Young Life director by day, avid golfer by night: Allen Crawford qualifies for biggest non-professional golf tournament in the state

Published 6:28 pm Friday, May 26, 2023

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Allen Crawford is most prominently known in the Troup County community for his work with Young Life, but when he is not working with the youth in the community, you will likely find him on a golf course. On Wednesday, Crawford took his amateur status to new heights as he won the GSGA Amateur Championship Qualifying Tournament held at Green Island Country Club in Columbus with an 18-hole score of four under, one shot better than the nearest golfer.

“I was putting the ball and hitting the ball well all day,” Crawford said. “We played through the rain for about 14 holes, so that made things a little tricky to deal with. I felt really good about my game.”

Crawford’s play was so strong that he was only one of five players out of the field of over 60 golfers to shoot under par. He came into the tournament not hoping to come out on top but just be one of the seven players to qualify and ended up having a five stroke advantage on the three plates selected as alternates. 

It all could have gone sideways early for Crawford. With a bogey on the first hole, his dream of qualifying for the biggest non-professional golf tournament in Georgia could have gone out the window, but Crawford responded emphatically, birdying holes two and three to get right back on track. 

“I bogeyed the first hole, but then I made an 18-foot birdie putt on the second hole and another birdie on three,” Crawford said. 

He birdied the seventh before a bogey on the ninth put him heading to the back nine at one under par. 

He made it all happen in the back nine, going bogey free while putting in three birdies to take the lead into the clubhouse. 

“This was my best 18-hole tournament round ever,” Crawford said. “To do that under these circumstances makes me pretty pleased with my performance.”

It was sweet relief for Crawford, who has tried his hand, not once but twice, at qualifying for the GSGA Amateur Championship in 2018 and 2020 and falling short both times. On Wednesday, unburdened by the weight of past shortcomings, Crawford took the course with a clear mind and a goal in sight. 

In fact, coming out on top of the field was a bit of a shock to Crawford as he plays one or two tournaments a year while many others in the field played tournaments in the week leading up to the qualifier on Wednesday. 

“It can be tough because there are a lot of guys out there who have been playing in tournaments in the last week to prepare,” Crawford said. “That is what I was most worried about, seeing all these guys that had been playing in a bunch of tournaments and I hadn’t played in one since August.”

Now that he is qualified, he is unsure what his goals are for the 102nd Georgia Amateur Championship set to be held at Rivermont Golf Club in Johns Creek on July 13-16. 

“I don’t even know, honestly. I was just trying to get through the day,” Crawford said with a  chuckle. “My plan is to go and enjoy it and play one shot at a time.”

Rivermont will be a new course for Crawford, unlike Green Island, where he had previously played a few rounds before Wednesday’s qualifier. It will present some challenges for Crawford, who will be more than up to the task.
“I’m going to just have to simplify it down and not look at the big picture,” he said. “I just want to go out there and play my best from hole to hole and see where I stand at the end.”