Alabama Amateur: Hawkins leads after day of low scoring

SYLACAUGA, Ala. (June 10, 2011) -- Valley Head’s Hunter Hawkins took it deep in the first round of the 95th State Amateur Championship at FarmLinks Golf Club in Sylacauga shooting a seven-under-par 65.

However, he only leads by one on a day of low scoring, as Jasper’s Micah Jett shot 66 and Vestavia’s Smylie Kaufman a 67.

Thomas Looney of Scottsboro and Paul McClure of Mobile are tied for fourth after 68′s.

Hawkins, who just concluded his redshirt sophomore year at UAB after transferring from Jacksonville State, had quite the round to remember.

Starting on No. 10 with a birdie, he then had four pars before reeling off four birdies in a row to reach the turn at five-under. An eagle on No. 1 saw him go seven-under, which was the number he finished on after a bogey on 4 and a final birdie on No. 6.

“After I made a putt on 17 for birdie, I thought my round might really get going…and it did.

"I tried to keep playing one shot at a time and kept hitting it good, but did not make any more putts after my eagle. I’m not complaining though. It was a great round.”

Hawkins, 20 and a graduate of Fort Payne High School, has enjoyed good success in recent State Amateurs with top 15 finishes the last three years.

Jett, also 20, went to Curry High School in Jasper. He started out his college career at Wallace State before transferring to Gordon College in Barnesville, Ga. He has now left there and plans to play golf this fall at the University of Montevallo.

He came in playing well having lost the Musgrove Country Club club championship by one shot after rounds of 69-70 last weekend.

“I kind of saw it (a good round) coming,” Jett said. “I’ve been playing a lot of golf and hit the ball really well today (Thursday). Plus, the greens are perfect and I made a few putts.”

Kaufman, a standout player at Vestavia High School, just concluded his first year at LSU.He caught fire on the front nine, his back nine, with birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8 to shoot five-under-par.

The championship is four rounds of stroke play, with a cut made to the low 66 and ties after two rounds on Friday.

Two-time defending champion Hunter Hamrick had to withdraw from the field due to illness earlier in the week.

ABOUT THE Alabama State Amateur

Entries are open to any male amateur golfer who is a legal resident of Alabama, and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at an AGA member club that does not exceed 8.4. Pre- qualifying for non-exempt players, followed by 72 holes of stroke play.

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