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May 18, 2014

Dalton resident David Noll Jr. wins Georgia Mid-Amateur

Dalton resident David Noll Jr. never broke even-par in the three-round Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship.

That was good enough for him to win the Georgia State Golf Association event for a third time.

Noll shot an even-par 70, his best round, Sunday at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee in Eatonton and took the event title in a tiebreaker with Milton’s James Kiely. Both Noll and Kiely finished 4-over for the tournament, but Noll won a one-hole playoff with a birdie after Kiely earned a bogey.

Noll shot a 72 in each of the first two rounds and trailed Kiely by five strokes entering the final 18 holes. Only one player, Cohutta resident Ben Rickett, shot under-par in Sunday’s final round.

“It was a difficult golf course out there,” said Noll, who won this tournament in 2007 and 2012. “They had it set up unbelievably difficult. I went in knowing par would be a good score for the tournament.”

Despite the five-stroke difference entering the round, Noll knew he had a chance if he stayed around even-par. Kiely’s opening round was a 74, and he responded with a 65.

“I have won my share and lost my share with a big lead like that,” said Noll, who started playing the Mid-Amateur in 2002. “Then you put the difficulty of the golf course. My goal for the day was to shoot 1-under. I shot even, but a 1-under round would’ve won the tournament outright.”

Noll and Kiely were paired together, and Noll gained two strokes with a second-hole birdie after Kiely’s bogey. He gained another stroke on No. 8, lost one on hole No. 10 and gained it back on No. 12. Noll moved a stroke back on hole No. 13 when Kiely bogeyed, moved two back on No. 15 but gained the stroke back with a birdie on No. 17. Noll trailed by one stroke with a hole to play and earned a par, whereas Kiely bogeyed the par-4 hole.

“I hit a great drive,” Noll said. “He hit his just over in the rough. He put his second shot in the bunker. I put mine about 20 feet from the hole. He got out of the bunker and was out and got within four feet. I made my par and he made a bogey.

“It wasn’t necessarily us against each other. It was us against the golf course.”

On the playoff, Noll made a solid second shot and Kiely again found a bunker.

Atlanta’s Cameron Hooper (5-over) finished third, and Alpharetta’s Bob Royak and Macon’s Travis Steed finished 7-over and tied for fourth.

Rickett was 13-over after two rounds but shot a 69 and finished tied for 12th with a 12-over. Cartersville’s Chad Branton, Social Circle’s Ray Greco III and Atlanta’s Chris Waters finished with the same tournament score.

Rocky Face’s Matt Oxford was the third of three locals competing, but he didn’t make the Saturday cut.

Entries were open to amateur male GSGA members who are Georgia residents and age 25 or older as of May 16.

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