In what he knew would be his final appearance in the Augusta City Amateur, Shad Tuten took control Friday and never let go.
The 21-year-old Tuten, who will have turned pro by this time next year, completed a wire-to-wire victory on Sunday at Forest Hills Golf Club.
He led by three shots after the first-round and by two after 36 holes. He ended up winning by three, finishing in style by making a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.
That gave Tuten a final round of even-par 71. After opening with 66-68, he finished at 8-under 205.
Tuten, who was runner-up last year, wanted to play well in his final City Am.
“Yeah, pretty much that was in my mind,” he said, “That, and finishing second last year. That was really in the back of my mind.”
“What can I say?” said Tuten’s mother, Juanita Tuten. “He turned it on today. He played very, very well. He wanted it bad and he showed he could do it.”
Kelby Burton shot 72 on Sunday to finish second at 208. Georgia Regents University golfer Meechai Padungsiriseth (67) was third at 209 and former Aquinas golfer John Christian Whyte (70), who hopes to make the GRU golf team as a walk-on in the fall, was third at 210.
“I did what I needed to do today,” said Tuten, a rising senior at Armstrong Atlantic State. “It was good. I knew I had to shoot even or under par to beat him (Burton)
because I knew he was going to come out here shooting at flags.”
Tuten was born in Augusta and grew up in Elberton, Ga., where his family still lives.
“It means a lot,” he said of the victory. “I’ve grown up playing in Augusta and played with all these guys. It means the world to me. It’s a really good feeling.”
Danny Daniels, of Kingsland, Ga., made sure the anticipated shootout for the senior division title never materialized.
Eight players where within three shots of the lead held by Jeff Roberts and Glen Hurt after 36 holes, including the 64-year-old Daniels, who trailed by one shot.
The contenders agreed on Saturday night that it would take an under-par final round to win. Daniels, with 69, and Robert Samuels, with 70, were the only ones to do it.
It gave Daniels a three-shot victory over the hard-luck Samuels, who was four shots back after 36 holes.
Samuels won senior division titles in 2005 and 2007 but since then has been a runner-up 16 times.
Daniels attacked the course from the start and was so focused he didn’t want to know how he stood against the field until the round was over. Normally, he likes to know his position, but not this time, he said.
“For some reason, I felt I needed to go out and birdie every hole because these guys are so good and shot such good numbers,” Daniels said. “I didn’t want to go out there and go par, par, par.”
It was the first Regions Bank Amateur Series senior victory for Daniels, but it was one of multiple victories he’s had on courses designed by Donald Ross, one of his favorite architect.
“I grew up on a Donald Ross course and I must have won on five or six Donald Ross courses,” Daniels said. “I love Donald Ross courses. This (Forest Hills) is my kind of course. It just goes to show you his type of design apparently fits my eye.
“On a Donald Ross course, it’s not about power,” he said. “It’s about positioning your ball off the tee to have the right angle to wherever that pin is.”