CANTON, Ga. – It took four extra holes, but first-round leader William Mitchell of Roswell finished at 2-over-par 146 and outlasted Stan Jones of Alpharetta to win the 22nd Georgia Public Links Championship, which took place September 11-12 at BridgeMill Athletic Club. John Belicka of Woodstock placed third, one stroke back at 3-over-par 147.
Mitchell was at 2-under-par after the first round, and held a one-shot lead over Belicka going into the final 18. He had increased his lead to three shots by the turn with a steady, even-par outward nine while Belicka went 2-over through his first nine holes. But Mitchell’s round started to unravel soon after, with a bogey at 10, double-bogey at 11 and bogey at 12 to move to 2-over for the tournament. Belicka briefly held the lead at 1-over after 12, thanks to a birdie on No. 11, but soon dropped back as well with a double on 13 and bogey on 14.
Jones, meanwhile, started the day tied for 16th after an opening-round 77 and was playing five groups ahead. But he posted five birdies through his first 11 holes to move to even-par for the Championship. Bogeys on 13 and 16 pushed him back to 2-over, which is where he finished (146). His 69 on Sunday was the low round for the Championship.
With Jones in the clubhouse at +2, Mitchell reclaimed the lead with a birdie on the par-3, 183-yard 16th. It didn’t last long, though, as he bogeyed 17 and had to save par on 18 to force the playoff with Jones.
Jones and Mitchell each posted pars through the first three playoff holes. On the par-5 ninth (the fourth playoff hole), Jones put his second shot in a hazard and took a drop. Mitchell stuck his third shot on the green, and two-putted from 18 feet for par and the victory.
Past champion Mark Sweeney of Monroe placed fourth at 149, while Jacob Carlsson of Augusta and John Foster of Woodstock tied for fifth at 7-over 151. Three players tied for seventh at 152, including Nick Brown and Randall White, both of Canton, and Ryan Zabroske of Alpharetta. Adam Schlappi of Cumming rounded out the top 10 at 153.
John Cable of Canton won the first flight with a 10-over 154, while Keith Bledsoe of Lyerly posted 20-over 164 to win the second flight.
The field consisted of 115 golfers. The low 72 golfers comprised the Championship flight, and the remainder of the field was divided among two flights. Entrants must not have held privileges since January 1, 2010, at any club that does not extend playing privileges to the general public.
The par-72 layout at BridgeMill Athletic Club played to 7,000 yards for the Championship flight and 6,531 yards for the first and second fights. Only the players competing in the Championship flight were eligible for the overall title.
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