th playing of the annual senior competition took place at Brickyard Golf Club, August 26-28.
With the win, Hanzel has now won three of the last four Georgia Senior Championships. He first earned the trophy in 2012 at Reynolds Plantation-Great Waters in Eatonton when he won by 16 strokes to finish at 13-under-par. A year ago, he only won by two strokes at Doublegate Country Club in Albany, where he finished at 3-under-par. This year he won by 13, and for good measure, he wrapped up the competition with an eagle on 18.
"I hit my driver perfect in the middle of the fairway," Hanzel said of his eagle on 18. "I then hit a rescue right on the button. It was very nice to finish that way."
During Hanzel's opening round at Brickyard Golf Club, he finished at 2-under-par 70 with five birdies and three bogeys to hold the overnight lead by one stroke. On Thursday, the Savannah native topped his round one score by a shot with a 69 to extend his lead to three strokes through 36 holes. Day two saw an eagle on six, birdies on four, 12, 16 and 18, and bogeys on five, 10 and 15 for a 69.
He began the final round with a six-stroke advantage, and that only increased as the day went on. Hanzel birdied three of his first six holes on Friday. With a bogey on eight, he made the turn at 2-under on the day, 7-under for the tournament. He added birdies on 11, 13, 14 and a bogey on 16. Coming down the stretch with the victory all but official, he stood on 18 tee and pulled out his driver. With a couple perfect shots, he made eagle to wrap up the title defense. He also hit all 18 greens in regulation in the final round.
"I hit it very good from day one," Hanzel added. "I hit it very solid; putted very steady. I had a couple three-putts, but made some nice putts as well. I struck the ball well; hit all 18 greens in regulation today."
Mark Nickerson of Roswell finished third at 3-over-par 219 (74-71-74). Two players tied for fourth at 4-over-par 220, including Jack Hall of Savannah (74-75-71) and Jack Kearney of Peachtree City (71-74-75). Don Marsh of Johns Creek (72-77-74), Chris Hall of Mableton (73-75-75) and Donny Phillips, Jr., of Suwanee (72-74-77) tied for sixth at 7-over-par 223. Rounding out the top 10, Bill Leonard of Dallas (75-74-75) and Larry Vaughan of Greensboro (72-76-76) tied for ninth at 8-over-par 224.
After 36 holes of play, 73 players made the cut at 19-over-par 163 or better. Brickyard Golf Club played to 6,692 yards and a par 72 for the Georgia Senior Championship.
The shot of the tournament came during Wednesday's opening round as Murray Calhoun of Columbus recorded a hole-in-one on the 134-yard 14th hole with a 6-iron.
Entries were open to male amateur golfers who are at least 55 years old as of August 26. The format is 54 holes of individual stroke play with the field cut to the low 70 and ties, and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead, after 36 holes.
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