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Kansas Golf Associaition

Final 2014 Champions Named in October

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If you like moderate temperatures, sunshine and great turf conditions, October is the best Jack Courington & Spencer Chrisitian, Mid-Am Team championstime to play golf in Kansas.  The group of mid-amateur and senior golfers that convened for the final KGA championships of the year at Wichita’s Crestview Country Club last week got exactly that – great weather on a perfectly conditioned quality golf course.  Once the three rounds, with a different format played each day, were in the books some new faces accepted the champion’s trophy along with some very familiar ones.

The KGA Mid-Am Team and Senior Team Championships were conducted together over 54 holes using Shamble, Modified Chapman Alternate Shot and Four-Ball as the formats in each championship.  While only 40 teams played, the competition was still compelling.

Six Mid-Amateur teams had their way with the Crestview North Course using the Shamble format in the first round.  All but one were Wichita area teams.  Shawn Audrain recruited 2014 High Plains Amateur champion Alex Tiong and the Garden City duo posted a bogey-free score of six-under par 66.   Pete Krsnich and Corey Novascone teamed to post the same score of 66 but with two bogeys on the card.  Crestview locals Scott White and Dan Zimmerman posted a “home court” seven-under par 65, matching the score of Matt Lazzo and Tim Sinclair. All of those team were passed by the two teams that were paired together in the last group.  Aaron Sheaks and Derek Harrison tallied an amazing ten birdies spoiled only by one bogey to return a nine-under par 63.  But hold on – Jack Courington andSteve Newman & Tracy Chamberlin, 2014 Senior Team champions Spencer Christian avoided any bogeys and rolled in eight birdies and an eagle to take the first round lead at 10-under par 62.  Their back nine included six birdies and an eagle made over seven consecutive holes for a total of 28 strokes.

Defending Senior Team champions Steve Newman and Tracy Chamberlin began the championship with a seven-under par 65 giving them a four stroke lead over four other teams.

In the Super Senior division, defending champions Bob Vidricksen and Doug Kaup also posted an impressive seven-under par 65 to take a one stroke lead over three other teams.

The most difficult format of the championship is the Modified Chapman Alternate Shot.  American golfers seldom play golf using any form of “alternate shot” play (witness the USA Rob Gleissner & Lynn Dickey, Super Senior champions performance in the Ryder Cup) and when they do in a competitive event, the bogeys tend to mount up.

Of the six teams in contention on the Mid-Amateur side, three returned even par 72 scores, while three others set themselves up for a win by shooting two-under par 70.  The teams of Sheaks/Harrison and Courington/Christian had 36-hole total of 133 and 132, respectively, making it appear to be just a two-team contest going into the final round.

Newman and Chamberlin merely built a commanding nine stroke lead in the second round by shooting the low score of the day; a five-under par 67.   That 67 was matched by Milburn members Rob Gleissner and Lynn Dickey, for a total of 134 and a slim one stroke lead over Michael Carey and Benn Sledge in the Super Senior competition.  Vidricksen and Kaup faded with a one-over par 73 in the second round.

The final round is played with the traditional four-ball format, so each player deals with his own ball and none of that hitting a ball where your partner put it!

Krsnich and Novascone had a unique round.  Krsnich needed to attend an early morning business meeting and was not able to get to the golf course until his partner Novascone had already played six holes in two-under par.  In the remaining 12 holes, the team charge was made with six more birdies (and a single bogey) putting them on the board with an eight-under par 64 and a total of 202.

Courington/Christian began the final round with only a one stroke lead over Sheaks/Harrison.  That lead was gone on the second hole when Sheaks birdied the short par four.  Both teams made birdie at the par five sixth hole, but then Harrison gave his team the lead with a birdie at #7.  For the next six holes the two teams matched pars.  Sheaks rallied for a birdie at the par five #14 hole to give his team its biggest lead of the day; two strokes with only four holes to play.

Courington and Christian had enjoyed a lead for many of the holes since the start of the championship and they knew they needed to do something special otherwise a runner-up trophy would be their best reward.  Christian responded with his first birdie of the day at the par four #15 hole to get back to within one stroke of the leaders.  Then Courington took his turn with a birdie at the par four #16 hole resulting in a two-way tie for the championship with only two holes to play.

#17 is a difficult par three and both leaders could only manage a par, setting up a dramatic final hole.  The closing par five, #18, typically requires a wedge for the third shot, so a birdie is always possible.  Sheaks/Harrison could only manage a par.  Christian had his chance to claim a title with a downhill 15-footer for birdie.  Leaving his best for last, he sent his ball on the perfect line to the bottom of the hole giving his team its third birdie in the last four holes to secure the one stroke victory (and avoid a sudden-death play-off) with a final round four-under par 68 and a total of 16-under par 200 for the championship.

Earlier in the day, Newman and Chamberlin ran out the string with an easy two-under par 70 and a total of 202 which was a seven stroke margin over Dakin Cramer and Randy Congrats Craig Shultz on his hole in one!Vautravers.

Super Seniors Gleissner and Dickey posted their third straight round of five-under par 67 for a 54-hole total of 15-under par 201.  Dickey, the former K-State and NFL quarterback, made six birdies in route to a cool five-under par 67 on his own ball, giving his team a two stroke margin over the runner up team of Fred Rowland and Ron Brewer.  The legendary twosome had made a tremendous charge in the final round four-ball format.  Despite an opening bogey, the Rowland/Brewer managed to make birdies on the next five holes plus another four birdies before posting the low round of the day at seven-under par 65.

Craig Shultz found his tee shot on the par three #5 hole during the four-ball round in the hole for a crystal-winning ace!

Congratulations to our season-finale champions.  It was a great way to end a memorable and exciting competitive golf season for Kansas golfers!