Local golf: Internationals lead strong field at Dogwood

Amateur Abel Gallegos of Argentina plays his stroke from the No. 2 tee during Round 1 of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday, November 12, 2020. Gallegos is in the field for the 2021 Dogwood Invitational.
Amateur Abel Gallegos of Argentina plays his stroke from the No. 2 tee during Round 1 of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday, November 12, 2020. Gallegos is in the field for the 2021 Dogwood Invitational.

Credit: Hunter Martin/Augusta National

Credit: Hunter Martin/Augusta National

The Dogwood Invitational, a COVID-19 casualty last summer, has another loaded field when it returns to the amateur golf calendar next week.

The 72-hole tournament begins Wednesday at the Druid Hills Golf Club and includes its typical array of top college and international players. A qualifier will be held Monday to determine the final spots in the field.

“We’re excited to have the tournament again, and there’s been a lot of interest, probably more than we’ve had in a while,” said Ed Klein, the Dogwood’s co-chair. “We’ve got a great field, and the golf course is in exceptional condition. It’s as good as it’s been in a long time, and we’re looking forward to a great week.”

There are three former champions in the field: 2019 winner Brandon Mancheno, who played at Auburn but transferred to North Florida this year; 2018 winner Ashton Poole, who played at Virginia and finished his career at Georgia State; and 2014 winner Trey Rule, a Mercer grad.

The biggest international names in the field are Argentina’s Abel Gallegos, who won the 2020 Latin American Amateur and played in the 2020 Masters, and Australian Louis Dobbelaar, winner of the Australian Amateur, Tasmanian Amateur and Queensland Amateur. Gallegos is No. 76 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and Dobbelaar is No. 97.

Greg Norman Jr., son of the World Golf Hall of Famer, also is in the field.

The Dogwood has 60 different schools represented, including some from HBCU institutions.

“This has given us a good chance to offer playing opportunities to some players who may have flown under the radar, and we’re excited about that,” Klein said.

The Dogwood began in 1941 and has produced recent champions such as Webb Simpson, Brian Harman, Hudson Swafford.

Kennesaw State hired Erin Thorne (left) as its women's golf coach. She was previously the head men's and women's golf coach at Wingate University.
Kennesaw State hired Erin Thorne (left) as its women's golf coach. She was previously the head men's and women's golf coach at Wingate University.

Credit: Jim Killian

Credit: Jim Killian

Kennesaw State hires Thorne to guide women’s program

Erin Thorne is the new women’s golf coach at Kennesaw State. She comes from Wingate University, where she coached the men’s and women’s teams and produced six tournament championships, eight medalists and a South Atlantic Conference title and was a three-time conference coach of the year.

Thorne played four years at Western Michigan from 2003-07 and played professionally on the Suncoast Tour and the Canadian Women’s Tour. She was an assistant pro in Canada and a grad assistant at Ohio Dominican University for one year. Thorne became a grad assistant at Wingate in 2014 and became acting head coach in 2015 and full-time head coach in 2016. She added the men’s job to her duties in 2020.

“I’m excited to join KSU and continue to build upon the yearly success of the women’s golf program,” Thorne said. “There is already an established tradition of winning in the ASUN, but we’ll set our sights on taking the next step as a program.”

Kennesaw State has won three consecutive ASUN Championships and advanced to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regionals, which were rained out. The roster includes Tai Anudit, the ASUN Golfer of the Year, and all-freshman selections Alizee Vidal, Lara Jecnik and Tori Owens.

Georgia's Jo Hua Hung during the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga., on Friday, March 19, 2021. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)
Georgia's Jo Hua Hung during the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga., on Friday, March 19, 2021. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

Credit: Steven Colquitt

Credit: Steven Colquitt

UGA’s Hung in U.S Women’s Open field

Jo Hua Hung, a rising senior at the University of Georgia, will get a chance to compete against the world’s best at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Hung earned her spot in a qualifier last month at Druid Hills.

“Not everyone gets the chance to play in a tournament like this,” Hung said. “I’ve been working hard to get ready. The course is tough, but it’s doable if I keep focused on every shot. I think it will be a good experience.”

Hung will be paired the first two days with professionals Haley Moore, in her second year on the LPGA Tour, and Haylee Harford, a Furman grad who plays on the Symetra Tour. All are playing in their first U.S. Women’s Open.

Hung, who played in every tournament on the Bulldogs’ schedule this season, was blown away by the difficult conditions at the national championship.

“The first thing I noticed about the course is the rough is really long,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever played in a tournament with rough being that long. Hitting a good tee ball is going to be key to shooting a good score.”

Chitty, Chancellor win GSGA Women’s Match Play titles

Padgett Chitty of Valdosta won the GSGA Women’s Match Play, and Diane Chancellor of Greensboro won the Senior Women’s Match play at Brunswick Country Club.

Chitty, who plays at Central Michigan, defeated Allie Kantor of Milton 3 and 2 in the final match. She beat Mary Murray of Augusta 2 up in the semifinal. Chancellor defeated Ellen MacArthur of Big Canoe with a par on the 20th hole to claim the title for a second consecutive year. Chancellor defeated Leslie Elkins of Roswell 2 and 1 in the hard-fought semifinal match.

Hardwick first at U.S. Girls’ Junior qualifier

Molly Hardwick of Franklin, Tenn., shot a 1-under 71 to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur qualifier at Dogwood Country Club in Austell. Grace Sinclair of Brandon, Miss., and Hailey Han of Duluth prevailed in a playoff for the other two spots, with Iris Cao of Duluth and Valentina Zuleta of Colombia taking the alternate spots after the quartet tied at 73. The 72nd U.S. Girls Junior will be July 12-17 at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md.

Five earn spots in U.S. Junior Am

Nicholas Dunlap of Huntsville, Ala., shot 6-under 66 to lead five qualifiers for the U.S. Junior Amateur at Dogwood Country Club in Austell. Bo Carpenter of Tifton, Wyatt Seilkop of Suwanee and Andrew Gregory of Inman, S.C., tied for second with 67s. Reed Sweigart of Roswell earned the final spot, with Buck Brumlow of Cartersville and Kai Maarko of Roswell taking the two alternate spots after they each shot 68. The U.S. Junior Amateur is July 19-24 at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst.

West Pines duo wins Georgia Pro-Assistant title

Head professional Chris Cartwright and assistant professional Chad Thomas from West Pines Golf Club in Douglasville won the Georgia PGA Pro-Assistant championship at TPC Sugarloaf.

Cartwright and Thomas shot a 10 under to defeat Drew Dunn and Greg Edwards of East Lake Golf Club by one shot. Tied for third were the teams of Gary Miller and Zach Moore of Jennings Mill and Cartwright and Scott Wilson, the second West Pines team, at 8 under.

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