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Column: Several state golfers making headlines this week

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.


People who know me know I like golf.

It’s a sport I like to play, even as frustrating as it can be sometimes.

And, it’s a sport I like to write about, be high school, college, professional or amateur golf.

Today, though, we open up the notebook and look at some of the golf news out there as the calendar flips to June which is a pretty good month for golf.

* Yes, in golf, the month of June brings us the U.S. Open, one of the most difficult tests in all of golf where par is usually a really good score.

This coming week, the longest day in golf will take place on Monday when the United States Golf Association holds its 36-hole sectional qualifiers at several sites around the country and also overseas.

One of those sites is the Settindown Creek Course at the Ansley Golf Club in Roswell. The qualifier will be managed by staff from the Georgia State Golf Association.

The 43-player field assembled for this qualifier includes a few noteworthy names with Peach State ties including Gene Sauers, the 2016 U.S. Senior Open champion who hails from Savannah and played collegiate golf at Georgia Southern.

Also in the field in Roswell is PGA Tour golfer D.J. Trahan who was born in Atlanta and represented the U.S. in the 2001 Walker Cup held at Ocean Forest Golf Club on Sea Island.

Trahan also won the first-ever prestigious Jones Cup Invitational hosted by Sea Island and played at Ocean Forest when he was a standout golfer at Clemson.

Also worth noting is the big names that will compete in the Columbus, Ohio, sectional, which is typically one of the strongest fields among the qualifiers as many top professionals make the short trip over from the Memorial Tournament taking place this week at nearby Muirfield Village.

This year, former Masters champions Adam Scott and Vijay Singh will be there along with former Georgia Tech golfer and 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink.

Another popular venue among top players in the game is the site in Memphis, Tenn., which will host a PGA Tour event later next week.

In the field there this year are Sea Island’s Davis Love III and St. Simons Island residents Jonathan Byrd and Harris English as well as Chris Kirk, a former University of Georgia golfer who won the RSM Classic at Sea Island a few years back.

* Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz has earned a spot in the upcoming U.S. Senior Open.

The Hall of Fame pitcher qualified for the tournament on Thursday by winning a three-man playoff at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Peachtree City.

He won the playoff on the third hole despite making a double-bogey.

Smoltz, 51, has been an avid golfer for a long time. He was known to play regularly with fellow Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux.

Also, Georgia resident Sonny Skinner qualified in regulation play at the Atlanta site.

And for the record, Love III is also scheduled to compete in the U.S. Senior Open which is slated for June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor-East Course in Colorado Springs.

* Oklahoma State swept Alabama 5-0 earlier this week to win its 11th NCAA championship.

The Cowboys, who were the top seed for match play, went through the SEC on the way to the title defeating Texas A&M in the quarterfinals, Auburn in the semifinals and Alabama in the championship final.

You might remember that earlier this month it was Alabama losing to Auburn in the SEC tournament at Sea Island. The two rivals were close to meeting again in the national championship match.

Also, Augusta University golfer Broc Everett won the men’s individual championship in a playoff against Auburn’s Brandon Mancheno.

The win was the first-ever for Everett in his collegiate career.

Just 24 hours after winning the individual championship, Everett boarded a plane for Canada to participate in the Freedom 55 Financial Open on the McKenzie Tour.

He had already planned to begin his professional career there before winning the national championship which usually leads to exemptions into some PGA Tour events.

* The Georgia High School Association recently held its state tournaments in each of its seven classifications. Here are the winners:

Girls – North Gwinnett, Northview, Starr’s Mill, Woodward, Rutland, St. Vincent’s, Lake Oconee Academy and Darlington; Boys – Mill Creek, Johns Creek, Starr’s Mill, Columbus, Westminster, Metter, Gordon Lee and Holy Innocents’.

 

 

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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