Georgia Am: Knox holds off Noll, Jr. for win
ROSWELL, Ga. (July 15, 2012) -- Lee Knox of Augusta shot a final-round 73 and finished at 6-under-par 282, holding off a charge from defending champion David Noll Jr. of Dalton to win his second Georgia Amateur Championship by one shot. The 91st annual competition took place July 12-15 at Ansley Golf Club – Settindown Creek.

Noll, who shot 69-69 on the weekend, fell just short of his third Georgia Amateur title by finishing at 283. Three players tied for third at 285, including David Yowell of Marietta, Michael Garretson of Acworth and Matt Russell of Dunwoody. Chris Waters of Athens finished alone in sixth at 1-under 287, the only other player to finish under par for the Championship.

Scott Weeks of Savannah, who shared the opening-round lead with Knox, finished seventh at 1-over 289. Ridge Purcell of LaGrange and another first-round co-leader, Robert Sheats of Atlanta, tied for eighth at 290. Charlie Harrison of Atlanta placed 10th at 291, while Chad Wilson of Calhoun and Jimmy Beck of Columbus tied for 11th at 292. Five players tied for 13th at 293, including John Hopper of Eatonton, J.P. Griffin of Glennville, Franco Castro of Alpharetta, Mark Strickland of Woodstock and Will Evans of McDonough. The top 15 finishers (including ties) are exempt into next year’s Amateur Championship.

Entering the day, Knox owned a two-shot lead over Russell, while Noll was five strokes back of the leader. Playing one group ahead of the final pairings, Noll made his presence known early. He birdied No. 2, eagled No. 5, then birdied No. 8 to turn with a 32, at 6-under for the Championship. Knox carded three birdies of his own, but also posted a bogey on the 209-yard fifth to turn at 9-under for the tournament.

The back nine got even more interesting. Noll birdied the 554-yard 10th, then Knox started bogey-bogey after putting his second shot in the water on the 11th. But while Knox was bogeying 11, Noll bogeyed the 218-yard, par-3 12th to keep the margin at one shot. Despite a bogey of his own on 14, Knox picked up another stroke as Noll double-bogeyed that hole after sending his tee shot off to the right.

Both players posted birdies on the 426-yard 15th. But Knox’s lead again dipped to just one stroke as he could only muster bogey on the par-3 17th. Noll couldn’t capitalize on a long birdie opportunity at 18, giving Knox the cushion to play conservatively on his final hole. He lagged his 12-foot birdie putt to about a foot, then tapped in the par putt for the title.

A rising senior on the University of Alabama golf team, Knox also won the 2010 Championship at The Landings Club in Savannah. He becomes just the 16th player in the 91-year history of the Georgia Amateur to win at least two titles. For Noll, it was his eighth-straight year of finishing sixth place or better in this Championship, including his third runner-up finish.

Play was suspended for 36 minutes – from 1:21 to 1:57 -- due to severe weather in the area. Rain had fallen earlier but lightning within a close radius was the cause for suspension. The storm cell moved quickly past, and players were able to return to the course after a brief break.

The Georgia Amateur Championship is conducted by the Georgia State Golf Association and brings together 144 of the state's best male amateur golfers for the prestigious state title first won by Bobby Jones in 1916.

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