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Kansas Golf Associaition

Sam Stevens Leads a Summer Parade of KGA Champions


Seemingly one right after another, the KGA staged a series of exciting championships in June and July resulting in the crowning of new and repeat champions.  Sam Stevens of Wichita, an Oklahoma State golfer, now has the champion’s trophy to set between his previous two consecutive runner-up finishes in the Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship. Jack Courington, also from Wichita, won his second career Kansas Amateur Stroke Play Championship.  His “Railer” win was wire-to-wire over three days.  Here is how the parade passed:


Kansas Four-Ball Goes to Hanna and Winslow with Hutchens and Rack leading Masters Division

Results -- Photo Gallery

KU golfer and 2013 Kansas Amateur champion Chase Hanna rang up old junior golf rival Joseph Winslow for a partner in the Kansas Four-Ball at Alvamar GC played in early June.  Winslow accepted the invite as he had not yet started his professional golf career.  It was a good combination as the duo secured the #3 seed after 36 holes of stroke play and then marched through four matches to claim the championship.  Read the full account and view the photo gallery by clicking here.

Long-time four-ball partners Chris Hutchens and Michael Rack, both of Lawrence, cruised through the Masters Division to claim their second such title.


Lukas McCalla Wins the Kansas Junior Amateur

Results -- Photo Gallery

Topekan Lukas McCalla put his name on the Kansas Junior Amateur trophy after three rounds of solid play at the short, put very difficult Wellington Golf Course in mid-June.  Consistent play over a field of 134 other Kansas junior boys was the key for the nephew of PGA Tour and Champions Tour player Kirk Triplett.  McCalla doesn’t wear a bucket hat and to read the full story, click here.


Newman and Chamberlin Bag their first Senior Four-Ball Title; Kaup and Vidricksen are Top Super Seniors

Results

The KGA’s 27th Senior Four-Ball Championship was hosted at Manhattan Country Club.  On one of those typical breezy Kansas summer days, teams Don Kuehn/Ed Walsworth and Ward Zerger/Kurt Lorenzen both shot three-under par 67 to secure the first round lead. One stroke behind were the defending champions RJ Opliger and Tim Tyner.  Partners Bob Vidricksen and Doug Kaup shot a one-under par 69 to take the early lead of the Super Senior division, while being closely tailed by Dave Harris and James Seward who posted an opening round even par 70.

All teams benefited from the more calm conditions of the second and final round, with the overall scoring average dropping considerably from the first round. With the wind quieted the golfers were able to play more aggressively, taking advantage of the undersized course and gunning for lower scores. Teams knew that racking up birdies would be paramount in order to move up the leaderboard. And that’s exactly what team Vidricksen/Kaup did in the Super Senior division. The pair birdied their final hole of the tournament to shoot four-under par 66 for a one stroke margin to narrowly edge out team Harris/Seward who also came in with a final round 66.

The Championship division provided an even more exciting finish. First round co-leader team Zarger/Lorenzen were unable to keep pace and take advantage of the favorable conditions, carding a disappointing final round 69 but still obtaining a respectable outright third place finish.  The other co-leaders from day one, team Kuehn/Walsworth, resurrected their final round with five birdies after two costly bogeys earlier in their day.  It turned out that every bounce back birdie would prove to be imperative after partners Chamberlin/Newman surged past several teams on their climb to the top of the leaderboard, shooting a championship low five-under par 65 on their second day. And it was at the top of the leaderboard where both teams, Chamberlin/Newman and Kuehn/Walsworth, found them tied at six-under par 134 through two rounds.  Since 36 holes were not enough to separate these two teams, the winner had to be determined in a sudden-death playoff.  The playoff began on hole #1.  Both teams countered one another shot for shot, each making a birdie on the first two holes. Then on the third hole Kuehn/Walsworth were unable to match the par made by Chamberlin/Newman. With a come from behind final round and a courageous playoff battle, Tracy Chamberlin and Steve Newman were crowned champions of the Senior Division at the 2015 KGA Senior Four-Ball Championship.


Courington and Chamberlin on the Right Track at The Railer

Results

Although they didn’t arrive by locomotive, more than 140 eager golfers from all over the Midwest made their way to Newton, Kansas in late June to test their skills on the immaculate, railroad surrounded Sand Creek Station Golf Course for the KGA’s 5th Annual Railer Championship, a 54-hole grind.

