From Staff Reports
David Noll Jr. has been at the top here before.
He’s experienced enough to know he needs to keep going if he’s going to win another title at the Georgia Amateur Championship.
The Dalton golfer holds a two-stroke lead after shooting a 4-under-par 67 in Thursday’s opening round at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw, the course where Noll won this Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) event for the first time 10 years ago.
Noll also won the 2011 Georgia Amateur title at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta and is a three-time runner-up, including last year at Ansley Golf Club-Settindown Creek in Roswell. He has finished in the top six eight times.
In his bid to make himself a three-time winner at the 72-hole tournament, Noll had a great start. He was 3 under for the front nine — helped by an eagle on the par-5, 530-yard ninth hole — and he finished the round with four birdies against two bogeys.
Trailing Noll with rounds of 69 are Cleveland’s David Watts and Peachtree Corners’ Zachary Healy. Calhoun’s Sam Curtis and Chad Wilson, Roswell’s Bryan Fox, Augusta’s Jeff Knox and Savannah’s Scott Weeks share fourth as the only other players who shot below par. Five other players had a round of par and share ninth place in the 144-player field.
North Murray High School graduate Colby Hipp is tied for 46th after a 4-over 75. If he holds the spot through today’s round, he’ll make the cut, which is for the lowest 70 players plus ties.
Rocky Face’s Tucker Snipes shot an 80 and is tied for 108th. Chatsworth’s Tyler Mitchell shot an 81 and is tied for 118th, while Dalton’s Robert Smith shot one stroke worse and is tied for 124th. Rocky Face’s Ethan Hayes shot an 87 and is tied for 143rd.
According to the GSGA, entries were open to male amateur golfers who belong to a GSGA member club and are Georgia residents. Almost 600 players entered this year’s championship, including 28 with exempt status. Noll has several exemptions, including a 10-year exemption as a Georgia Amateur winner.
The remaining 116 final spots were filled by non-exempt players who competed in one of 10 18-hole qualifiers last month.
Complete results, including individual player scorecards, are available at gsga.org.