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Kansas Golf Associaition

Norton’s Defend Father-Son Title

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Last year Bryan Norton took his son Johnnie, then a high school senior at Shawnee Mission Johnnie and Bryan Norton - Father-Son ChampionsEast, to Lawrence Country Club where they won the KGA Father/Son Championship in convincing style.  They were playing in the “junior division” and therefore could not accept a gift certificate prize in compliance with high school regulations.  This year it was different.  Johnnie is a high school graduate and no more “junior golf”!

After placing his opening drive well down the first fairway at Wichita’s Tallgrass Country Club, Johnnie Norton stood back to watch his dad play his opening shot with his trusty 2-iron.  What he saw was a 55-year old perhaps still stiff from the three hour morning drive to the golf course.  Bryan’s ball found the clubface in an odd place and it only went about 150 yards never getting very high off the ground.

“Dad, didn’t you just win the Kansas Amateur last weekend?”  Only a son could get away with that question!

Bryan managed to par the hole with his 220-yard approach shot, but it wasn’t needed.  Johnnie birdied the hole.  And soJunior Division Co-Champions (Greg & Ian Trebilcock and Max Stucky-Halley, Steve Halley it went during the opening round of the 2015 KGA Father/Son.  Bryan was there to lend advice and support as Johnnie ran off a string of six birdies and needing his Dad’s help on only three holes.  Their 6-under par first round gave them the early lead by two strokes over T.J. and Tom Vilkanskas of Manhattan.   T.J. made seven birdies on the 11 holes where his score counted for the team.

Past champions Jonathan and David May of Wichita shot a 2-under par 69 to put themselves in position to possibly catch the defending champions.   The home course team of Mark and Jack Courington  posted a 3-under par 68 with dad Mark making two birdies and son Jack making three birdies.   The  Barry and Net Champions Richard & Randy HairgroveKurt Childs teams also set a good early pace at 3-under par 68.

The Norton strategy worked so well in round one that Johnnie the “birdie machine” went to work on another great performance in the second 18 holes.  Bryan  threw in a couple of timely birdies but otherwise had the fun and relaxation of watching Johnnie post five birdies.  With only nine holes remaining, team Norton had a two-stroke lead over the Couringtons.

The last five holes of this championship are where the winner was decided.  The CouringtonsJunior Division Net Champions Alec & Brian Wilbert could only manage even par over the closing stretch, while the Mays had two birdies.  But the Nortons made three birdies, two by Johnnie, and closed the deal with an amazing 7-under par 64 or a total of 13-under par 129.  The Mays took their second runner-up trophy in this championship with their own 7-under par 64 to finish at 133.

The Nortons shot the same score this year as they did at Lawrence Country Club.  The 129 is not a record but they become the first team to win back-to-back titles.   They were last seen shopping in the Tallgrass Country Club golf shop using their champions’ gift certificates!