MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Jeff Taylor led wire-to-wire as he captured the 27th State Mid-Amateur Championship at his home course, Wynlakes Golf & Country Club in Montgomery, after rounds of 68-70-73–211, five-under-par.
Freeman Fite of Anniston (70-73-71) and Shaw Pritchett of Montgomery (72-71-71) finished tied for second on 214.
The last time Wynlakes hosted the Mid-Amateur in 2010, Taylor was also in the thick of the action, eventually losing in a playoff to Steve Hudson. This year, he went one better.
He started with an opening birdie, after two towering shots to reach the par 5 in two, and added another birdie on No. 16. In-between, he had bogeys on holes 3, 4 and 11, but managed to get the job done.
Former University of Alabama golfer Fite got as close as one through 13 holes, but a bogey on 14 coupled with Taylor’s birdie on 16 meant the eventual difference was three shots.
“I know it sounds funny, but I was struggling with my swing so much (in the final round) that I was more focused on that (than the situation),” Taylor said.
“Normally I hit a lot more drivers than I did, but I was struggling with what is normally my go-to club.”
No matter as his 3-wood stood him in good stead as he made a lot of solid pars to consolidate his position and win the day.
“I didn’t know where I stood (in the championship), which is a good thing because I’m a naturally nervous and anxious individual. I said to myself if I could shoot level par (in the final round) I’d be happy with that and if somebody beat me, they beat me.
“I enjoy golf. Compettion is fun, but I don’t want to do it all the time. Playing at home is great for me.
“My joy lies in my family (his wife Emily and their two children).”
Taylor played college golf for Wallace State Junior College from 1989-91 and Troy University the following two years. Born and raised in Montgomery, he now lives adjacent to the 15th green at Wynlakes.
He came into the championship riding the confidence of shooting a 65 last week with his usual group of buddies.
“I was more nervous the first two days for some reason. I just told myself whatever happens happens (in the final round).”
What happened is he is now a State champion.
“Some redemption from last time here (when he lost to Steve Hudson in a playoff for the 2010 State Mid-Amateur.)”
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