Henry Mabbett Jr. birdied three of the final four holes last year to force a sudden-death playoff which he won on the first hole against former Spalding High teammate Davin White to become the tournament’s eighth consecutive first-time winner. The duo — both signed to play NCAA Division I golf at the time (Mabbett at Georgia Southern and White at Georgia State) — set the all-time championship record by blazing a trail around the 6,439-yard, par-72 course built in 1932 by firing matching 67-68—135’s.
With prior commitments to their college teams, however, neither Mabbett or White were available to play in the annual 36-hole, stroke-play event which was temporarily moved from August — it’s usual spot on the calendar — to October this year because the greens were being replanted this summer with Champion Hybrid Bermuda.
High drama has been the order of the day in recent years at the tournament. Sudden death playoffs have determined the last two champions and three of the last four title holders.
The past eight champs include: Mabbett, Corey Dinkins (75-72—147) in 2010, Tinsley (70-74—144) in 2009, Lee Brannon (76-70—146) in 2008, Ken Pullin (67-73—140) in 2007, Rock Hutcheson (69-73—142) in 2006, Adam Rogers (71-73—144) in 2005 and Josh Woods (73-74—147) in 2004.
Other notables in this year’s field include: Jake Harpe, Mark Moody, Tyler Jones, Trey Manley, Brian Forshaw, Will Morgan and Roy Brooks.
The leading returning player’s from last year include Smith (69-71—140), who finished third, and Waller (71-70—141), who finished fourth, while Tinsley (67-76—143) finished fifth. Roundng out the top seven were Brannon (71-76—147) and Forshaw (69-79—148) as well as Brett Parris (72-76—148).
Of the lot, perhaps no one is playing hotter than Waller.
Waller, who was a freshman on the three-time region championship team at Spalding High this spring, won three tournaments in a row on the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour this summer, including the SJGT Championship at the Wynlakes Golf and Country Club in Montgomery, Ala., last month with a blazing 66-74-67—207 in the 14-15 Division.
Prior to that he scored victories in the SJGT Junior Peach Blossom at the Hour Idle Club in Macon in June with a 74-69—143 and the Brunswick Junior Classic at the Bruswick Country Club in July with a 71-71—142. Not a bad season considering he started the summer with a 68-72—140 to place second at the Orchard Hills Junior Classic in May.
Of all the players in the 14-15 Division on the SJGT who played 10 or more rounds, Waller had the lowest stroke average (71.27).
Waller finished runner-up with a 78 in the individual standings to teammate Jake Harpe (74) when the Jags won the region championship for the third consecutive year in April at Heron Bay. Waller went on to finish runner-up (71) in the state Class AAA tournament at the Augusta Country Club in May as teammate Carson Willis (72), then a junior, placed third and the Jags tied the school record for their best score at state (302) to place third which was the team’s best finish ever at state.
GRIFFIN CITY CHAMPIONS LIST
Year |Player |Score
2011 |Henry Mabbett Jr. * |67-68—135
2010 |Corey Dinkins * |75-72—147
2009 |Joey Tinsley |70-74—144
2008 |Lee Brannon * |76-70—146
2007 |Ken Pullin |67-73—140
2006 |Rock Hutcheson |69-73—142
2005 |Adam Rogers |71-73—144
2004 |Josh Woods |73-74—147
2003 |Chris Rivers |69-75—144
2002 |Mike Rivers |72-70—142
2001 |Mickey Carver |70-74—144
2000 |Chris Rivers |71-76—147
1999 ||(no tourney)
1998 |Mike Rivers |71-69—140
1997 |Clarence Mack |72-72—144
1996 ||(no tourney)
1995 |Clarence Mack |74-71—145
1994 |Tim McBride |75-77-79—231
1993 |Mike Rivers |68-74-69—211
1992 |Wayne McBride |76-75-70—221
1991 ||(no tourney)
1990 |Wayne McBride |71-68—139
1989 |Mickey Carver |not available
*— Won in a sudden-death playoff