JOHNS CREEK — Georgia Tech’s Luke Schniederjans needed an extra hole, but his short birdie putt on the first sudden-death playoff hole at No. 18 was a winner at 99th Georgia Amateur Championship on Sunday at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Schniederjans, of Alpharetta, entered the day three strokes back of the leaders, Johns Creek’s Deven Patel and Suwanee’s Brett Barron, who will be a fifth-year senior at Georgia Southern in 2020-21.
Following an even-par front nine, Schniederjans was one stroke behind Patel. Schniederjans went on to birdie the par-3 12th hole on the Highlands Course to move into a tie for the lead.
He grabbed the lead shortly after and made six straight pars following his birdie on the 12th hole to close out his round at even-par 71 and put a stamp on an even-par 213 total (72-70-71) for the scheduled 54-hole championship.
But there was still a little drama remaining.
Barron (70-69-74), playing one group behind Schniederjans, needed a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to force a playoff. The 2018 Georgia Amateur champion took care of business and drained his 10-foot birdie attempt to send the duo back to the 18th for the playoff.
Schniederjans found the fairway off the tee, while Barron was in a bunker and was forced to layup. Schniederjans took advantage of the opportunity and hit the par-5 in two strokes, leaving himself a long eagle attempt of about 40 feet. His eagle came up just short, but Barron was unable to sink his birdie attempt of about 12 feet, allowing Schniederjans to finish off his birdie putt from within 2 feet, and claim victory.
Barron, Maxwell Ford of Peachtree Corners (72-71-72), Austin Mancilla of Sugar Hill (69-75-72) and Nicolas Cassidy of Alpharetta (72-71-74) rounded out the top five. Patel (68-71-79) tied for sixth. The top 25 players earn an exemption into the 100th Georgia Amateur Championship in 2020 at Cherokee Town & Country Club in Atlanta.
Savannah’s Reed Lotter, who played last season for Savannah Country Day, tied for 26th, one shot out of the top 25, at 10-over-par 223 (70-81-72). Savannah’s Harrison Stafford, who played at South Effingham High School and was an NAIA All-American in 2018 at the College of Coastal Georgia, tied for 45th at 15 over (73-79-76).
Schniederjans became the first Georgia Tech player to win the state amateur title since Bunky Henry put his name on the trophy in 1964, and is the 10th Yellow Jacket to win the title. The list of Jackets to win the championship: Watts Gunn, Charlie Yates, Perry Adair, Tommy Barnes, Dan Yates Jr., Billy “Dynamite” Goodloe, Charlie Harrison, as well as Henry and golf legend Bobby Jones, winner of the first Georgia Amateur in 1916.
It also was the third victory for a Yellow Jacket in amateur competition in the last eight days, following Tyler Strafaci’s triumphs at the North & South Amateur on July 4 and the Palmetto Amateur on Saturday.
Schniederjans, who graduated from Tech in May, holds the No. 82 position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and No. 83 in the Scratch Players Amateur Ranking.
Collegiatetely, he has made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team three times (team was not chosen in 2020) and was named a third-team All-American in 2019 by both the Golf Coaches Association of America and Golfweek magazine. A three-time tournament champion in his collegiate career, Schniederjans finished last spring ranked No. 62 among college players in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index and No. 102 in Golfstat.
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