July 11, 2004
ATHENS, Ga. - Despite missing a six-foot par putt on the 72nd hole and
finishing one-over for the final round (71), David Denham of Tifton held
on to win the Georgia Amateur Championship by one stroke over Griff Moody
of Cumming. Both players bogeyed the final hole, as Denham claimed the
trophy with an even 280 for the championship. Moody, the 1980 Amateur
Champion, finished one stroke back after shooting even-par on the final
18. Jack Hall of Macon (70) and Taylor Crosby of Athens (69) also carded
281 to tie Moody for runner-up honors.
Doug Stiles of Athens, playing on his home course, recorded a final-round
70 to finish fifth at 284, while Jeff Knox of Augusta placed sixth with a
286 and Chuck Pinkard of Cumming was one stroke back in seventh. Chris
Kirk of Woodstock and Brent Dorner of Albany tied for eighth at 288. Six
golfers tied for 10th place at 289, including Bill Brown of Dublin, Kyle
Collins of Milledgeville, Joe Deraney of Statesboro, Brian Farrer of Mt.
Berry, Jonathan Fricke of Snellville and Greg Kennedy of Cumming.
The University of Georgia golf team was well-represented among the
leaders, as Denham, Crosby and Kirk are current members of the Bulldog
golf team, while Hall, Kennedy, Knox and Moody are former Georgia golfers.
Denham, who entered the final round with a two-stroke lead over Hall,
Moody and Fricke, remained the leader through 10 holes. Moody caught up
to him with a birdie on No. 11, then took the lead on the par-3 12th.
Denham missed a three-foot putt for par, while Moody's six-inch par putt
lipped around before falling in, giving him a one-stroke lead. Denham
answered with a 10-foot birdie putt on 13 to square it up. After both
recording pars on 14 and 15, Denham and Moody came up short on lengthy par
putts at 16 and both settled for bogeys.
At the 148-yard 17th hole, Moody found himself on the deep side of the
green. From 55 feet out, he lagged to within five feet but couldn't make
the par putt coming back and was forced to take a bogey. Denham tapped in
a three-footer for par and took a one stroke advantage to the 18th tee.
After watching Moody's second shot go off the back of the green at 18,
Denham played it short and putted up to the green, leaving himself a
six-foot par opportunity. Moody's chip shot rolled past the hole, leaving
him 10 feet for par. Denham's putt traveled a foot past the hole, while
Moody's attempt to even the score ended up a foot short. Both settled for
bogeys, as Denham held on for the victory to become 60th different
champion in the Georgia Amateur's 83-year history.
"That (par) putt was a combination of a mis-read and a mis-hit," Denham
explained. "I just tried to collect my thoughts and nerves and make what
I had left."
"I was in really good shape and thought 16, 17 and 18 would be my holes,"
Moody commented about the final stretch. "But they just weren't. Number
16 is the one that hurt, because it's the easiest hole out here. It hurt
me the whole weekend (double-bogey in the third round, bogey in final
round). I just didn't have any good drives on that hole. But Denham
played really well and deserved to win."
"This win means a lot," Denham added. "From here on out, everywhere I
go, I'll be known as the state champion."
After pulling to within one stroke of Denham with a birdie on No. 3, Hall
fell behind with back-to-back bogeys on holes 5 and 6 and never got closer
than two strokes to the leader until carding par on 18. Crosby, the
reigning Athens Country Club champion, entered three strokes back and was
one of two golfers to post the low round of the day, a 69, to move into
the three-way tie for second. Scott Pitts carded the other 69 to finish
tied for 21st. Fricke fell out of contention early, opening with a bogey
and recording two double-bogeys en route to a final-round 78.
The defending Amateur champion, David Noll, Jr. of Dalton, finished tied
for 18th at 11-over 291, carding a pair of 71s in the last two rounds.
The Championship format was 72 holes of stroke play over four days on
Athens Country Club's par-70, 6,671-yard layout. Two holes - the 445-yard
No. 6 and 456-yard No. 10 - were converted from par-5s to par-4s for the
championship. After 36 holes, the field was cut to the low 70 players and
ties. The cut line fell at 11-over 151, with 74 players advancing.
The Georgia Amateur Championship is conducted by the Georgia State Golf
Association and brings together 156 of the state's best male amateur
golfers for the prestigious state title first won by Bobby Jones in 1916.
There were 129 qualifiers that joined 27 exempt players to make up the
field. A total of 637 golfers entered the qualifying process, competing
at 10 sites for the available places.
The GSGA conducts 18 statewide competitions for men and women of all age
groups, three interstate matches and 17 USGA qualifying events each year.
Other services include computerized handicapping, course rating and
measuring, a summer-long junior sectional competitions program, Golf
Georgia magazine and two college scholarship programs.
-- Notables --
Moody Adds To Top Finishes: Not only did he win the Georgia Amateur
Championship in 1980, Moody has now posted four runner-up finishes (1976,
1977, 1979 and 2004). This year's finish also makes the seventh time
overall that he's placed among the top five. Moody competed on PGA Tour
before regaining his amateur status in 1997.
Top Ten Repeats: Jeff Knox and Chuck Pinkard both recorded their second
straight top 10 finish after placing fourth and tied for 10th,
respectively, a year ago. Bill Brown, Jonathan Fricke and Jack Hall all
placed among the top 10 for the second time in three years. Brown was the
runner-up in 2002 after falling to Jonathan Shiflet in a playoff.
Rounds Under Par: As most of the tournament officials predicted, there
were very few rounds under par on the Donald Ross-course at Athens Country
Club. Out of the 438 rounds played during the Championship, only 19 came
in under 70.
Local Knowledge A Key: Champion David Denham and runner-up Taylor Crosby
were the only two players to have more than one round under par. Denham
shot 69-67 in the first two rounds, while Crosby carded a second-round 67
and a final-round 69. The low round of the event came from Chris Kirk,
who shot a 66 in the second round. All three are currently members of the
Georgia Bulldogs' golf team.
Right on the Nose: The GSGA's Senior Director of Rules and Competitions,
Layne Williams, correctly predicted the champion's total in the
July/August issue of Golf Georgia magazine. "I think somewhere around
even par will be the winning score," Williams told writer Mike Blum in his
Amateur preview story.
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