PINE MOUNTAIN — Former Lee County and Georgia Southwestern star Nate Gahman handed the Peach State Golf Tour a check for $800 this week to play in his first professional golf tournament.
Turns out, it was worth every penny.
Gahman, who finished his senior season at GSW this past spring, won his entry fee back by finishing tied for fifth in his pro debut at the Callaway Gardens Classic in Pine Mountain.
In a field of 30 players, Gahman finished 7-under and six shots behind the winner with rounds of 69, 71 and 69 on the par-72 course.
He also finished the tournament with 18 birdies and an eagle to counter 11 bogeys and a double-bogey on the opening hole of his second round.
“I made a few careless mistakes and a few bad swings, but I putted well the whole tournament,” Gahman said. “My birdie and eagle production was great. I probably had more birdies than the guy who won.”
Gahman will continue his brand-new professional golf career Sept. 20-22 in Panama City, Fla., where he will play in an Emerald Coast Golf Tour event Bay Point Resort Golf Club.
JOINER SURVIVES PLAYOFF: Albany’s Tyler Joiner drained a downhill birdie putt in a sudden-death playoff Thursday to edge Kevin Conners of Pennsylvania for the JoS. A. Bank/David Leadbetter Championship in Ellicott City, Md.
Joiner and Conners entered the playoff tied at 3-under after 54 holes in the American Junior Golf Association tournament, but Joiner, who is home-schooled, birdied No. 18, the first playoff hole, for his first AJGA victory.
“I’m a little shocked,” said Joiner, who shot a final-round even-par 71. “I’m sure it will hit me in a few days.”
Joiner, an AJGA ACE Grant beneficiary, said the opportunity to play in AJGA events and have this success is because of the support he has received from the program.
“It means a lot,” Joiner said of his win. “Winning gives me recognition for college and (playing in AJGA tournaments) also gives me good competition going into college and maybe even the professional level.”
Joiner, who recently represented Georgia in the 38th annual Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match, emerged out of a field of 107 boys aged 12-18 from 19 states and seven countries to win the prestigious tournament.