kansas-golf-magazine post-scores
Kansas Golf Associaition

KGA Crowns New Champions in June

In the first 13 days of June the KGA conducted three championships that each crowned accomplished players for their first win.  The trophy did not say “runner-up” like the ones at home.

Birdies by Burton

Public Links results -- Photo Gallery

The 36-hole KGA Public Links Championship concluded on Sunday, June 1st at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kansas.  80 contenders, many of whom took advantage of the eligibility Zac Burton - 2014 KGA Public Links championchange made in mid-May that allowed players affiliated with private clubs to enter and play, convened to take on one of the more difficult golf courses in the state.  Fortunately, the ever-present gusty winds prevalent throughout the area leading up to this event did not find their way to the big golf course in the Flint Hills.

2001 Kansas Amateur champion and former K-State golfer Matt Williams must have felt right at home in the first round.  He bolted out of the gate with three birdies in his first four holes.  His only bogey on the day came at the par 3 eighth hole but that was offset by a birdie on the par 5 sixteenth hole.  His three-under par 69 was low for the day.

Reigning KGA Senior Amateur champion Steve Newman of Wichita posted six birdies in route to his three-under par 69 to tie Williams for the overnight lead.

2013 Kansas Amateur champion and KU golfer Chase Hanna was the only player to post an eagle in the event.  His three strokes on the par five sixteenth hole was the difference on the day.  The two-under par 70 could have been much lower but for three bogeys that offset his three birdies.

Newcomer Brian Fehr who resides in Junction City recently moved to Kansas from Nebraska where he was a two-time state four-ball champion.  The mid-amateur made three birdies on his last four holes to get to two-under par 70, only one stroke out of the lead.

Manhattan businessman Zac Burton definitely knows Colbert Hills.  He may have played more rounds there than any other player in the field.  Only one miscue at the fourth hole marred a consistent first round.  His two birdies on the back nine put Burton at one-under par 71 and only two strokes out the lead.

Burton was clearly a man on a mission during Sunday’s second round.  He wanted to avoid the disappointment of a sudden-death play-off loss in the Mid-Amateur played four weeks earlier at Eagle Bend in Lawrence.  So, the strategy to be employed from the next to last group was to play it safe and avoid the mistakes.  Burton’s driver could have been left in the trunk.  He didn’t need the length so he used his three-wood all day.  The approach was perfect.  Not a single bogey in the second round and four birdies gave him the low round for the championship and a total of five-under par 139.  Hanna struggled early with four bogeys on the front nine and could not keep pace with Burton.

Then Burton had to wait on the final group with Williams and Newman, both capable to making enough birdies to bump him from the top of the leaderboard.  What Burton did not know was that both Williams and Newman were struggling with bogeys.  Newman shot four-over par 76 and Williams even higher at 7-over par 79.  That left only Brian Fehr to beat.

Fehr played well, but his one-under par 71 for a total of three-under par 141 was three strokes back of Burton.  His smile may have also hidden a big sigh of relief for Burton who cheerfully accepted his first KGA individual champion’s trophy.


Fabulous Four-Ball for Yates and Hecker

Kansas Four-Ball results -- Photo Gallery

Colby Yates
from Tonganoxie and Jordan Hecker from Russell crossed paths in Kansas junior Jordan Hecker/Colby Yates & Scott Kramer/Michael Hawkengolf.  They became good friends but their collegiate golf took them to Missouri-St. Louis and Washburn.  The Kansas Four-Ball Championship at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence was their chance to renew a friendship and maybe win a championship.

Sixteen teams qualified for the match play bracket after 36 holes of four-ball stroke play.  Chase Hanna and Jackson Foth teamed to claim the #1 seed and appeared to be solid favorites to march through the bracket after posting a 13-under par 131.  Defending champions Seth Bryan and Shane Gilbert positioned themselves at the #15 seed trying to repeat their strategy from last year – get a high seed and start knocking off teams that take them lightly.   Former Kansas Four-Ball champion Park Ulrich partnered with Alex Higgs, younger brother of Harry with whom Ulrich won the title in 2012 when the event was a stroke play championship.  They took the #3 seed.  Jay Berryman and Patrick Newsum, both from Lawrence, secured the #2 seed with an impressive 10-under par 134.

Hanna and Foth easily advanced through the first round with a 5&4 win, but met the upset-minded #8 seed in former Kansas Four-Ball champion Conrad Roberts and his partner Bradley Lane, who recently moved to Kansas to join the KU faculty.   Roberts and Lane took them out Jordan Hecker (L) & Colby Yates (R)with a 2&1 victory.

