Stan Gann Jr. was struggling at the start of the second round of the Macon-Middle Georgia Golf Championship.
Gann, who has won the tournament four straight times, double-bogeyed the first hole, and all of a sudden a comfortable three stroke lead was down to one.
But Gann righted things with two birdies on the front nine, getting the lead back to three, and was able to hold on to win his fifth straight Macon-Middle Georgia title, shooting a 1-over-par 73 to defeat Hodge, Coleman Tidwell and Lee Gerdes by three shots.
Gann was quick to give credit to lessons learned in the past.
“I have to give a lot of the credit to my dad, Stan, who taught me the mental toughness to fight through the difficult times in life and on the golf course,” Gann said. “I just tend to be able to get through those tough times out here, and I knew I had to get going pretty fast because I had some very good golfers behind me.
“When I had a three-stroke lead heading to the back nine, I knew I had to stay away from mistakes and remember that it doesn’t matter how many I win by but to just stay focused and keep playing tee to green.”
Hodge, playing in the same group as Gann, put pressure on the leader through the first eight holes, but a bogey on the ninth put a stop to the comeback bid.
“I know how good Stan is, and I thought I would have to shoot a 67 or 68 to have a chance, but after the bogey I knew it was going to be tough,” Hodge said. “My entire weekend was a grind because I never felt comfortable over the ball, but I was still able to stay in the tournament. I am not overly happy with my second round of 72, but Stan is a very good golfer who is tough to beat, especially when he has the lead.”
Tidwell had several chances to cut into the lead, but he missed a 15-foot birdie putt on 16, and then he missed a 10-footer on the 17th for birdie that would have cut the Gann lead to only two heading into the final hole.
“I really thought I had made the one on 17, and I was hoping to get the lead to two heading to No. 18 and at least put a little pressure on Stan, but the greens were very difficult,” Tidwell said. “After that, I knew it was Stan’s tournament again.”
Gerdes rebounded from a first round of 76 to shoot the only sub-par round of the second day with a 71.
Trey Odom had the only hole-in-one of the tournament when he aced the 188-yard 15th hole.