Savannah’s Doug Hanzel captured the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, played at the Wade Hampton Club in Cashiers, N.C.
Hanzel needed to play two matches the final day, as the semifinals were postponed due to rain. After defeating qualifying medalist Chip Lutz 3&2 in the semifinals, Hanzel won the championship match 3&2 over Pat O’Donnell of Oregon. Hanzel closed out the match with a par save from the trees on the 15th and a 25-footer for birdie on the 16th to secure his title.
The victory continued Hanzel’s successful stretch in USGA Championships. In 2012 Hanzel became the first player ever to win matches in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur in the same year.
Hanzel reached the second round of the U.S. Amateur before losing to eventual champion Steven Fox, and reached the semifinals of the Senior Amateur, defeating O’Donnell in the quarterfinals. Hanzel has also been the low amateur in the U.S. Senior Open each of the last two years.
Seeded 12th following stroke play qualifying, Hanzel had to go 19 holes in his opening match after taking a bogey on the 18th with a 1-up lead. But Hanzel made birdie on the first extra hole, a par 5, and never had to go to the 18th hole again in the championship.
Hanzel won his next two matches by scores of 4&3 and 7&5 before scoring a 3&1 victory in the quarterfinals. His win in the quarterfinals came against the player who knocked out Sea Island’s Jack Hall on the 19th hole in the third round.
Hall, who was second in stroke play qualifying, had to go 19 holes to win his opening match before winning 2&1 in the second round. Hall won this year’s GSGA Senior Amateur, with Hanzel, the 2012 GSGA Senior champion, placing second.
In recent years, Hanzel has contended in both the Georgia Amateur and Georgia Open, both times in his home town.
Three other Georgia seniors qualified for match play, along with former Georgia Amateur champion Rick Cloninger, who now lives in Rock Hill, S.C.
Cloninger, Bill Leonard of Dallas and Curt Knorr of Dunwoody all won their first round matches before being eliminated the next day. Atlanta’s Mark Burden qualified for match play, losing in the first round.