by Ian Thompson
KILLEN, AL (June 13, 2010)--Hunter Hamrick successfully defended his title in the State Amateur Championship, but it was a lot closer than he wanted and anyone expected.
Taking a six-shot lead into the final round at Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club, he looked odds on to repeat with ease, but right from the start of his final round he struggled.
When all was said and done, he shot a two-over-par 74, good for a one shot win over Dothan’s Glenn Northcutt, who closed with the day’s low round, a five-under-par 67.
Cory Gilmer shot 69 to finish two back of Hamrick in solo third.
Hamrick, who hails from Montgomery and just finished his sophomore year at the University of Alabama, shot an imperious 64 in Saturday’s third round, but the old adage that it’s tough to follow up a really low round with another one held true as he struggled to a 74.
“I was hitting my drives everywhere...right, left, right and I couldn’t find the fairway. It was a struggle from my very first tee shot that went way left.”
“I needed every one of my (six-shot) lead. I’m very proud to have hung on to win. It was a real struggle.”
The hole that won it for Hamrick was the par 5 17th. A snap hook left off the tee and a pitch back out into the fairway left him with a wood for his third shot. He pulled it way left too and faced a next to impossible up-and-down from the trees, off the pine straw to a raised green. He played a miraculous lob wedge to 20 feet and drained the putt to maintain his one shot lead over Northcutt.
“I’d say I might get that shot up-and-down maybe twice in 50 tries. I could not have played the pitch any better.”
He was able to get himself together to hit a solid tee shot on the last hole and a made a routine par to win.
“I think this win means more than last year as I came from (five) behind in the final round last year. This year, to shoot one-under on the back nine when I was hitting it everywhere...I couldn’t have done that (mentally) last year.”
Northcutt, who recently graduated from Auburn, was delighted with his final round. He hasn’t played in a tournament in almost a year as he has been finishing up his studies for the last year after his golf eligibility ended, and was thrilled to be back in the hunt.
“My whole goal (in the final round) was to go out there and give it everything I had. I’m thrilled with my 67. I’d struggled in the third round, but closed with two birdies and that gave me a little something to work on.”
He came very close to an eagle on No. 17 and a birdie on 18; either of which would have tied him with a fading Hamrick.
“I knew where I stood all day and was pleased to make a lot of key putts to keep my round going. I take a lot of good things out of this week.”
Northcutt’s five birdies and 13 pars pushed Hamrick the whole way.
View results for Alabama State Amateur Golf Championship