Knox defends Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Jeff Knox of Augusta posted rounds of 67, 67 and 73 en route to successfully defending his title at the 28th annual Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship, conducted May 15-17 at White Columns Country Club. Knox, who began the final round with a five-stroke advantage, bogeyed three of his last four holes but the field could not make up enough ground to close. Mark Strickland of Woodstock and Adam Cooper of Columbus each posted one-under 71 in the final round to finish tied for second at 210 (-6).

Knox began his day with pars on each of his first four holes. Cooper, who recently had his amateur status restored and was playing in the final group with Knox, made birdies on his first and fourth holes to close to within three shots. Both players would make the turn at two-under though, as Knox would answer with birdies of his own at holes five and seven.

Strickland, who posted a one-under 35 on the outward nine, began his charge on the back side, making birdies at holes 10 and 13. He would close his round, however, with bogeys on his final two holes to finish three shots behind the leader. Cooper, who had fallen to five-under after a costly double-bogey on the par-3 17th, sank a 30-foot birdie putt on 18 to move into a tie with Strickland for runner-up honors.

Jeff Belk of Marietta posted the low round of the final day, a four-under 68, to climb into a tie for fourth position at 212 with Macon’s John Walker, Roswell’s William Mitchell and Dan McManus of Newnan. Two past Georgia Mid-Am Champions, David Noll Jr. of Dalton and Doug Hanzel of Savannah, were among the five players to finish tied for eighth. The other players tied at three-under 213 were Chris Hall of Kennesaw, Danny Whigham Jr. of Atlanta and Duluth’s Dave Poteet.

Knox is just the third player in Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship history to collect consecutive victories. Rick Cloninger tallied back-to-back wins in 2001 and 2002 while Champions Tour player Allen Doyle won four straight from 1986-89. Atlanta’s Danny Yates, who won titles in 1983, 1985 and 1994, is the only other player who can boast multiple Mid-Amateur victories for his career.

“It means a great deal to me to win this event in back-to-back years,” Knox said after lifting the Georgia Mid-Amateur trophy. “It feels really good to see my name on this trophy with all those great names in golf.”