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Golfing Gwinnett: Wise twilight

Nick Kirkland didn't pick up a golf club until he was in his 20s.

Since then, the 65-year-old who has lived in Snellville since 1972, hasn't really put one down.

Through his service in the Air Force during Vietnam up through today where he plays out of Summit Chase, Kirkland plays as often as he can.

And it is no leisurely, retirement golf.

"Most of the time I play in individual, scratch tournaments," Kirkland said.

He plays plenty of Georgia State Golf Association senior tournaments. Two bad holes hurt him in the Georgia Senior Open.

"I enjoy playing with the seniors now," Kirkland said. "I didn't get to play in college. My golf has gotten better as I've gotten older."

It certainly has.

Kirkland played in this year's Legendary Senior Amateur Classic and put together rounds of 72-71-69 to win the Super Senior division for players over 65.

"Those are the three best rounds of golf I have ever put together," Kirkland said.

But those great rounds were only good enough for a tie and Kirkland won the tournament with a par on the second playoff hole after watching his competitor hit in the bunker.

"I could have folded like a cheap suit," he said, noting that he lipped out a birdie putt on 18 to win.

But Kirkland didn't fold. He learned from his mistakes and the mistakes of others, hitting a club higher to clear the bunker on the playoff hole.

He didn't try to prove how hard he could hit the ball. Or how far. He learned, adapted and made the best shot.

It's wisdom that often comes too late. When it can't be used to win tournaments, just something to shake your head at when you watch others make your old mistakes.

Kirkland agrees.

"I have better course management now," he said. "(When I was younger) I probably didn't use my brain as good as I could have."

But that was then. And lucky for Kirkland his wisdom didn't come too late to use it.

Marschke wins in Stockbridge

Kayley Marschke shot a nine-hole 47 to win the girls open 7-18 division at Eagle's Landing Country Club.

Marschke won the Atlanta Junior Golf event by four strokes.

Also playing well at Eagle's Landing were Ben Spears, who finished second in the boys open 13-and-over division with a 46, Duluth's Walker Oskin (88) finishing third in the boys 12-and-under 18-hole division and Buford's Ashley Frier (91) who finished third in the girls open 7-18 division.

Kemp wins division

With an 18-hole 84, Snellville's Alex Kemp won the boys open 15-18 division at Honey Creek Country Club in Conyers.

Kemp's 84 was four strokes better than the runner-up in the Atlanta Junior Golf event.

Norcross' Jason Mendel took second in the boys 13-14 division with an 85.

Wright ties for 2nd at Georgia Girls Championship

Suwanee's Kendall Wright shot an 11 over through three rounds at Dunwoody Country Club, but came up five shots over Riverdale's Mariah Stackhouse in the Georgia State Golf Association's 29th Girls Championship.

Lilburn's Kimberly Graff shot 24 over to finished tied for 10th. Suwanee's Sloan Shanahan (25 over), Buford's Abby Johnson (30 over) and Lawrenceville's Lauren Court (55 over) also played in the annual event.

Duluth's Greene finishes in top 10

Benjamin Greene, of Duluth, shot a 2-over 218 to finish tied for ninth at the Georgia State Golf Association's 43rd Junior Championship.

Greene put together rounds of 76 71 and 71 to top all Gwinnett finishers. Behind Greene in the 72-player field were Norcross' Justin Cho (T14), Duluth's Chandler Mchemehl (T19), Lawrenceville's Jack Walsh (T24), Buford's Shawn Yim (T24), Lawrenceville's Zach Estep (T36), Duluth's Mookie DeMoss (T39) and Norcross' Eric Quinn (T47).

Suwanee's Godwin second at Mossy Creek

Connor Godwin of Suwanee shot a nine-hole 46 to finish second in the Atlanta Junior Golf event at Mossy Creek.

Godwin finished four shots back of Atlanta's Anh Tran-Le in the boys open 13-and-over division.

In the boys open 15-18 division Norcross' Jonathan Lynn finished second with an 18-hole 78. He lost to Alpharetta's Clay Clifton by one shot.

Hall's 78 wins in Rutledge

Lilburn's John Hall shot an 18-hole 78 to win the boys 15-18 division of the Atlanta Junior Golf event at The Creek at Hard Labor.

Hall won by three strokes over Atlanta's Patrick Ryan. Also winning in Rutledge was Loganville's Jeb Britt with an 87 in the boys 13-14 division.

Tyler Browning of Loganville, Rohan Mahadevia of Lilburn and Austin Mancilla of Lawrenceville each finished second in their divisions. Lawrenceville's Garrett Hutchins finished third on the boys 13-and-over.

Justus, Sexton battle it out

Through nine holes Grayson's Andrew Justus edged Snellville's John Sexton to win the boys club 13-and-over division at Creekside Country Club in Athens.

Justus's 49 was seven strokes better than Sexton in what was a head-to-head match.

Suwanee's Conner Godwin finished second in the boys open 13-and-over.