SAVANNAH, Ga. (July 11, 2010) – Lee Knox of Augusta, a rising sophomore on the University of Alabama golf team, carded a final-round, 3-under-par 69 and finished at 5-under 283 to overtake 54-hole leader Doug Hanzel of Savannah and win the 89th annual Georgia Amateur Championship, which took place at The Landings Club, Deer Creek course, July 8-11. Knox held off a late charge from fellow Augustan Chase Parker, who carded a new competitive course record, 7-under 65, in the final round to finish as runner-up, one stroke back of Knox.
Hanzel, a member of The Landings Club, finished with a final-round 73 to fall to third place at 3-under 285. They were the only three competitors under par for the Championship. Mark Strickland of Woodstock and Dave Womack of McDonough tied for fourth at even-par 288. Second-round leader David Noll Jr. of Dalton placed sixth at 289, extending his streak to six straight years in which he has finished sixth or better in the Georgia Amateur.
Chesley Gunn of Chula fired a final-round 70 to move up to seventh place overall at 290, while Jordan Janico of Duluth, Carter Collins of Statesboro and Brent Paul of Midland all finished at 292 to tie for eighth place. Lee’s father, Jeff Knox, was one of four players tied for 11th at 293.
Hanzel started the day with a two-shot lead over Noll, Lee Knox and Strickland. He got to 6-under courtesy of birdies on holes 1 and 3, but Knox was keeping pace with birdies of his own on Nos. 1 and 5. At the seventh, Hanzel’s tee shot went into trees right of the fairway and his second shot hit another tree, resulting in a double bogey. Knox, playing one group ahead, had birdied the hole to move to 5-under for the Championship, so Hanzel’s miscue gave him his first lead.
Hanzel evened things up again after a Knox bogey at the par-3 eighth and the two were tied for the lead at the turn. Knox, however, posted back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 to get to 6-under, while Hanzel bogeyed the 15th to fall three strokes back.
Parker, meanwhile, playing in the fourth-to-last group, was making a charge. After beginning the day tied for 10th, seven shots back at 3-over 219, the 2008 Georgia Junior Champion posted the low round of the Championship with seven birdies and a bogey-free day.
Play was delayed one hour and 19 minutes, from 2:51 to 4:10, due to lightning. At the time of suspension, the next-to-last pairing of Jeff Knox, Lee Knox and Wes Spannuth of Brunswick were about to hit approach shots to 18 green, while the final group of Hanzel, Noll and Strickland were at the tee. When play resumed, Lee Knox just needed par to clinch the title and avoid a playoff with Parker. He hit his approach to 25 feet from the hole and two-putted for the win.
Knox is the fourth-straight college-aged player to win the Georgia Amateur, but his victory halts a six-year winning streak for the University of Georgia golf program (including current or former golfers). His father, Jeff, is one of the state’s top golfers as well. A two-time Georgia Mid-Amateur Champion, the elder Knox has finished as runner-up in the state Amateur three times (1998, 2006, 2007). Lee said, “To win this while playing with my dad, having him beside me every step of the way, was really special.”
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.
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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