Usually the first hole of a golf course is David Lott's nemesis, and it's not often that he starts a round with a birdie.
Yet it was on the first hole of The Aiken Golf Club that Lott sealed the title at the 11th annual City of Aiken Amateur Championship on Sunday. Lott's 10-foot putt was good off the face, and he drained it to win a playoff against 2012 champion Brian Quackenbush.
It was Lott's third birdie in three tries on No. 1, but the playoff was just a little different than the previous two attempts.
"Actually, I hit it to about a foot the first two times – so I hadn't really had to putt on the first two days," he said.
A hybrid off the tee left him with around 90 yards to the flag each time. In the playoff it was 94, and his 58-degree wedge landed a bit farther away from the cup than usual – but it was a few feet in front of Quackenbush's, so Lott got a good read from his opponent's birdie try.
"You know it breaks toward the railroad tracks," Lott said with a laugh.
Lott, who lives in Barnwell and plays at Sweetwater Country Club, is perhaps a fitting champion to start the second decade of the City Am – a first-timer, he was only in the record field of 115 total golfers because this year's tournament was expanded to include the rest of the CSRA and state of South Carolina.
He's a rookie in the field but not new to the course – he plays The Aiken Golf Club every couple of months, and his regular group out at Sweetwater keeps his competitive edge plenty sharp.
"If you don't make six birdies out there, you're gonna lose money," he said. "It's a good group we've got in Barnwell, and I'm gonna get them all to play next year. It'll be fun."
The first-round leader after a 68, Lott said he hit the ball well all day Sunday and kept himself off the trouble off the tee. That prevented him from producing any big numbers, and it kept him from falling back to the field. His 36-hole total of 139 was matched only by Quackenbush, who shot a 68 of his own Sunday to give himself a shot at the title.
Defending champion Tom Kennaday (70-71) finished two shots back, followed by five-time champion Patrick Cunning (73-70) and USC Aiken golfer Bjorn Rosengren (69-74).
Pete Marra (74-71) won the first flight, Will Durrett (79-72) won the second flight, and Myles Riley (86-79) took the third flight. South Aiken's Colson McNulty (75-77), playing in the first flight of the Regular division, earned the Junior championship.
Brooke Hutto (69-81) added her third consecutive championship in the Ladies division with a 150 total. Hutto, who now coaches the girls' golf team at South Aiken, finished 18 shots ahead of Mary Shultz (82-86). Terry Schallick had the low net score of 142.
Ron Intermill (80-85) held off a hard-charging Wayne Brock (90-79) to win by four and become the first champion of the Legends division.
J. Scott Petit (74-76) gained some sweet retribution by winning the Super Senior title two years after his triple bogey on 18 caused him to finish in second by a shot. Mike Jackson (79-74) took second, followed by Skip Eynon (75-79) and Bill Dallis (78-80). James H. Morrow (86-75) won the first flight.
Jeff Pope (75-73), a member of the North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame who played for two state championship teams at North Augusta High School, added the Senior division championship to all of his Regions Cup and Peak Amateur Series titles. He finished four shots ahead of James Boughner (75-77). Mike Wiland (76-78) took third, followed by Alan Ryder (77-79). Michael Fendt (83-76) won the first flight.
Marra and Ryder won the Inglis Cup, bringing the team trophy back to Palmetto Golf Club.