HOOVER, AL (Sept. 26, 2023) The 19th Men’s Southeastern Challenge Match will take place at Banyan Golf Club, in West Palm Beach, FL, on Oct. 21-22, 2023. The event highlights 12-man teams representing Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Each team consists of seven mid-amateurs (age 25+), one amateur (age 21+) and four senior amateurs (age 50+) selected by their state golf association.
Meet the 2023 Alabama Team
Daniel Burns (Owens Cross Roads) was a Semifinalist at the Alabama State Four-Ball Championship, advanced to the Quarterfinals at the Alabama State Match Play Championship and finished fifth at the 2022 Alabama State Mid-Amateur Championship. Burns will be making his second consecutive appearance at the Southeastern Challenge. “It is a goal of mine to make this team and represent our state,” said Burns. Burns works for Lamar Advertising as the Assistant GM in North Alabama. He is married to Jennifer Burns; together, they have two beautiful daughters, Annalise, and Everleigh. He enjoys traveling with his family and spending time outdoors hunting and fishing.
Hunter Hawkins (Fort Payne) will be making his second consecutive Southeastern Challenge appearance. Hawkins won the Birmingham National Invitational Tournament last November, finished second at the 2022 Alabama State Mid-Amateur Championship, and advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. “I’m excited to represent Alabama,” said Hawkins. “Hopefully we can bring home the trophy.” He is married with two children.
Blake Watts (Fort Payne) with partner Will McCurdy, won this year’s Alabama State Four-Ball Championship, finished T7 at the Alabama State Amateur Championship, and qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. He has competed in three USGA Championships to date. This will be Watts’ first appearance on Team Alabama. “I had a goal beginning this year to make the Challenge Cup team and I could not be more excited to represent my State!” said Watts. “I really enjoy these types of formats and look forward to the competition.” He has two children, River and Abby, with his wife, Ashley.
Will McCurdy (Auburn), along with Watts, won the Alabama State Four-Ball Championship. He qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. McCurdy was declared co-Champion in the 2021 Alabama State Mid-Amateur Championship. McCurdy will be making his second consecutive appearance at the Southeastern Challenge. McCurdy grew up in Fort Payne, AL, and is joining two of his Fort Payne High School golf teammates on this year’s Team Alabama (Watts and Hawkins). “I couldn’t be more honored and excited to represent my home state in a team event. Go Team Alabama!” said McCurdy. He played collegiate golf at Auburn University and lives in Auburn now with his wife, Lana, and their 2-year-old daughter, Cooper.
Conner Elder (Mobile) finished T3 in last year’s Alabama State Mid-Amateur Championship and reached the Round of 16 in the Alabama State Four-Ball Championship this year. This will be Elder’s first Southeastern Challenge appearance. “Team golf is always the best and we don’t get that chance very often in our sport,” said Elder. “On top of that, getting to represent the state of Alabama and the AGA makes it even more special.” He works for his family company, Fiber Transport, and has been married to his wife, Brucie, for two years.
Alex Balog (Elmore) was a Quarterfinalist in both the Alabama State Match Play Championship and Alabama State Four-Ball Championship this year. This will be Balog’s first Southeastern Challenge appearance. “It’s a great honor to earn a spot on this team representing the AGA,” said Balog. “We have 12 great competitors on our team and I am looking forward to going to battle with them!” He previously played collegiate golf at Ferris State University and Huntingdon College. Balog currently works as a sales executive at Assured Partners.
Hunter Hamrick (Pike Road) returned to the amateur ranks earlier this year and qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship; he lost in a playoff to make the match play portion of the Championship. He won the Alabama State Amateur Championship in both 2009 and 2010. This will be Hamrick’s first Southeastern Challenge appearance. “I have always enjoyed competing in events at the State level, from the Alabama State Junior to the Alabama State Amateur,” said Hamrick. “It means a lot to be selected to represent Alabama in the Southeastern Challenge.” After playing collegiate golf at the University of Alabama, Hamrick played professionally for nine years, in addition to coaching the men’s golf team at the University of Alabama. He now works in insurance.
Blair Hamm (Helena) is fresh off reaching the Round of 64 at the US Mid-Amateur. He also tied for 22nd at this year’s Alabama State Amateur Championship. This will be Hamm’s first Southeastern Challenge appearance. “It was a goal of mine to make this team entering this golf season and I am honored and excited to be able to represent the AGA,” said Hamm. “Let's bring home some hardware!” Hamm is a Birmingham native, working professionally as a Project Manager for Rives Construction Company, Inc. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Rachel, and two-year-old daughter, Evelyn, as well as hunting.
