Royak eager to defend Jones Cup Senior title

Bob Royak plays his tee shot at the first hole to start the final round at the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019.  (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
Bob Royak plays his tee shot at the first hole to start the final round at the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Credit: USGA Museum

Credit: USGA Museum

Alpharetta’s Bob Royak will defend his championship at the Jones Cup Senior Invitational at Sea Island. Royak, the reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion, beat Gene Elliott of Iowa by a shot to claim the Jones Cup championship in 2020, one of the last competitions before the COVID-19 shutdown.

The tournament usually is conducted on the iconic Seaside Course, but is moving this spring to the Plantation Course, a Walter Travis original design that was renovated by Mark Love and Davis Love III in 2019. Royak said the different venue could help bunch the field, since few have as much experience on Plantation.

“I just love the atmosphere at Sea Island, the golf courses are terrific, and there’s a lot of history there,” Royak said. “And the practice area is great. You can go there and hit balls for hours.”

Royak, 59, will be joined in the field by his younger brother Paul Royak, 56, who was the Florida State Golf Association’s Senior Golfer of the Year in 2020.

Royak competed in the 66th Gaspirilla Championship in Tampa last week and tied for 36th – with Paul -- in an event primarily designed for mid-amateurs. Sixteen senior-level players made the cut at the Gaspirilla. McDonough’s Rusty Strawn tied Brian Keenan of Tampa for first place in the division, but Keenan prevailed in a playoff. He tied for ninth overall at 3-over 213.

Atlanta’s Tug Maude finished second in the overall championship.

Georgia Tech's Noah Norton
Georgia Tech's Noah Norton

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Georgia Tech earns first win of spring

A young Georgia Tech team took a big step by getting its first victory at the Wyoming Desert Classic in Palm Desert, Calif. It was the first win in four tries for the Yellow Jackets and the 65th under coach Bruce Heppler.

The Yellow Jackets finished 16 under and finished second shots ahead of Charlotte. Noah Norton shot 68-72-67 and finished second for his 10th career top-10. Freshman Christo Lamprecht closed with a 68 and tied for sixth.

Tech plays again at the Linger Longer Invitational at Reynolds Lake Oconee at Great Waters, March 12-14.

Around the campus

Led by medalist Tyler Copp, the Mercer men won the Invitational at Savannah Harbor by 12 shots. The senior shot 7-under 209, claimed his first college victory, and the Bears took a 12-shot win. …

The No. 10 Georgia women finished sixth at the Florida Gators Invitational. Caterina Don tied for 20th to lead the Bulldogs. “We have to go to work and figure out why we’re not playing as well as we should,” Georgia coach Josh Brewer said. “It happens sometimes in golf.” … The Georgia State women finished seventh in the Strutter Gus Invitational in Statesboro. Mahina Leveau tied for 12th. Host Georgia Southern finished second thanks to Alberte Thuesen’s tie for second place. …

Kennesaw State’s Tai Anudit was named the Atlantic Sun’s player of the week for third time in her career. She finished second at the Reynolds Lake Oconee Invitational. … Clayton State finished second and Georgia Southwestern was third in the Hurricane Invitational at Doublegate Country Club in Albany. Clayton State’s Joseph Kim tied for 10 and Simon Estrada was fifth for Georgia Southwestern. … The Georgia men will compete in the LSU Invitational that concludes Sunday.

Miscellaneous

The team of Ty Henley, Evan Parrish, Colby Hook and Brandon Russell shot a 23-under 59 to the Georgia State Park Cup qualifier at the Wallace Adams Golf Course in Helena. The quartet, which plays out of Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, earned a spot in the championship weekend at Arrowhead Pointe on May 7-8. … Tug Maude of Atlanta finished second at the Gaspirilla Championship in Tampa. … UGA grad Grayson Sigg and Georgia Tech alum Anders Albertson tied for seventh at the LECOM Suncoast Classic, the opening event on the Korn Ferry Tour. … The Piedmont Driving Club will host a 36-hole sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open Championship on June 7. The club, which has never hosted a sectional, is one of 11 sites for the 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, June 17-20.

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