Shad Tuten, who says this really is his final Augusta City Amateur, won his second consecutive title with ease.
The former Elberton, Ga., resident led by four shots after 36 holes, closed with 7-under-par 65 on Sunday at Forest Hills Golf Club and won by 12 shots.
Tuten, 22, expects to have turned pro by this time next year, but he said the same thing after he won last year.
He just finished up his golf eligibility at Armstrong Atlantic State, where he won three college events, but will return in the fall to finish up his degree.
“I’m taking it slow; I’m going to finish school first,” said Tuten, who lives in Savannah, Ga. “I want to (turn pro) right now, but things have to line up. When they do, I’ll do it.”
He played like a pro all week at Forest Hills, leading after every round, as he did in 2013. This year, he shot 68-69-65. Georgia Regents golfer Meechai Padung shot 69-72-73 to finish a distant second.
“I’m excited about this,” said Tuten, who hoped to finish at 12-under for the tournament before it started and bested that by two shots.
A missed 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole cost Tuten the outright tournament record. Instead, he matched the 14-under 202 shot by Jordan Johnstun in 2008.
“Oh yeah, I wanted that putt,” said Tuten, who was coming off birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 17. “After you see three drop, that hole looks huge.”
The senior division had a surprise winner. Augusta’s Todd Mercer rallied from six shots back and won the title by rolling in an 18-foot eagle putt on his final hole, the par-5 No. 9 on the course.
“This is big,” said Mercer, a Forest Hills member who won the club championship in 2007 and 2008 but seldom plays tournament golf anymore. “I haven’t grinned like this in a long time. I’m tickled to death, man.”
Mercer, 51, a former Augusta College pitcher/first baseman who didn’t even play high school golf, closed with 68 to edge second-round leader Doug Faulkner by one shot.
Faulkner, who called a one-shot penalty on himself when his putter nicked his ball while he was preparing to knock in a tap-in on his 10th hole of the day and also made triple bogey on his 15th hole, had 75.
“That’s just golf,” Faulkner said of the penalty that ended up costing him a shot at a playoff with Mercer. “But Todd played better than all of us.”
It all came down to the final hole, where Mercer, Faulkner and Kenny Larry – all playing in the same group – were tied for the lead after Mercer made bogey on No. 17.
On their final hole, Mercer and Faulkner hit the par-5 green in two shots. Larry, who has won 21 senior division titles but has never won this one, was just off the green to the right, 20 feet from the hole. He three-putted from there for par and 72. After Faulkner missed his 25-foot eagle putt, Mercer rolled in his downhiller for the victory.
With the ball 5 feet from the hole, Mercer said, “Let her in one time, baby.”
“Todd made a great putt,” Faulkner said.
“I hit two of the best shots of the day and the best putt of the day on the last hole,” Mercer said.
Augusta City Amateur
Forest Hills Golf Club, Par 72
Championship Flight, 6,749 yards
202–Shad Tuten (68-69-65).
214–Meechai Padung (69-72-73).
216–Chris Kuhlke (70-73-73).
217–Jordan Johnstun (75-71-71).
218–Carson Spears (76-74-68).
221–Hayden Ploeger (77-71-73).
224–Evan Downs (76-73-75).
225–Alex Shead (80-72-73).
226–Andrew Felak (76-76-74).
228–Harrison Harper (76-77-75), Joey Kaney (74-74-80), Will Rogers (73-80-75).
231–Ben Lillis (77-75-79).
234–Lewis White (77-75-82).
228–Trevor Balliet (75-79-74).
230–Damon Powers (74-81-75), Graham Echols (76-78-76), Olegs Garner (78-79-75), David Hogan (75-79-78).
233–David Hemann (82-74-77).
235–Montgomery Harrison (76-79-80, Patrick McBride (77-77-81), Todd Fields (82-76-77).
236–Addison Powers (78-79-79).
237–John Christian Whyte (77-82-78), Joseph Kim (78-79-80), Steve Kubik (75-82-80).
241–Herman Belton (82-77-82).
235–Adam Walden (76-85-74).
239–Will Dalzell (88-75-76).
241–Ryan Anderson (79-87-75).
242–Mikael Magnuson (80-83-79), Carter Mobley (84-76-82).
243–Jamar Lott (84-81-243), Logan Tucker (87-73-83).
245–Joyver Tejeda (83-78-84), Colson Herrin (80-82-83).
246–Keith Williams (88-76-82).
248–John Wade (79-87-82).
249–Chad Couch (83-81-85).
250–Charles Nasworthy (86-80-84).
251–Drew Braithwaite (76-87-88), Trey Keepers (80-85-88).
x-won scorecard playoff based on final-round score
250–x-Glenn Cassidy (81-89-80, Josh Nadeau (82-86-82).
254–Brian Williams (89-82-83).
259–Cody Hoops (84-87-88).
260–Clay Booth (86-89-85).
261–James Moore (89-87-85), Walter Busbee (83-87-91), Seth Straughn (90-87-84).
262–Ethan Confer (88-88-86).
264–Gary Bussey (91-83-90).
266–Vance Clements (89-90-87).
272–Miles Foody (87-91-94).
288–Matthew Smith (92-102-94).
289–Jay Lyons (102-93-94).
324–Alan Cushman (107-103-114).
214–Todd Mercer (71-75-68).
215–Doug Faulkner (67-73-75).
216–Kenny Larry (73-71-72).
217–Robert Samuels (68-76-73).
221–Danny Daniels (74-74-73).
222–Vic Dye (74-77-71).
223–Phil Nunnery (75-73-75), Glen Hurt (78-72-73).
225–Frank Perry (74-77-74).
226–Ed Payne (73-77-76).
231–Jeff Ferguson (74-77-80).
WD–Joe Whisenant (76-74), Ernie Timmerman (75-76).
226– George Bullard (75-80-71).
227–Mike Kelley (78-74-75).
228–Wayne McKenney (77-75-76), David Clark (77-75-76).
229–Billy Rangos (75-80-74), Rob Bissell (76-80-73).
230–Bill Gibbs (78-79-73), Mike Jackson (78-75-77).
233–Steve Chapman (83-73-77).
234–William Peeples (78-79-77).
238–Steve Pokrywka (75-82-81).
235–Mark Givens (83-75-77).
236–Paul Arrington (81-80-75), Robert Chapman (80-79-77) Doug Hathaway (78-80-78).
237–Ken Moody (84-75-78), Charles Ponder (85-77-75).
238–Dale Slack (78-83-77).
239–Dave Barwick (80-80-79).
240–Brent Craft (82-80-78).
241–Jim Seagle (79-83-79).
244–Amos Captain (75-85-84).
246–James O’Berry McCorquodale (76-85-85).