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Henley Defends Georgia Amateur Title

COLUMBUS, GA (July 12, 2009)--Russell Henley of Macon fired his second-straight 67 to finish at 16-under-par 268 and capture his second-straight Georgia Amateur title by eight strokes over David Noll Jr. of Dalton. The 88th annual Championship took place at Country Club of Columbus, July 9-12.

In winning his second title, Henley broke his own Georgia Amateur scoring record of 270 that he set last year on his home course, Idle Hour Club in Macon. He also becomes the first champion to claim back-to-back titles in 15 years. Carter Mize of Columbus won the 1993 Amateur at The Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta and in 1994 at The Savannah Golf Club. Only eight golfers in the history of the Championship have won consecutive titles.

The 2007 Georgia Amateur champion, Harris English of Thomasville, finished third at 7-under-par 277 with a final-round 73. Mark Strickland of Woodstock and Jeff Knox of Augusta, who played in the final pairing with Henley and English, tied for fourth at 281. William Mitchell of Roswell and first-round leader Michael Green of Augusta shared sixth position at 2-under 282. Mitchell vaulted up the standings by carding 68-68 on the weekend after opening with 70-76.

Wright Waddell of Columbus was the highest local finisher, tying for eighth at 1-under 283 with Michael Hicks of Newnan and Joe Young of Cochran.

Henley began the day with a three-stroke advantage over English, his close friend and University of Georgia teammate. English cut the margin to two early with a birdie on the 548-yard opening hole. Henley, however, responded on the next par 5, the 533-yard fourth, with an 18-foot eagle putt to push his lead back to four strokes. English came back with a long birdie putt on the par-3 fifth hole, but on the sixth Henley stuck his approach to 10 feet and made his birdie putt. English meanwhile, couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker, resulting in a two-shot swing on that hole and five-stroke margin in Henley’s favor on the leader board.

Henley’s lead remained five strokes through 10 holes. On the treacherous par-4 11th, English’s approach barely reached the green but rolled back into the creek fronting the hole, and he wound up with a 6 on his scorecard. Meanwhile, Henley, who had bogeyed No. 11 in each of the first three rounds of the tournament, stuck his approach to three feet for a birdie and, all of a sudden, held an eight-stroke lead.

Henley, who felt that he “could win it” after the birdie at 11, credited a higher level of confidence with his strong play throughout the Championship, which included four-straight rounds in the 60s (69-65-67-67).

“I was just trusting myself on every shot,” he said. “I had that confidence to just step up and hit it, and that was my mindset throughout the tournament.”

Noll, who played in the last group with English and Henley during the final round of the 2008 Amateur, was trying to stay in contention, playing one group ahead this year. He began the day at 7-under and held that pace through the turn. Birdies on holes 11 and 13 vaulted him past English for sole possession of second place. Despite a bogey at 17, he held on to that spot with a 1-under 70 for the day and an 8-under 276 for the Championship. It marks the fifth straight Amateur in which Noll has finished among the top six.

Just 10 players finished under par on the 6,515-yard, par-71layout at Country Club of Columbus, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2009.

The Championship format was 72 holes of stroke play over four days. The field was cut to the low 70 and ties after the second round, with the cut line falling at 9-over 151 and 71 players advancing to the weekend.

The Georgia Amateur Championship is conducted by the Georgia State Golf Association and brings together 156 of the state's best male amateur golfers for the prestigious state title first won by Bobby Jones in 1916.

Founded in 1916, the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) received its official charter on June 24, 1924. Since that date, the GSGA has grown to one of the largest state amateur golf associations in the country, with over 355 member clubs and 85,000 individual members. With a mission to promote and preserve amateur golf in the state of Georgia, GSGA offers a computerized handicapping service, course rating and measuring, and annually conducts a full schedule of statewide competitions for men and women of all age groups. Other services include a summer-long junior sectional program, award-winning Golf Georgia magazine, membership recognition and rewards programs and a charitable foundation administering two college scholarship programs.

