Local golf: Mitchell claims low-am honors at U.S. Senior Open

John M. Bodenhamer congratulates low amateur William Mitchell after the final round at the 2021 U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club in Omaha, Neb. on Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Chris Keane/USGA)
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John M. Bodenhamer congratulates low amateur William Mitchell after the final round at the 2021 U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club in Omaha, Neb. on Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Chris Keane/USGA)

Credit: USGA Museum

There were only 34 amateurs who qualified for the elite U.S. Senior Open field. Only four made the cut, and Atlanta’s Billy Mitchell came away with the medal for low amateur.

Mitchell, a 57-year-old personal trainer from Roswell who was competing in his 18th USGA championship, shot 70-76 to make the cut. He finished with rounds of 72-74 to end up at 12-over 292 and tied for 46th at the Omaha (Nebraska) Country Club.

“It’s our national championship,” Mitchell said. “I feel a little emotional about it. It’s very special.”

Mitchell heeded the advice he got from his pal and client Stewart Cink before the week started.

“He said, here’s the deal, you go do what you do,” Mitchell said. “He said, don’t try to do anything else. You are who you are. If you hit it in the rough, get it out of the rough.”

Mitchell has shown his chops in Georgia golf circles for years. He won the GSGA Public Links title in 2010 and 2011, the Georgia Senior Open in 2016 and the Georgia Senior Match Play in 2020. He reached the round of 16 in the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur.

Mitchell said, “(My game) is better than I thought under really difficult conditions. I know how to grind. I’m not afraid to play from behind. That’s kind of what I do and that’s just head down and keep moving forward.”

Billy Andrade arranged for Mitchell to play a practice round with Bernhard Langer. Mitchell also was paired during the week with bomber Harry Arnold and Hall of Famer Mark O’Meara. He never seemed out of his element.

“You just try to play the golf course and not get sucked into, ‘Am I better than this guy’ or do I belong,” Mitchell said. “I was comfortable out here all week for the most part.”

Georgia State graduate Josh Edgar shot a course-record 60 in the final round to win the 2021 Georgia PGA's Championship at Berkeley Hill.
Caption
Georgia State graduate Josh Edgar shot a course-record 60 in the final round to win the 2021 Georgia PGA's Championship at Berkeley Hill.

Credit: Vicki Yi, Georgia PGA

Credit: Vicki Yi, Georgia PGA

Edgar sets course record, wins at Berkeley

The positive signs were there for Josh Edgar when he left the 100th Georgia Amateur with a tie for third. The breakthrough came two days later when he set a competitive course record in winning the Georgia PGA’s Championship at Berkeley Hills.

Edgar, a recent Georgia State graduate, opened with an excellent 68 and then followed it with a course-record 12-under 60 in the final round. It gave the Australian, who plays out of Berkeley Hills, a 16-under 128 and a five-shot win over professional Paul Claxton of Brunswick Country Club.

After making the second-round turn in 32, Edgar shot 28 on the inward nine and finished the last five holes with four birdies and an eagle.

Jin Chung, a PGA professional at Chateau Elan, closed with at 67 to finish at 6-under 138, and amateur Ryan Hines of Woodstock was fourth at 4-under 140.

Edgar tied for third at the Georgia Amateur over the previous weekend. After making a triple-bogey on the first hole of the championship, Edgar played the remaining 71 holes in 9 under par. The winning score posted by Harris Barth was minus-8.

Tech’s Norton leads U.S. Am qualifiers

Recent Georgia Tech graduate Noah Norton shot rounds of 64 and 65 to earn medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur qualifier held at Capital City – Crabapple. Norton’s 11-under 129 total secured him one of five spots available for the championship that former teammate Tyler Strafaci won in 2020.

The other four spots went to Virginia signee Deven Patel of Johns Creek at 9-under 131, Troy’s Brent Hamm of Warner Robins and South Carolina-Upstate’s Hunter Fry of Dacula at 8 under, and R.B. Clyburn of Cartersville at 7 under. Clyburn played football at Georgia Tech in the 2000s and now works as a college basketball official.

Clyburn beat current Yellow Jacket Bartley Forrester of Gainesville in a playoff for the final spot, leaving Forrester as first alternate. William Love of Atlanta earned the second alternate spot.

The second qualifier in Georgia will be July 20-21 at Stonebridge Golf Club in Rome. The U.S. Amateur is Aug. 9-15 at Oakmont.

Westrup new UGA women’s assistant

Caroline Westrup, a former Florida State All-American and professional golfer, has been named assistant women’s coach at the University of Georgia.

A native of Sweden, Westrup helped her country win three European team championships and was a member of the victorious European team at the 2003 Junior Solheim Cup. She played at FSU from 2005-08 and was the only four-time All-American and four-time All-ACC player in school history. Her first of a school-record five college wins came at the 2006 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens. She was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

Westrup played professionally on the LPGA, LET and Symetra Tours and won twice. She retired from competition in 2019 and has been coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., since.

Birdies program produces $385K for charity

The Gwinnett Championship Foundation and Primerica raised $385,000 through its Birdies for Charity program at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic. The beneficiaries included Annandale Village, Cooper’s Crew, Grayson Cluster Schools Foundation, the Special Needs School of Gwinnett and the Women’s Club of Sugarloaf Country Club. The program has raised more than $1.5 million since its inception in 2016.

Miscellaneous: Former Georgia Tech golfer Bo Andrews, now the assistant coach at Tennessee, qualified for the U.S. Amateur at the qualifier in Longmeadow, Mass. … Jeremy Friedman is the new director of public relations and marketing at Outlyr, a global sports and event marketing agency. Friedman, a Georgia graduate from Stone Mountain, spent 14 years with Golf Channel and NBC Sports. … Jason Plazola is the new general manager of The Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee. … Georgia Urology and Boston Scientific were announced as sponsors of volunteer headquarters for The Tour Championship, Sept. 1-5 at East Lake Golf Club.