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Womack swings for the green at U.S. Amateur Championship
McDonough golf star heads to Pinehurst in quest of second overall USGA championship

(Editor's Note: This is the second of two stories on local golfers in this year's U.S. Amateur Championship in Pinehurst, N.C. An article on Will Wilcox of Clayton State University ran last Thursday.)

By Rory Sharrock

rsharrock@news-daily.com

Regardless of the event, whether its Tiger Woods in the U.S. Open or Riverdale native Mariah Stackhouse competing in the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, the United States Golf Association (USGA) is sure to bring out the brightest and the best players in the nation.

Beginning on Monday, McDonough resident Dave Womack looks to continue in this rich tradition of stars playing in USGA competitions when he joins the field at the U.S. Amateur Championship on Course No. 4 at historic Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

"I'm excited about it. I've been working really hard on my game. The U.S. Amateur is such a tough Championship. I'm just going up there and I hope to play well," said Womack. "I've never played Pinehurst. I've watched the U.S. Opens that were there in the past and when Payne Stewart won (1999). Everybody says it's an awesome facility. I'm looking forward to it. Just to be in the Championship is a bonus."

Womack is one of two players with ties to the Southern Crescent in the Championship, including All-American golfer Will Wilcox of Clayton State University.

"I feel very fortunate to be able to go and accomplish the things I have in the game. The Southern Crescent has a lot of good golfers and it's going to keep growing. I'm excited that I'm representing McDonough. Hopefully, down the road they'll be others," said Womack.

Although Monday's opening round will be his first visit to Pinehurst, Womack is no stranger to heavyweight golfing events.

This local insurance agent, who played collegiate golf at Georgia State University, has earned multiple top-10 finishes throughout his career, including winning the 2003 and 2005 Georgia State Golf Association Public Links Championships. He's also claimed victory at the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

In the weeks leading up to the U.S. Amateur Championship, Womack maintained his routine schedule, which includes countless hours on the driving range and practicing his putts. All of this sandwiched between going to work and taking care of his family.

"I didn't try to change much. If you don't keep to your same routine, you can throw other aspects of your game off. I've just been treating it as a huge tournament. I've just prepared the way I would prepare for the state amateur here in Georgia," said Womack.

Last month while participating in the 87th annual Georgia Amateur Championship at Idle Hour Club in Macon, Womack finished with a four-day score of 280, which tied him for sixth in the standings.

This was his highest finish in the state amateur since 2001 when he placed tied for fifth.

The U.S. Amateur Championship will presents him with a grueling challenge with its crowned greens and strategically placed bunkers.

Womack and the rest of the field will compete stroke play on Monday and Tuesday.

From there the field of 315 golfers will be reduced to the lowest 64 scorers, who will advance to match play. All matches are 18 holes except the final match. The 36-hole championship final match is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 24.

The No. 2 course at Pinehurst, which was designed by Donald Ross in 1907, will play at 7,281 yards and par 35-35-70. Pinehurst's No. 4 course at Pinehurst, which will be used for the first two days of stroke play only, will play at 7,030 yards and par 35-35-70.

"They test you in every way, especially mentally. Physically too. When I was at Flagstaff and I won in 2006 (U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship), it was a grind," he said.

"That's what's so great about these tournaments. I think everybody who plays amateur golf strives to get in a national event. It's the mecca. If you can win a national event, you've basically been tested in every way possible."

Womack hopes to reach the round of match play for the first time in his storied career. During Monday's round, he's paired with Lion Kim of Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and Adam Mitchell of Chattanooga, Tenn. with a tee time scheduled for 1:45 p.m.

Upon his return from Pinehurst, Womack will be back on the range in preparation for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, which is slated for Sept. 6-11 at Milwaukee Country Club in River Hills, Wis.