The first day of competition had a gloomy start when play was suspended due to heavy early morning storms. The rain could not diminish one of Golf Digest’s “America’s Best New Courses” as tee times were only delayed forty minutes. Wichita’s Tracy Chamberlin continued his momentum coming off a Senior Four-Ball victory and recorded a tournament low 65 finishing with four consecutive birdies.  That seven- under par round gave him the early Senior division lead, with the only other subpar round coming from Tim McKinnis who posted an opening four-under par 68.  Former Missouri State Bear Jack Courington led the way for the Open division shooting a bogey free six-under par 66.  Other notable scores from Friday’s play came from Tyler Chapman who carded a four-under par 68 and Kade Brown alone in third place with a three-under par 69.

Chamberlin continued his under-par play shooting a second round 70, maintaining the Senior division lead heading into the final round on Sunday. Prowling close behind the leader was Steve Newman who rescued his second round by making a birdie on each of the final six holes and posting a four-under par 68.  The low round of the day came from the Open division when Jacob Fair, from Monett, Missouri, shot an impressive five-under par 67.  Fair’s score was good enough to join first round leader Jack Courington at the top of the leaderboard.  Courington posted an even par 72 on Saturday.

Chamberlin’s five stroke lead in the Senior division was in jeopardy when McKinnis battled back with a final round score of two-under par 70.  He birdied his final hole of the competition and narrowly escaped the charge from McKinnis by just one stroke. Chamberlin finished with a spectacular seven-under par209 total for top honors in the Senior division.

The final round of Open division also generated an exhilarating finish.  Second round co-leader Jacob Fair knocked himself out of the race with a disappointing opening nine score of 42.  Eli Armstrong from the University of Central Oklahoma, mimicking McKinnis’ efforts, produced a valiant late Sunday charge.  Starting five strokes from of the lead, Armstrong eagled the 16th hole but he fell just one stroke short. The man he was trying to catch was Courington, who concluded his weekend with a second straight even par round of 72.  The tournament belonged to the twenty-six year old Courington from start to finish thanks to his remarkable opening round of 66 for a total of six-under par 210 and he became the first multiple winner of the Railer having won also in 2012.


Sam Stevens Dominates Kansas Amateur Match Play as Medalist and Champion

Results -- Photo Gallery

Over the last three years Sam Stevens has been a key actor in the Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship.  In both 2013 and 2014, he marched through the match play bracket only to lose in the 36-hole final match.  Chase Hanna won in ’13 on his 18th birthday and Bryan Norton won in ’14 at the age of 55.  But this was Sam’s year.  The Oklahoma State sophomore was on a mission to win a Kansas Amateur.  After all, his grandfather Johnny, his great uncle Jack and his dad Charlie had all accomplished the feat before, so why not Sam?

After posting an impressive 11-under par 131 to secure the medalist honors and the #1 seed in the match play bracket, Stevens continued his daily under-par play of Wichita Country Club through six matches in four days.  In what many observers exclaimed as the most competitive and exciting final match in 20 years, Stevens battled K-State golfer Matt Green to a 1-up win over 36 holes in the final match.

For the complete daily story and description of the final match, along with the photo gallery, click here.


Newcomer Tim McKinnis Runs Away with Kansas Senior Amateur; Stuntz is Super Senior Winner

Results -- Photo Gallery

Tim McKinnis
of Lyons, Kansas made the move from golf professional to reinstated amateur as the clock struck 50, just in time to start playing Kansas competitive senior golf.   He had a close finish at the Konza Prairie in May and again at The Railer in June.  But he was the clear choice for the top spot at the late July staging of the Kansas Senior Amateur at Indian Hills Country Club.

McKinnis started with an opening round of two-under par 68 that put him tied with two other KGA senior title winners.  Kevin Handlan of Leawood, won the Senior Amateur in 2006, and Tracy Chamberlin, still remembering his Senior division win at last month’s Railer event, both posted a 68.  The trio would be joined by senior rookie Chris Hutchens of Lawrence for the final group in the second round.

While the competition struggled with par or at best matched it, McKinnis was sprinting from the start of the second round.  He birdied the first hole which for the field was usually a bogey playing uphill and into the wind.  He added to his lead with another birdie at the par four #4 hole which was playing particularly difficult with a back and left hole location that only long drives and wedges could reach.  Without a single bogey in the round, McKinnis posted his third and final birdie of the round at the par four #15 hole.  By the time the group of first-round leaders had finished there was a five stroke separation between champion McKinnis at 5-under par 135 and runner-up Handlan at even par 140.

Richard Stuntz, career golf course superintendent and turfgrass consultant, won the Super Senior division in equally dominate fashion with rounds of 68 and 72.  His even par total of 140 was six strokes better than runner-up Michael Carey.