Shaw Pritchett (Montgomery) is a five-time AGA State Champion, including this year’s Alabama State Senior Amateur Championship and Alabama State Senior Match Play Championship. He was the 2022 Alabama Senior Player of the Year and will be making his third Southeastern Challenge team appearance. “This event is a great opportunity to compete against the best players in the Southeast and the United States,” said Pritchett. “It's always a goal of mine to qualify in the years the event is played.” Pritchett is a financial advisor and CPA at Jackson Thornton & Company in Montgomery, Alabama.
Chris Hummel (Birmingham) lost to Pritchett in this year’s Finals of the Alabama State Senior Match Play and finished T14 at the Alabama State Senior Amateur Championship. This will be the first time Hummel has represented Alabama. “I'm very humbled, honored and excited to be part of this competition,” said Hummel. “I've heard about this competition from former players over the years and always wanted to participate. I look forward to helping team Alabama bring home the ‘W’!” Hummel played collegiate baseball at Troy University. After graduation, Hummel continued to be a competitive athlete in golf.
Steve Hudson (Birmingham) is a six-time AGA State Champion and will be making his fifth Southeastern Challenge appearance. Hudson made it to the Round of 64 in this year’s U.S. Senior Amateur Championship and to the Round of 16 at the Alabama State Senior Match Play Championship. “It is such an honor to represent the state of Alabama in such a distinguished event that so many great players have participated in over the years!” said Hudson. “We even end up with Alabama fans and Auburn fans teaming up together to compete against the other states! Roll Eagle Roll!” Hudson grew up in Jasper and played for the University of Alabama men’s golf team. He has been living in Birmingham, AL for 30 years and is the CEO of Hudson & Windle Private Wealth.
David Hancock (Greenville) holds three AGA State Championship titles. He finished T3 at this year’s Alabama State Senior Amateur Championship and T2 at the Southeast Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship. This will be Hancock’s second Southeastern Challenge.
Southeastern Challenge Match Format consists of four-ball, foursomes (alternate shot), and three-ball matches (A vs B, B vs C, C vs A). Each match is worth one point with a half-point awarded for halved matches.
The AGA selects a twelve player team to represent Alabama in this biannual competition against Florida and Georgia consisting of seven (7) Mid-Amateurs (25 and older), four (4) Senior Amateurs (two (2) players 50 and older; two (2) players 55 and older), and one (1) player 21 years and older. An individual must have competed in an AGA Championship within the last two years as of September 1, 2023 to be eligible.
The team selections include:
● (1) Current State Senior Amateur Champion
● (1) Senior player with the highest point totals from the Alabama Senior Men’s Amateur Rankings as of September 1, 2023
● (2) Senior Amateur player selected by the AGA Championship Committee
● (4) Mid-Amateur players with the highest point totals from the Alabama Men’s Amateur Rankings as of September 1, 2023
● (3) Mid-Amateur players selected by the AGA Championship Committee
● (1) Amateur player 21 and older selected by the AGA Championship Committee Any designated selections which are not filled due to ineligibility or other reason will be selected by the AGA Championships Committee.
The Men’s Southeastern Challenge Match debuted in 1989 as an event intended to promote goodwill and competition between the best amateur players, playing as a team, from Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The event is played biannually with men competing in odd-numbered years and women in even-numbered years.
● Past Winners: Florida has won nine matches, Georgia with eight victories and Alabama with one win. Alabama’s sole victory came in 1991 at The Country Club of Birmingham.
● Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, FL hosted the first Challenge Match in 1989 where Florida defeated Georgia and Alabama with total scores of 32, 21 and 18.5, respectively.
● The 2021 match was played at Willow Point Golf & Country Club, in Alexander City, AL with Florida earning 27.5 total points over Georgia’s 20 and Alabama’s 15.5.
For complete Southeastern Challenge Match history, please click here. For more information regarding Southeastern Challenge Match team selection criteria, please click here.
About the Alabama Golf Association (AGA)
The Alabama Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1915 whose mission is to serve and promote amateur golf in Alabama. AGA membership consists of over 120 member clubs represented by over 28,000 individuals. The activities and services of the Alabama Golf Association are governed by a Board of Directors consisting of Alabama golfers who wish to serve the game and the association through service.
AGA is the USGA's liaison for golf in Alabama conducting national championship qualifying, administering the USGA Handicap system including the GHIN Handicap service, course & slope rating and education. The AGA annually conducts 23 championships and team match competitions for men, women, juniors, and seniors. The AGA also conducts Alabama high school golf championships and assists with many collegiate events including the SEC Men's Golf Championship. In addition to competitions, the AGA administers the AGA College Scholarship Fund that is dedicated to assisting young golfers in higher education and supports the Alabama Turfgrass Research Foundation.
Since 1980, the AGA has managed the affairs of the Southern Golf Association which includes conducting the Southern Amateur Championship and Southern Junior Championship, in conjunction with the Board of Directors of the Southern Golf Association.
For more information about the Alabama Golf Association, visit www.alabamagolf.org.
Director of Media, Marketing & Communications
Alabama Golf Association