November 5, 2013

Kimmerling fights injury to help DG&CC to team victory

By Chris Whitfield
chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com

— In one round of golf this past weekend, Brandon Kimmerling had a hole-in-one, a traditional eagle and two birdies.

With a broken finger. Suffered while playing flag football.

The round came during the first 18 holes at the Georgia State Golf Association’s Team Championship as the team from Dalton Golf & Country Club won its third title since 2007. The DG&CC team shot a two-day total of 15-under par to beat Houston Lakes Country Club by three strokes at The Georgia Club in Statham.

The team — composed of Chase Jones, David Noll Jr., Brian Owens and Kimmerling — played in four-ball competition the first day, with Noll and Kimmerling playing together and Jones and Owens in the other pairing as DG&CC finished the round two strokes behind early leader Houston Lakes. Sunday’s second round was stroke play, with the top three scores counting toward the team total.

Kimmerling hit his hole-in-one on the 160-yard, par-3 8th hole during the first day of competition.

While playing flag football the previous Tuesday, Kimmerling’s right hand got caught in an opponent’s jersey, and the bone on the top knuckle of his right ring finger was sheared off. While his injury didn’t break the skin, the bone pieces were in the joint of Kimmerling’s knuckle.

On Sunday, Owens led DG&CC with a 2-under 70, while Noll and Jones each shot 71. Even with his ring finger taped to his middle finger and the finger swollen and severely bruised, Kimmerling still managed a 76.

“It was really painful,” Kimmerling said. “The pain was there on every shot, but I got lucky with a couple of shots. I never thought about not playing, and I was just glad to be able to help.”

The team certainly appreciated it.

“You really can’t say enough about his effort,” Owens said. “That was a big deal for us. He made a huge contribution on Saturday, with two eagles and two birdies and that is six strokes to the good. There was only nine more shots to pick up after that between the three of us.”

The DG&CC team previously won the championship in 2007 and 2009.

Noll and Owens have played on winning teams in the past, but this was the first title at the event for Jones and Kimmerling. The top four players in the club’s championship represent the club for the team competition.

“It is equal pressure to the individual tournaments, but it is more fun,” said Noll, who has won the GSGA’s Men’s Player of the Year title in eight of the past 10 years. “You want to do well, but it is still a good time and a little more relaxing.”

With Noll and Owens already having won team competitions in the past, the four decided to pair the veterans with the younger players. Noll and Jones are both long hitters, so they separated.

“Chase and I meshed well together,” Owens said. “You could have flipped a coin for us to have partners, and we were just happy the way it worked.”

While Kimmerling had his ace, Jones was eight inches from another one — on a 350-yard par 4.  

“It was a blast,” said Jones, an assistant golf coach at Dalton State College. “It was a lot of fun. We all took it pretty seriously. Everyone was pretty pumped. I got lucky and got a good shot that just happened to roll up.”

Kimmerling and Noll combined for a 7-under 65 during the first round, and Owens and Jones shot a 68. The individual rounds on Sunday erased Houston Lakes’ lead .

“We had great team chemistry,” Owens said. “It was a bunch of great guys, and we have great camaraderie together.”