The 50-year old Roswell resident has played in some of the biggest amateur tournaments in Georgia since beginning his competitive career at the age of eight.
Mitchell shows no signs of slowing down with a busy summer schedule of tournaments.
He came up just short of earning a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, which was held in Edmond, Okla. July 7 through 13, at a qualifying tournament in Acworth in June – where he shot a 1-under par, 71 to finish fourth and secure the first alternate position behind the top three finishers who qualified.
He then traveled to Macon for the Georgia Amateur July 10 through 13, where he shot a 3-over-par 287 to place tied for 15th.
Disappointed in not finishing in the top three at the U.S. Senior Open qualifier, Mitchell waited as the first alternate to see if a spot would open up in case one of the three qualifiers dropped out before committing to the state amateur tournament.
“It was kind of like kissing your sister,” Mitchell said. “You know that you have to sit by the phone and wait and the call never came. So I had to shift gears to the state amateur, because I had a bag packed ready to go to Oklahoma, because the state amateur was the same week as the U.S. Senior Open. I ended up not getting the call and I competed in the state amateur. At the end of the day – if you don’t play good enough, you have to sit by the phone. So I have no excuses.”
Mitchell was aiming to land a place in another major tournament as he played in a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Amateur Championship — which will be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek Aug. 11 through 17 — in Jacksonville, Fla. Monday and Tuesday. Results were not known at press time.
For the north Fulton resident, making it to the U.S. Amateur on his home turf would be special.
“Obviously, it would be a really big deal for me,” Mitchell said. “The U.S. Amateur is pretty much an amateur, college-boy tournament. So, No. 1, it’s a big deal on a competitive level to be able to compete with those guys who are 25 to 30 years younger than me. It’s even more special when it is in your own back yard. Especially at a venue like the Atlanta Athletic Club, where there’s so much history and so many great events have been played there.”
Golf has always been a big part of Mitchell’s life, to say the least.
The son of golf pro Lawton Mitchel, he grew up playing the game in Ormond Beach, Fla., starting at the age of three and beginning his competitive career in junior tournaments when he was about eight.
“I wouldn’t say that golf defines me, but it’s a very big part of who I am,” Mitchell said. “There’s a fine line between allowing results to affect your moods and dictate who you are. At the end of the day, this is not who I am, but it’s something I do that brings me great joy and my family has been incredibly supportive, so it’s a lot of fun. I love playing golf. It’s the greatest game I know.”
Mitchell has had his share of success in his amateur golf career, winning the Georgia Public Links in 2010 and 2011, finishing runner-up at the Georgia Amateur in 2011 as well as qualifying for a number of USGA events.
For Mitchell, however, earning a spot at the 2012 USGA state team event was the highlight of his career.
“It was a real thrill for me,” Mitchell said. “Anytime you get to represent your state or your country, it says ‘You’ve done something cumulatively. It means you’ve had a good performance.’ It’s not just one thing; it’s a body of work.”