As a junior on the Alabama golf team last season, Knox qualified for just two tournaments and didn’t make the traveling team for the NCAA Championships, where the Crimson Tide finished as runners-up.
“This is going to help a lot,” said Knox, who closed with 1-over-par 73 to win by a shot over defending champion David Noll Jr., of Dalton. “I needed a win this summer. It will give me confidence to make the team next year.”
Before Knox struck for 20 birdies in 72 holes at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek course – including four Sunday – his play this summer in major amateur events had been nothing special.
“I’ve made cuts, but haven’t played well,” Knox said. “I couldn’t tell you where I finished. I usually have one bad round that keeps me from having a good tournament. “
He didn’t have that problem at Settindown Creek, posting rounds of 69-70-70-73 to finish at 6-under 282.
He finished at 5-under when he won this tournament in 2010, when it was played in Savannah. He’s just the 16th player in the 91-year history of the event to win it at least twice.
“My ball-striking was very good the first two days,” he said of his play at Settindown Creek. “I scrambled a lot better the last two days. The combination of the two met, and I finally executed my game plan.”
Knox won the tournament because of his play on the front nine, where he was 11-under for the week. He shot 2-under 34 the first day and followed it with nines of 33, 32 and 34.
“I definitely played the front nine better,” he said. “Getting off to a good start helped me a lot.”
It also helped that his father, Jeff, a former Georgia Mid-Amateur champion, followed him the final two rounds after Jeff missed the cut.
“Before the final round, he told me to stay calm and hit greens and fairways,” Lee Knox said.
Of the other area players to make the cut, former Greenbrier golfer Chris Waters shot 72 to finish sixth at 287, Evans’ Austin Vick closed with 72 to tie for 21st place at 295, Augusta’s William Sigg shot 79 to tie for 30th at 297, and Grovetown’s Jamie Felder shot 74 to tie for 40th at 300.