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Former Troup Tiger Welborn’s game rounds into shape

His game wasn’t in a great place. After completing his college eligibility in the spring of 2013, former Troup Tiger Taylor Welborn took some time off from golf to focus on other things, including the completion of his college degree. Welborn is fully committed to the game now, though, and he’s playing well as he heads to St. Simons Island for the Georgia State Amateur Championship that gets under way on Thursday. The tournament will be played at the Sea Island Golf Club, which hosts a PGA tournament each fall. Welborn has had a busy and productive summer that included a first-place finish in a qualifying tournament in Valdosta that secured his invitation to the State Amateur. “I’ve been working hard, just trying to focus on what I need to do,” Welborn said on Monday after wrapping up a practice session at The Fields Golf Club. This will be Welborn’s second appearance in the state’s premier amateur tournament. In 2011, when Welborn was still playing college golf, he shot a final-round 69 to finish 32nd in the tournament held at the Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta. He was hoping to play in the tournament again this year, but to do that he had to make it through the qualifying process. There were a handful of qualifying tournaments held across the state, and Welborn played in the one in Valdosta. Welborn needed to finish among the top eight to qualify, and he did that and more. He was the only the play to finish under par, and he won the event by two strokes after shooting a 1-under 71. “I was really surprised when I came in that I was the only one under par,” Welborn said. “That was kind of shocking.” While he wasn’t sure if his score would be low enough to win, he knew it would earn him a spot in the State Amateur. “I knew it would be good enough to qualify,” Welborn said. “I knew we were playing for eight spots, and there were only about 40 guys. I knew my score was good enough to get in.” When Welborn saw that he had won, it was validation that the hard work he’d been putting in was paying off. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been there, so it was a good feeling,” he said. This will be Welborn’s second major tournament of the summer. In June, he qualified for the Southeastern Amateur in Columbus, and he had scores of 77, 72 and 74, and he didn’t make the cut for the final round. “I made a few mistakes in the tournament, but it was good to get into a tournament where I got to play more than one round,” he said. Welborn has never played on the Sea Island Golf Club course before, but he is familiar with it. “This will be my first time around,” Welborn said. “I’ve been out there to watch the PGA Tour event out there, but I’ve never actually played it.” Welborn and all of the other participants will get a chance to get to know the course today. “It’s a lot to take in in one day,” Welborn said. “Basically what I’ll do is I’ll take my time. I’ll work on getting my sight lines off the tee, where I want to aim, where I can miss. I’ll spend a lot of time around the greens. Where’s the best place to chip from? Where’s the best place to putt from?” Welborn added that because “it’s on the coast, it’ll be pretty windy. It’ll be a grind. Par will be a good score. I’m looking forward to getting down there and hopefully be in great shape.” Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports

Contributed photo
Former Troup High golfer Taylor Welborn will play in the Georgia State Amateur Championship on Thursday.

Welborn