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Kansas Golf Associaition

Troutman Reels in the Win


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Golf is a game of numbers – yards, strokes, clubs, holes or field size.   On paper, if a one Jon Troutman - 2014 Kansas Mid-Amateur championplayer plays 36 holes against 98 other players and makes 15 birdies in route to a total score of nine-under par 135 you would think that is a formula for an easy win.  Not so for Spring Hill’s Jon Troutman at this year’s KGA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship held at Eagle Bend Golf Course the first weekend of May.


Zac Burton, the Manhattan, Kansas construction company owner, is an athlete who works on his game and relishes the competition.  He would prove to be the one player standing in the way of Troutman’s fourth KGA Mid-Am title.

Troutman and Burton had a big advantage over the rest of the mid-amateur field with their strength-producing long drives allowing for shorter and more accurate approaches and making for numerous birdie chances. 

In Saturday’s first round Burton birdied two of the four par five holes.  On the other two holes with five as par, he reached the putting green in two strokes and made putts for an eagle three.  That’s six-under par on just four holes.  Add another birdie on the relatively short par four #5 hole and not a single bogey on the day, Burton posted an early lead at an eye-popping seven-under par 65.


Troutman started his round much later in the morning but the weather remained ideal for scoring with calm conditions.   The #2 hole is only 385 yards with no trees or bunkers to get in the way.  That’s a birdie in the bag for Troutman.  Maybe it was a bogey there that woke him up.  The long-driving Troutman proceeded to birdie the next four holes to get to three-under par thru six holes but then tripped on #8 and #9 with bogies.   He knew the back nine would have to be better or he would never catch Burton.

Troutman made five more birdies on the first seven holes of the inward half adding up to 31 strokes or a six-under par 66 total for the first round.   Nine birdies on the day would give him plenty of confidence heading into the final round on Sunday as he would try to overcome the one-stroke lead held by Burton.  Nine other players posted under-par scores in the first round, but Burton and Troutman had a four or five stroke lead over the nearest contenders.

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For early May conditions the players were vocal in their praise for the Eagle Bend crew.  Fast, firm and smooth putting surfaces contributed to the overall good scoring.  The average first round score was an impressive 5-over par 77. 

Brent Millikan posted a first round two-under par 70 and earned the third spot in the final pairing group on Sunday.  He had the best seat in the house to watch the Burton-Troutman battle.  Burton’s first bogey of the championship came at the par three #3 hole resulting in a dead heat with Troutman.  Over  the remaining 15 holes, the score status of the leaders changed on every hole except for mutual pars at holes #7 and #8, and dual birdies on the par five #9 hole.

Burton made his third eagle of the championship at hole #4, the same par five he had eagled on Saturday, giving him a 2-stroke lead.   Troutman responded with two birdies at holes #5 and #6 to again share the lead. 

To open the stretch run on the back nine, Burton went par-par-birdie while Troutman was struggling with two bogies and a par.  If he was feeling in control with only six holes to play, Burton soon lost that comfort as Troutman stormed back with three birdies at holes  #13, #14 and #15.   To make it really stressful, Burton bogeyed #15 giving Troutman his first lead of the day.

In “round” 16 of the “heavyweight” match, Burton fought back with a birdie on the par five that had statistically proven to be the easiest hole over the two rounds.  Troutman lost his brief lead and the two found themselves on the 17th tee both at 10-under par for the championship.


Burton won “round 17” when Troutman three-putted for bogey.  But then Burton gave Troutman an opening at #18 with only his third bogey of the championship.  But Troutman had to make a 10-footer to save par and tie Burton.  He did.

For the fourth time in the 26 year history of this championship a sudden-death play-off would be needed to determine the champion.   Tied at 9-under par 135, one stroke shy of the 36-hole championship record set by Jon Troutman in his first win in 2006 at Salina Country Club, the two contenders returned to the #1 tee to play as many holes as it would take.

Matching pars at #1 and #2 brought the bout to the #3 tee, the par three that had given Burton his first bogey of the championship earlier in the day.  Troutman’s tee shot safely found the middle of the putting green not wanting to go for the back left hole location.  Burton might have had a more aggressive approach, but his high shot had more draw than needed and he missed the green to the left.  He was able to pitch to within a foot of the hole and save his par.

From what appeared to be 25 feet, Troutman calmly and confidently rolled his putt into the dead center of the hole.  The play-off was over and for the fourth time in nine years, Jon Troutman was given the KGA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship trophy.

In total, seven players posted 36-hole scores under par.  Third place went to Wichita’s Jack Courington who finished at 4-under par 140.