EATONTON, Ga. – Doug Hanzel of Savannah took control from the opening round and never looked back as he cruised to a 16-stroke victory and picked up his first Georgia Senior Championship. Hanzel finished at 13-under-par 203 (68-66-69). Don Marsh of Johns Creek earned runner-up honors at 3-over-par 219 (73-73-73). The 26th annual Georgia Senior Championship took place, August 28-30, at Reynolds Plantation-Great Waters.
Hanzel’s 16-stroke victory is believed to be the largest in any GSGA-sanctioned competition (at least since 2000). The 2000 and 2009 Georgia Girls’ Championship were won by Carrie Metz and Jean Reynolds, respectively, by 14 strokes. Prior to this week, the largest margin of victory in a GSGA men’s competition was at the 2008 Georgia Super Senior Championship, when Spencer Sappington of Milton won by nine strokes.
Along with earning his first Senior Championship in his first year of eligibility (he turned 55 this past February), Hanzel earned other accolades as well. His 54-hole score to par of 13-under is the lowest ever at the Senior Championship, besting 5-under-par set in 2002 and 2006 by Frank Costanzo of Savannah and Larry Clark of Kingston, respectively. With his 66 in round two, Hanzel tied the lowest 18-hole score record set in 2002 by Costanzo. Hanzel became the first player since Bill Ploeger of Columbus in 2000 to post a score in the 60s in each of the first two rounds of this competition. That year, Ploeger finished runner-up with a 213 total.
Joining Hanzel and Marsh in the top 10 included Jack Hall of Sea Island, who finished third at 5-over-par 221, and Mark Benefield of Peachtree Corners and Joe Whisenant of Douglasville tied for fourth at 6-over-par 222. Frank Travetto of Greensboro and Alan Thielemann of Woodstock tied for sixth at 7-over-par 223. Finishing alone in eighth was Rich Grote of Kennesaw at 8-over-par 224, and alone in ninth was John Cochran III of Duluth at 9-over-par 225. Rounding out the top 10 were Walter Hope of Gainesville and John Davis of Atlanta, who tied for tenth at 10-over-par 226.
Continuing an impressive year on the golf course, Hanzel earned low-amateur honors earlier this summer at the U.S. Senior Open at Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich. A few months ago, Hanzel was the oldest competitor to qualify for match play since 1979 at the U.S. Amateur Championship, held at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Reynolds Plantation-Great Waters played to 6,559 yards and a par 72 for the Championship. Entries were open to male amateur golfers at least 55 years old as of August 28, 2012, who belong to a GSGA Member Club.
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