- GSGA photo
Phil Mickelson wasn't the only player to win a big tournament against a younger field on Sunday. Hours before Mickelson became the oldest player to win a professional major at the age of 50, U.S. Senior champion Bob Royak
(Alpharetta, Ga.) won the Georgia Mid-Amateur at the age of 59.
Royak defeated Taylor Smith (Brookhaven, Ga.) on the first playoff hole to capture the 40th Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship at Country Club of Columbus.
Royak and Smith engaged in a fabulous Sunday duel, carding final rounds of 66 and 65, respectively, to tie at 5-under 205 after 54 holes of regulation play. Royak had a chance to win the tournament outright, but a bogey on the par-4 finishing hole sent the championship into a playoff. The 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur champion quickly made amends, however, closing out Smith on the first playoff hole to claim the championship.
Royak began the final round in a second-place tie with 2020 AmateurGolf.com Mid-Am Player-of-the Year Stephen Behr (Atlanta), as both golfers were three strokes off the pace set by Christian Raynor (Kennesaw, Ga.), who held the 36-hole lead at 4-under 136 after firing a pair of 68s to open the tournament. Four late bogeys on Sunday doomed Raynor’s title hopes, while Behr, despite birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, settled for a final round of 69 but finished three shots off the lead.
After opening with a three-over par 73 on Friday, Smith carded rounds of 67 and 65 over the weekend to vault up the leaderboard and eventually catch Royak at the end of regulation. The 2018 Georgia Mid-Amateur champion eagled the par-4 13th and added a birdie on the par-3 16th to move into a tie for the lead but a bogey 5 on the 17th left him one back of Royak. After parring the final hole, Smith’s championship hopes were rejuvenated when Royak bogeyed the 18th hole, sending the two players to a playoff, which was quickly settled on the first extra hole.
Royak, who finished third at the Timuquana Cup Senior Invitational earlier this month, had six birdies on his Sunday card to offset a pair of bogeys en route to a final round 66. The win adds to Royak’s impressive resume, which includes victories at the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur and the 2020 Jones Cup Senior held at Sea Island Golf Club.
Amazingly, Royak's win was the second in a state mid-amateur by a 59-year-old this month. Gene Elliott won his second-straight Iowa Mid-Amateur
two weeks ago, and he too prevailed in a playoff.View results for Georgia Mid-Amateur
ABOUT THE Georgia Mid-Amateur
Entries: Open to male amateur golfers
age 25 or
older as of the first day of the
Field: 144 players; non-exempt players
through one of seven statewide 18-hole
Format: 54 holes of stroke play; field
cut to the
low 70 and ties after 36 holes
View Complete Tournament Information