Hanzel wins Georgia Senior Championship

Reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel won the 2014 Georgia Senior Championship.
Reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel won the 2014 Georgia Senior Championship. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Ga, won his second Georgia Senior Championship on Friday afternoon at Doublegate Country Club in Albany, Ga.

Hanzel’s 213 total included rounds of 71-67-75 and gave him a 2-shot victory over the 2013 Georgia Senior champion, Jack Hall of Sea Island, Ga., who posted rounds of 72-72-71 to finish solo second with a 215 total.

This marks the second Georgia Senior Championship for the Georgia Hall of Famer, Hanzel, who also won the title in 2012.

Hall’s runner-up finish came just short of a successful title defense. After making bogey on his first hole of the day, Hall made birdie on six and 15, posting his 1-under-par 71 for the final round.

When you think about guys that are dominant on the local as well as national scene it’s hard not to mention Hanzel. He won the prestigious Jones Cup earlier in the year and is currently ranked in the top 20 in Golfweek’s National Senior Rankings despite playing a very limited competition schedule.

"It's always nice to come out and just compete and be in contention and I hung on today," Hanzel said. "On the fourth hole, I kind of had a muscle spasm in my back and that kind of slowed me down out there. You just have to overcome some fear of the spasm, but I did OK."

The spasms go along with the normal aches and pains of being a senior. Hanzel, who is also a diabetic said his condition was detected around 15 years ago. He has moved from managing his diabetes with pills to an insulin pump. He said the pump has not affected his golf game so far.

Hanzel sticks with a regular exercise regimen that includes stretching and treadmill work.

“The exercise tends to keep your sugars at a normal level,” said Hanzel. “I eat a little more, it’s just a bump in the road. It’s something you have to deal with.”

Hanzel, who is a full time physician and a part time golfer, said now it’s a toss-up between practicing medicine and practicing golf.

Once ranked as the top golfing doctor in the United States, Hanzel has played the game since age 3. He won the Ohio state high school championship before moving on to Kent State where he traded in his Mr. for a Dr., and became a pulmonary specialist.

Since playing in his first U.S. Amateur in 1978, Hanzel has chased his first USGA title for 35 years. After taking the Senior Amateur title in 2013 Hanzel said, “I'm dumbfounded. Not that I didn't think I could, it's just doing it is something else.”

Hanzel will start defense of his U.S. Senior Amateur title on September 13 at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif.

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