Dalton resident David Noll Jr. knew he was going to have to produce something special on Sunday to win the 2019 Georgia State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Golf Championship. Whether he would execute his plan was the challenge.
Noll shot a 4-under-par 68 in his final round at The River Club in Suwanee to capture his fourth GSGA Mid-Amateur Championship. Noll came from three shots back on the final day of the three-day tournament, holding off 14 other players who started Sunday's round within four shots of the lead.
Noll said the conditions were what one would expect for a championship-level tournament.
"It was really the perfect storm with the (dry) weather recently and with the way the course was set up," he said. "If you missed a green there were these massive runoffs, and then you'd have a chip coming back that may leak off the green again. It was just firm and fast."
After shooting a one-under-par 71 in Friday's opening round, Noll came back with a five-over-par 77 in Saturday's second round. Even after posting a higher score than he would have liked, Noll said he was pleased with where he sat on Sunday morning.
"I played really well the first day, but was actually shocked I was only one shot out of the lead after the first round," Noll said. "The second day I played a great round of golf, but it kind of got away from me at the end. But then once again I was shocked that I was only three shots out of the lead.
"I knew a 68 would get me back to even, and there was no way even par wasn't going to win this tournament."
After starting his final round with a three-putt bogey, Noll found his rhythm when he birdied holes seven, eight and nine. Another birdie at No. 11 kept the momentum going, setting up an eagle on the par-5 No. 15 that proved to be the deciding hole. After a long drive to the fairway and a 3-wood to the fringe, Noll chipped in from 40 feet away, putting himself in prime position heading down the final few holes.
"I knew that was gonna be a big deal going forward over the next three holes," Noll said. "I knew if I could play them in par, it was going to be hard for those guys behind me to match that."
While Noll admits the United States Golf Association events he participates in are the most notable on his schedule, he said the GSGA events are some of the best in the country.
"I've played in almost every state, and Georgia has the best golf association because of the quality of golfers here," Noll said. "So a Mid-Am (Mid-Amateur) or a state match play in Georgia are held in high regard around the country."
Noll took little time off to celebrate his most recent victory, as he was practicing on the range at the Dalton Golf & Country Club on Monday afternoon. Next up for Noll will be the John T. Lupton Invitational this weekend at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tennessee. Noll said the Lupton Invitational, another Mid-Amateur, is a tournament that has been on his radar for some time.
"I lost on the last hole last year, and I've never won it, although I've finished runner-up a handful of times," Noll said. "I've played well before, and I'm hoping to play well there again this weekend."