Bryan and Gilbert assumed their customary role as “seed planters” by winning over the #2 seed, Berryman and Newsum, 3&2.    Then they had to play Yates and Hecker.   The strategy almost worked again, but they lost by a one hole margin.

Yates and Hecker dispatched a strong veteran mid-amateur team in the first round with a convincing 3&2 win over Zac Burton, fresh off his KGA Public Links win, and Pete Krsnich, the 2013 KGA Mid-Amateur Player-of-the-Year.

Ulrich and Higgs never played the 18th hole winning two matches to advance to the semifinals against Yates and Hecker.

That semifinal proved to be the most competitive match of the championship.  Three extra holes were needed before Yates and Hecker would earn their spot in the final match.   Hecker chipped in for birdie at the final hole to stun Ulrich and Higgs.

On the other side of the bracket, Roberts and Lane had another tough test in Austin Gebert and Matthew Gilbaugh, the #4 seed.   However, a 2&1 margin put them into the finals against the hot collegians.

Jordan Hecker began the final 18-hole match with a birdie at the first hole and Bradley Lane responded with pitch-in for eagle at the par five #2 hole to get the match to all square.    Hecker did it again at #3 with an easy two-foot birdie putt to get to 1 up.  The fourth hole was halved with pars.

Yates then got into the driver’s seat.  At the par four #5 hole Yates made an impressive recovery from the trees and then made a 15-foot birdie putt.  He needed the birdie as Lane Michael Hawken (L) & Scott Kramer (R)had hit his approach to within inches for a conceded birdie.

The sixth hole was halved with pars.  Then at the par three #7 hole, Hecker recalled his chip-in magic to win the hole with birdie and put the team 2 up.

Roberts and Lane could only shake their heads in amazement as Colby Yates proceeded to birdie four of the next five holes to put the match margin at 6 holes with only six to play.  The 13th hole was halved with pars and the victory sealed at 6&5.   Yates and Hecker had combined for an unbeatable 9-under par over the 13 holes of the match.

In the Masters Division, eight teams advanced to the match play bracket led by Dick Stuntz and Bob Bezek with the #1 seed.   Past champions Gary Lucas and Mike Grosdidier had the #5 seed.

The four matches of the first round were won by the team with the lower seed, but then seeds #3 and #4 each won with 4&3 margins in the semifinals, setting up a final 18-hole match between TJ Vilkanskas and Tyson Osborn against Scott Kramer and Michael Hawken.

Kramer and Hawken outlasted Vilkanskas and Osborn, each of whom had past KGA championships on their resume.  The 1 up margin gave them their first KGA title.

Stevens Legacy Notches Third Junior Title

Boys Junior Amateur results -- Photo Gallery

It’s in the genes.   Sam Stevens can thank his dad and grandfather for not only the athletic Sam Stevens - 2014 Junior Amateur championskills but also the passion for golf.   The Wichita Kapaun graduate and Oklahoma State freshman-to-be is taking his place at the Stevens table of golf.   Grandfather Johnny Stevens, a member of the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame, won the Kansas Junior in 1960 (the same year he won his Kansas Amateur title).  Father Charlie Stevens won his Kansas Junior in 1986 (but did not win his Kansas Amateur title until 2010).  Now Sam Stevens has his Kansas Junior title.

The 54-hole stroke play championship at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence was challenged early by so many inches of rain that the practice round and the scheduled first round were washed out.  Tournament officials saw the forecast and the course conditions and concluded that a 36-hole event might be finished but an 18-hole cut would be needed.   Fortunately the rains left and the course superintendent’s crews performed in an outstanding fashion to give the 170 player field a chance to compete.

Stevens wasted no time by posting a first round 8-under par 64, a record first round score for this event.   Only one bogey marred what was close to a perfect round containing nine birdies.  That bogey which came on the #10 hole must have upset Stevens; he birdied the next four holes.  Despite the low score, it was only a two stroke lead over Matthew Gilbaugh of Wichita.  Andrew Beckler of Topeka was also lurking at 5-under par 67.

In the second and final round Stevens cruised with three birdies on the front nine and then sealed his win with all pars on the back nine, putting him at 11-under par 133.  Stevens might have secured a tournament record low score if the event had not been shortened to 36 holes.   Beckler shot a second round one-under par 71 to take runner-up honors five strokes back.

Eleven Kansas junior golfers, including Stevens, posted 36-hole scores under par on the par 72 Eagle Bend Golf Course.