Columbus' Robert Mize fires a 67 and wins Georgia Amateur Championship

11th golfer from Columbus to win

mlough@macon.comJuly 13, 2014 

MACON, Ga. -- The triple-bogey giveth, and the triple-bogey taketh away. Just ask Columbus' Robert Mize and Stan Gann Jr.

Mize had a win in clear sight, with a four-stroke lead and two holes to play, only to be gobbled up by a triple on No. 17 at Idle Hour Club.

That gave third-round leader Gann, playing in the group behind Mize, a chance, with only a stroke separating the two as Mize moved on to No. 18 and Gann started No. 17.

But Gann matched Mize's triple, shutting the door as quickly as it was opened, and Mize won the Georgia Amateur Championship on Sunday.

Mize managed a 3-under-par 67 for the day, adding up to a 5-under 275 for the tournament. There was a four-way tie for second with Will Chandler, Carter Collins, Trey Rule and Kelby Burton, all at 279.

Gann bogeyed No. 18 and finished tied with Brad Davis and Matt Mierzejewski for sixth at 280.

Mize began the day tied for third, four back of Gann.

"It's fun to chase," Mize said. "It was easier to chase than it was (playing) with the lead, I'll tell you that much."

Mize was cruising along on an afternoon of pars and birdies until No. 17, which he bogeyed Thursday, double-bogeyed Friday and parred Saturday.

He found the hazard Friday and Sunday. Mize had a better angle but more distance to deal with Friday compared to Sunday.

"Given the situation, I was like, 'Don't be dumb, lay it up,' " Mize said. "If I'm 4 over, yeah, I'm probably taking dead aim and giving it a whack with a 5-wood."

He was "scared out of my mind" on the fairway 87 yards away. Mize was then long and left, and to the fringe, less than 10 feet for par. But the putt lipped out, to Mize's amazement. He finished the hole and quickly erased its memory.

"It actually might have been a good thing," Mize said. "It kind of put everything in perspective. I was walking down 18, and it's like, 'It's just a game.' It almost relaxed me a little bit."

He made par on No. 18 and was at the scorer's table while Gann was having his own similar problems on No. 17.

"I didn't know how I stood; I was like, 'Pretend you have to make this," Mize said of his final putt on No. 18.

The 17th hole was fairly difficult all weekend. It was clearly the toughest to par and had 18 percent of the tournament's bogeys and 27 percent of the double-bogeys, as well as 29 percent of the "others."

Mize and Gann certainly felt that Sunday.

The good start Gann had Friday that launched him into contention and to the lead Saturday was gone quickly Sunday. After two birdies and a par on No. 1, he bogeyed it. Two holes later, another. Two holes later, another. Mize countered with birdies and pars, taking the lead for good on No. 7 as the chase began for the others in the hunt.

Three strokes separated the top five players at the turn. Most of the contenders had fared well at least once on the back nine during the tournament, so it was easy to assume some sort of shootout awaited.

Instead, there was no drama for the first seven holes as Mize stayed steady, his run of four straight birdies -- unmatched by any of the contenders in the tournament -- ending on No. 11 with a par.

Gann got to within three after a birdie on No. 12, but Mize extended his lead to 5 with a par on No. 14 and was 8 under overall for three holes until No. 17.

The win was quite a mood adjustment for Mize after a rough performance at the Dogwood Invitational last month, won by Rule. Mize opened with a 66 at that tournament, one shot off the lead, and followed with a 73 and 77 to miss the cut.

"It was so frustrating to me," Mize said. "I had to give up golf for a couple days. I didn't want to break anything. I didn't want to break anything on my body."

Now all he's breaking is into smiles, albeit weary ones.

He has an 8:12 a.m. tee time Monday morning in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifier at Burningtree Country Club in Decatur, Alabama.

"I've got a little bit of a drive yet," he said Sunday. "I'm already looking forward to Tuesday."

ROBERT MIZE BIO

High school: Brookstone.

High school career: Led Cougars to two straight state championship in 2010 and 2011. Also won state medalist honors as a senior.

College: Started at Furman, transferred to Columbus State after redshirt freshman season at Furman.

College career: In 2013-14, won first two events of the year in October at the Aflac/Cougar Invitational and the TVA Credit Union Invitational. He had five other top-20 finishes. In 2012-13, he had two top-10 finishes, including a third at the Grub Mart Intercollegiate and a seventh at Indian Bayou Classic. Tied for 12th at Peach Belt Conference championship.

Family ties: Son of 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize.

COLUMBUS WINNERS

Bill Zimmerman, 1935

George Hamer, 1947

Jack Key Jr., 1949, 1961

Hugh Royer Jr., 1958

Billy Key, 1967

Bo Trotter, 1971

Hugh Royer III, 1986

Carter Mize, 1993, 1994

Bill Roberts, 1998

Jimmy Beck, 2013

Robert Mize, 2014

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