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Darton golf coach is 3rd in state meet

Photo by John Millikan

Photo by John Millikan

ATLANTA -- Newly-named Darton golf coach Bill Jones III shot a first-round 1-under 69 on Thursday to put himself in contention in the 90th annual Georgia Amateur Championship at the Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta.

Jones is tied for third with three other players, just two shots behind defending champion Lee Knox of Augusta, who shot a 3-under-par 67 to take the first-round lead. Ridge Purcell of LaGrange, a recent Armstrong Atlantic State University golfer and graduate, is one stroke back.

Jones is tied with Matt Russell of Dunwoody, Georgia Tech golfer Anders Albertson of Woodstock and Gus Wagoner of Duluth for third. A group of six players are tied for seventh at even-par 70.

Leesburg's Nate Gahman is tied for 35th after shooting a 3-over 73 on the first day.

Knox, who is a rising junior on the golf team at the University of Alabama, made the turn at even par with two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. He then posted three birdies over his last five holes go under 3-under for the day.

"I was hitting it solid," Knox said. "I started making some good putts on the back nine. I had a good one on 18 for birdie and now I'm just looking forward to tomorrow."

Knox, who is the son of two-time Georgia Mid-Amateur champion Jeff Knox (who shot a 75 on Thursday) is looking to become the second-straight golfer to win back-to-back Georgia Amateur titles. Former University of Georgia golfer Russell Henley of Macon won consecutive championships in 2008-2009.

Only eight golfers in the 90-year history of the Championship have won back-to-back titles.