SAVANNAH, Ga. –Doug Hanzel of Savannah used his local knowledge to fire the day’s low score, 70, and overtake 36-hole leader David Noll Jr. of Dalton at the 89th annual Georgia Amateur Championship, taking place at The Landings Club, Deer Creek course, July 8-11. Hanzel leads with a 4-under-par 212 while a trio of players – Noll, Lee Knox of Augusta and Mark Strickland of Woodstock – sit in second at 2-under 214.
Wes Spannuth of Brunswick is the only other player in the field under par, currently in fifth place at 1-under 215. Jeff Knox of Augusta, Lee’s father, holds sixth place at even par. Carter Collins of Statesboro, Brent Paul of Midland and Dave Womack of McDonough are tied for seventh at 217. Five players – Alan Fowler of Gainesville, Danny Nelson of Savannah, Chase Parker of Augusta, Michael Standard of McDonough and John Stembridge of Norcross – are tied for 10th at 3-over 219. Standard matched Hanzel’s low score of the round on Saturday at 2-under 70.
Noll began the day with a five-shot lead over seven players, including Hanzel. The two of them were grouped in the final pairing along with Lee Knox. Noll dropped a shot with a bogey on the 189-yard second hole, and Hanzel first attacked his deficit with a birdie on the par-5 sixth. The next par-3, the 201-yard eighth hole, was the pivotal hole of the day, as it produced a three-shot swing and a tie at the top of the leader board. Noll’s tee shot rolled off the green, then got wedged in the thick rough on his second shot and he went on to miss a five-foot bogey putt. Hanzel hit his tee shot to 20 feet and made the birdie to move to 4-under for the Championship, pulling even with Noll.
Hanzel took his first lead of the competition when Noll bogeyed 10. Noll also bogeyed 12 to drop back to 2-under, which is where he finished the day, posting a 5-over 77. After playing the first three par-3s of the round at 4-over-par, he almost made up for it on the 197-yard 17th, but missed a 5 ½-footer for birdie which he said was indicative of his round.
“I just couldn’t hole a putt all day,” Noll said. “I was striking the ball great; finding the fairways, but just couldn’t make a putt.”
Hanzel, a member of The Landings Club, acknowledged that his familiarity with the course “helps quite a bit.” He finished with just one bogey (442-yard 15th) and three birdies on the day, narrowly missing out on a birdie on 18 as a large gallery – including many of his fellow club members – watched from the clubhouse or on their personal golf carts.
Hanzel was the 2004 Georgia Mid-Amateur Champion and has done well in recent Amateur Championships. He placed fourth when the event was last in Savannah in 2005 (at The Savannah Golf Club), was seventh in 2007 at Ansley Golf Club-Settindown Creek in Roswell, and tied for 14th last year at Country Club of Columbus.
The field was cut to the low 70 and ties after 36 holes, with the cutline falling at 9-over-par 153 and 74 players advancing.
Final round tee times begin at 8:00 a.m. Sunday from the first and 10th tees. Hanzel, Strickland and Noll – all past Georgia Mid-Amateur Champions – are paired together in the final group at 10:00. Jeff and Lee Knox will play together along with Spannuth in the next-to-last pairing at 9:50.
An online leader board, featuring all competitors’ complete scorecards, is currently available at www.gsga.org. Live hole-by-hole scoring will be available for several of the leading groups as well as nine-hole updates for all the other groups.
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. The Championship format is 72 holes of stroke play over four days.
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