Mariettas Jamie Weeks knows that he can usually get a good 170 yards out of his 7-iron off the tee.
So when he approached the par-3 176-yard eighth hole Thursday at Idle Hour Club, he was not sure exactly what club he wanted to hit. In his practice round a week ago, he hit his 7-iron and finished with a par. But this time, his caddie, Brad Blanton, quickly said easy 6. Blantons call was right on as Weeks ball landed about 2 feet in front of the hole and rolled in for the only hole-in-one of the first round of the Georgia Amateur Championship.
It felt exactly like you would think it would feel when you make a hole-inone, said Weeks, who said it was the eighth hole-in one of his career. Its a very exciting moment on the golf course, and it was even better because the guys I was playing with, especially Ryan (Trocchio); he more excited than I was. It was a great call by Brad.
Weeks ended the day with a 3-over-par 73.
Two Middle Georgia golfers are comfortably in the top five after the first round. Eatonton product and Mercer standout Trey Rule was on fire from the start, shooting a 65, but Kathleens Shawn Hodge surprised even himself a bit by carding a 68, which is tied for second with three other players. Hodge has had limited practice time due to work and helping take care of his wife, Liz, who broke her hip a little more than a month ago, and their two young children.
I started on (No.) 10, and I snap-hooked the ball in the water, and for just a second I was thinking, Oh my, I might I shoot 80, Hodge said with a smile. But when I recovered and bogeyed the hole, I felt a little better. I was able to birdie No. 11, and that settled the nerves a bit, and I was able to put together a pretty decent round.
Hodge struggled with his driver early, also snap-hooking his tee shots on Nos. 13, and 15, but he managed to be at 1 over after his first nine holes.
I didnt miss with the driver on the second nine and came up with some birdies coming in, he said. I just love to compete, and thats why I play, and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do on Friday.
Bonaires Stan Gann Jr. had a 71 on Thursday, six shots behind the leader, while Macons Sandy Burgess and John Walker IV both shot 73.
On the bag
John Mitchell, who played football, basketball and baseball at Stratford last year and will walk on to the Mercer football team, was on the bag for Rule, and Mitchell admits he didnt have much advice for Rule on the golf course.
I carried his bag and spent most of the day being amazed at the way he hits the golf ball, said Mitchell, who met Rule at an FCA event. I had a great time and have never done anything quite like this before.
But Rule, who prefers to walk instead of riding in a cart, said Mitchell was the perfect caddie for him.
We talked a lot during the round but just not really about golf, Rule said. We talked about Mercer and where he would be living and just whatever else came up, and it actually worked out very good for me.
Georgia golf head coach Chris Haack arrived early in the afternoon to watch his five Georgia players in the event.
Its always great to get to Macon and watch some golf, and it gives me a chance to watch the guys play, especially the two guys that are just coming into our program, Jack Larkin and Zach Healy, Haack said. It gives me a bit of a feel for them, and I just want to support them because I havent seen them lately. Its always great to be in Macon, because this is just a great Bulldog town.