Southeastern Amateur champ Jonathan Hardee
photo courtesy Brian Stubbs, PGA
COLUMBUS, GA (June 17, 2017) - When doctors looked at Jonathan Hardee's
MRI from his dislocated shoulder in January of 2016, they told him he may as well keep playing until he had surgery -- it wasn't going to get any worse.
Today, after a missing the 2016 entire summer of amateur golf and spring of college golf, Hardee picked up his most satisfying victory ever at the Southeastern Amateur. And not only did he win, he broke both the "new" and "old" tournament records by posting 18-under 262 at the Country Club of Columbus, something tournament director Brian Stubbs pointed out to us during a recap call on Saturday.
"Both Jonathan and [runner-up] James Clark (14-under 266) beat the modern tournament record," said Stubbs. "The course is definitely harder than it was back when Hugh Royer III won with 264, and Jonathan got his score by 2 as well."
James Clark, a native of Columbus, GA who grew up playing the host course, entered the final round with a 2-shot lead after bookending two rounds of 7-under 63 with a 69 in round two.
And sure, the Georgia Tech rising senior came back to the field with a 1-over final round, but this isn't a tournament that someone lost, it's one the Hardee seemed destined to win, right from the start of his blistering front nine.
Birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 against just a single bogey on the 8th put Hardee in front of the 54-leader Clark, who shot a disappointing 1-over par 37 on the front nine.
Wait a minute, you might be thinking. 37 isn't so bad. But on Saturday, Clark had blistered that same front nine on with a 6-under 30, capped out by a holed out second shot for eagle on the 368-yard par 4 ninth. It's tough to match that kind of golf, as we see so many times when a person takes it deep. And when Clark didn't make any birdies, Hardee was there to fill the gap.
By the time the players reached the 17th tee, the lead was four, and Hardee knew a solid drive in the fairway of the uphill par-4 would probably do the trick. Miss a fairway on one of Donald Ross's long par-4s and you usually pay a penalty.
After striping it down the middle, Hardee's approach finished just off the green long and left. He lipped out the chip, then played made a routine par on the 18th, hitting his approach from 115 yards out to easy two-putt range in front of a nice gallery that included players, club members, and volunteers. He really liked seeing his peers gathered around the green.
“That was cool to see.,” said Hardee. I know a lot of guys want to get out of town after the tournament so it was nice to see them around the green watching us come in."
For a young player that has already seen an injury we usually hear senior golfers talking about -- -- tore labrum, rotator cuff, both bicep tendons -- the surgery, followed by months of rehab and time away from the game, has paid off.
Steven Fisk of Georgia Southern (10-under 270) finished third; Austin Squires of Univ. of Cincinnati (7-under 273) was fourth, and North Florida's Dillon Woods rounded out the top-5 at 6-under 274.
ABOUT THE Southeastern Amateur
The Southeastern Amateur is a top-level amateur
golf tournament with a rich history
dating back to 1922 - when the tournament was
created by Fred Haskins. Each year,
the Southeastern Amateur has the great honor of
hosting many of the nation's top
amateur golfers, from Division I NCAA National
Champions to the nation's top Mid-
Field is limited to 90 players. The format is 54 holes
play with no cut. Open qualifier held the day before
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