ALPHARETTA, Ga. - Defending champion Jeff Knox of Augusta pulled away from the field after firing a 5-under 67 in the second round at the 28th annual Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship, taking place at White Columns Country Club, May 15-17. Knox enters the final round of the championship at 10-under 134 for 36 holes with four players, Marietta's Winston Morris, Adam Cooper of Columbus, Woodstock's Mark Strickland and Dave Poteet of Duluth, five shots behind at 139 (-5).
"[White Columns] seems to set up nice to the way I like to play," Knox explained. "I've been able to hit a lot of fairways and put myself in a position to go after greens. Fortunately, I have made some putts too."
Dan McManus of Newnan, who was the first alternate at the Orchard Hills Golf Club qualifier, climbed into a tie for sixth position after posting a second-round score of 68. He is currently tied at three-under 141 with Matt Rountree of Eatonton, 2000 Mid-Amateur Champion Greg Kennedy of Duluth and Doug Green of Cumming. David Noll Jr. of Dalton, the reigning GSGA Men's Player of the Year, and Savannah's Doug Hanzel, the 2004 Georgia Mid-Amateur Champ, carded rounds of 73 and 74, respectively, and fell into a tie for tenth place overall.
Knox, beginning his second round on the tenth hole, carded consecutive birdies on each of his opening two holes but followed those up with a bogey at the par-3 twelfth. Knox strung together pars on each of the next three holes before chipping in for eagle at the 508-yard 16th, a hole he had also eagled during the first round. Making the turn at three-under-par, Knox capitalized on birdie opportunities at Nos. 2, 7 and 9. His only blemish on the back nine came after settling for bogey on the sixth hole, a 528-yard par-five. Despite the bogey on number six, Knox has played the par-fives at a 7-under clip thus far for the event.
"Because I have been coming off the tee so well," Knox said, "I have really been able to really attack the greens on the par-fives with rescue clubs, or shorter, so far. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up this type of play going in the final round."
Knox is attempting to become just the third player in Georgia Mid-Amateur history to capture consecutive titles. The last to do so was Rick Cloninger who captured back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. Allen Doyle, now a member of the Champions Tour, captured four consecutive titles from 1986-1989.