Takes title in third attempt
The slogan “We Build Champions’ seems quite appropriate these days at the Canebrake Club in Athens.
In 2021, Nick Dunlap won the U.S. Junior Amateur and went on to play in the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open.
On Friday, the club’s membership celebrated another national champion. Longtime member Stewart Whitt, a former Athens High standout golfer, won the Men’s Open Division at the PGA National Club Championship.
Whitt, who played collegiately at the University of Alabama, bettered the field on a tough trio of courses on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Playing on the Ocean, Cougar Point and Turtle Point courses at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Whitt recorded a two-shot win over Nebraskan John Spellerburg. Whitt began Friday’s final round T-11 and six shots off the lead. He rapidly climbed the leaderboard en route to 4-under-par 68 and a three-day score of 1-over-par 217.
AJ Morris (Aspen Golf Club, Aspen, Colorado) and Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham Country Club, Framingham, Massachusetts) tied for third place at 5-over-par 221.
Whitt, who played in the 2020 championship at Pinehurst and the 2021 edition in Palm Springs, was pleased with his improvement in his third national club championship.
“I played a little bit more consistently this week,” he said. “I was able to make some birdies early today. That kept me going the rest of the round, and I was able to finish it off on 18 with a par.”
Whitt registered five birdies to post the lowest score in his Men’s division on Friday. He was one of just four players to shoot under par and credited his club’s PGA director of golf, Micky Wolfe, for his performance.
“Micky has been a huge part of my journey at Canebrake,” Whitt said. “He’s fantastic. We’ve got a great junior program that he’s involved with and we’re lucky to have him.”
In other results, Keith Holmes secured a three-stroke victory in the Men’s Champion Division over Bob Brooks, while Chad Scott took a one-shot win to win the Senior Men’s Division.
Catherine McEvoy won the Women’s Open Division; Lin Culver captured the Women’s Senior Division; and Joan Gardner finished atop the Women’s Champion Division.
Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News
Featured image courtesy of Stewart Whitt