Doug Hanzel (GSGA photo)
While it may not have "major" status, the Georgia State Golf Association Senior Championship is one of the most anticipated backyard brawls on the senior golf calendar.
Boasting a field consisting of current and former USGA champions along with a cadre of some of the top-ranked senior amateurs in the world, the GSGA Senior Championship is deep in talent and high in bragging rights in the Peach State, arguably the nation's most competitive senior golf village.
A few weeks removed from finishing runner-up at the U.S. Senior Amateur, Doug Hanzel
won his fourth GSGA Senior Championship on Thursday at Green Island Country Club in Columbus, finishing at 6-under 207, which was good for a two-stroke win over Jack Larkin, Sr.
Hanzel and Larkin were the only two players who managed to finish under par for the 54-hole event, while Augusta National member Jeff Knox finished third at even par 213.
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After opening with a 1-under round of 70, Hanzel moved to the top of the leaderboard after a second-round 68 left him at 4-under 138, which was good for a one-stroke lead over Larkin heading into Thursday's final round.
He birdied three of his first six holes to open a four-shot lead over Larkin at the turn and picked up two more birdies on his inward nine to fend off Larkin, who closed with three birdies on his final six holes to make things interesting.
"My thought for the week was to continue what I have been doing, meaning staying focused on a few simple swing thoughts that seem to be working very well and staying aggressive," said Hanzel."
"I hit a lot of drivers at Green Island and since I have been driving it so well, I wanted to use length to set up shorter approaches into the greens, and as a result, I made a lot of birdies. My length off the tee was a definite advantage and playing back with less club off the tee negates my strength."
It's Hanzel's second win in as many weeks after he captured the Society of Seniors Super Senior National Championship
last week at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C. by six shots.
"It is awesome to sit on top of the Georgia senior hill," said Hanzel. "We really do have a very good collection of seniors that have won virtually every major senior event this year, Coleman, TransMiss, Hall of Fame, Chanticleer, USGA and Canadian Seniors and to top them is special and rewarding, especially for someone on Medicare."
Mark Nickerson finished fourth at +1 while Bob Royak
, the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, finished fifth at +4. Rusty Strawn
, who defeated Hanzel in an all-Georgia final a few weeks ago to win the U.S. Senior Amateur at The Kittansett Club
, tied for sixth with Doug Stiles at +5.
Hanzel, an Ohio native who relocated to Savannah, Ga., in 1989, has earned multiple GSGA Senior Player of the Year honors, including the recipient of the Tommy Barnes Award, signifying the GSGA’s overall Player of the Year, in 2012 and 2013. He won the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, finished runner-up this year, was a semifinalist in 2012 and was twice a quarterfinalist (2016, 2018). He has qualified for the U.S. Amateur in five different decades and has competed in 37 USGA championships.
ABOUT THE Georgia Senior
Entries: Open to male amateur golfers age
older as of the first day of the
Field: 144 players with the lowest USGA
Format: 54 holes of stroke play; field cut
low 70 and ties after 36 holes
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