Final results of the Georgia Amateur Championship, played July 9-12, 2009 at the Country Club of Columbus:

1 Russell Henley, Macon 69 65 67 67 268 -16
2 David Noll Jr., Dalton 67 67 72 70 276 -8
3 Harris English, Thomasville 68 69 67 73 277 -7
T4 Jeff Knox, Augusta 69 69 67 76 281 -3
T4 Mark Strickland, Woodstock 71 70 68 72 281 -3
T6 Michael Green, Augusta 66 70 70 76 282 -2
T6 William Mitchell, Roswell 70 76 68 68 282 -2
T8 Joe Young, Cochran 71 74 68 70 283 -1
T8 Michael Hicks, Newnan 72 71 70 70 283 -1
T8 Wright Waddell, Columbus 72 69 68 74 283 -1
T11 Bill Jones, Covington 72 71 71 70 284 Even
T11 Brian Carter, Evans 69 71 69 75 284 Even
T11 Patrick Kenney, Acworth 71 70 73 70 284 Even
T14 Adam Cooper, Columbus 69 71 71 74 285 1
T14 Doug Hanzel, Savannah 75 73 65 72 285 1
T14 Lee Knox, Augusta 70 75 69 71 285 1
T14 Taylor Hall, LaGrange 71 70 70 74 285 1
T18 Jay Moseley, Bainbridge 73 72 72 69 286 2
T18 John Stembridge, Norcross 68 74 72 72 286 2
T20 Bill Bazzel, Atlanta 72 72 73 70 287 3
T20 Brent Whitehead, Marietta 72 72 75 68 287 3
22 J.P. Putnam, Woodstock 70 78 70 71 289 5
T23 Chase Parker, Augusta 75 75 71 69 290 6
T23 Matthew Hayes, Marietta 70 74 71 75 290 6
25 Robert Sheats, Atlanta 68 76 74 73 291 7
T26 Bubba Gallops, Columbus 73 77 71 71 292 8
T26 Cameron Hooper, Greensboro 72 77 71 72 292 8
T26 Chesley Gunn, Chula 73 75 70 74 292 8
T26 Shawn Yim, Buford 72 73 71 76 292 8
T26 Taylor Smith, Mansfield 72 78 74 68 292 8
31 Benjamin Greene, Duluth 71 80 71 71 293 9
32 Mark Lyons, Mableton 69 77 73 75 294 10
T33 Ryan Blackburn, Evans 75 73 76 71 295 11
T33 Seth Brandon, Dalton 69 77 73 76 295 11
T33 Tra Dykes, Columbus 73 70 75 77 295 11
T36 Dave Womack, McDonough 72 73 76 75 296 12
T36 Jeff Belk, Marietta 74 72 72 78 296 12
T36 Wade Binfield, Fayetteville 74 74 76 72 296 12
T36 Will Jones, Rome 77 74 72 73 296 12
T40 Alex Boyd, Greensboro 75 74 72 76 297 13
T40 Chris Waters, Evans 70 80 75 72 297 13
T40 Coleman Tidwell, Macon 73 77 73 74 297 13
T40 Hudson Keener, Dalton 77 72 76 72 297 13
T40 Zach Estep, Lawrenceville 72 75 76 74 297 13
T45 John Belicka, Woodstock 74 77 73 74 298 14
T45 Thomas Holmes, Macon 78 71 76 73 298 14
T45 Trent Erb, Atlanta 74 75 75 74 298 14
T48 John Walker, Macon 73 77 75 74 299 15
T48 Ryan Zebeau, Cedartown 76 71 79 73 299 15
T48 Scott Wolfes, St. Simons Island 77 74 74 74 299 15
T51 Brent Paul, Midland 74 75 79 72 300 16
T51 Chad Griffith, LaGrange 77 71 73 79 300 16
T51 Jeff Weir, Covington 71 76 73 80 300 16
T51 Michael Raines, Acworth 74 75 70 81 300 16
55 Sam Braver, Roswell 70 77 76 78 301 17
56 Andrew Bai, Cumming 78 72 79 73 302 18
T57 Jacob Tilton, Evans 74 77 74 78 303 19
T57 Jason Personette, Atlanta 68 78 80 77 303 19
59 Patrick Garrett, Powder Springs 73 72 79 80 304 20
60 Garrick Stiles, Statham 79 68 80 78 305 21
61 Mitch Greer, Perry 75 76 80 75 306 22
62 Tom Contrucci, Marietta 73 78 76 80 307 23
T63 Alex Frankel, Atlanta 73 77 77 81 308 24
T63 Bart Middlebrooks, Columbus 77 71 81 79 308 24
T63 Blake Darnell, Cartersville 74 74 82 78 308 24
T63 Sterling Hale, Atlanta 72 78 81 77 308 24
67 Ryan Parker, Lake Park 75 74 78 83 310 26
68 Bill Bergin, Atlanta 74 76 78 83 311 27
69 Jay E. Rowe, Savannah 75 76 79 82 312 28
T70 Benjamin Kishigian, Warner Robins 74 72 76 NS
T70 Casey Willis, Tifton 68 77 74 WD
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