With some of the most proven names in the state sitting out the Georgia Amateur, this makes the field wide open and more difficult to handicap.
West Lake Country Club should be a demanding test for those in the field. With its narrow, pine-lined fairways, there will be a greater demand on accuracy. Length will be a bonus, but any contender must play it smart for 72 holes. It won’t be easy to go low — the two times that West Lake hosted the Georgia Amateur, the average winning score was 285.5.
Here are five players to watch this week in Augusta:
Steven Fisk, Stockbridge: The junior at Georgia Southern played awfully well two weeks ago at The Dogwood and tied for third. He’s on a definite upward trajectory and this could be his breakthrough win.
Emmanuel Kountakis, Martinez: The sophomore at Augusta University may have the home-course advantage among the college guys. He was consistently good all season and could be ready to take the next step.
David Denham, Athens: If this is the year a mid-amateur player can fend off the college boys, Denham may be the guy to do it. He won the Georgia Amateur in 2004 when he was at the University of Georgia and won the Georgia Mid-Am this spring. He’s playing well and he knows how to manage his game.
John Engler Jr., Augusta: The former Clemson standout won the 2016 Georgia Mid-Am and will have plenty of friends and family from Augusta Country Club on hand to help him.
Lee Knox, Augusta: He has the experience in this championship, having won it in 2010 in Savannah and again in 2012 at Settindown Creek. Knox has proven he can withstand the pressures of the last day and must be considered a factor.