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Kansas Golf Associaition

Last Hole Drama Crowns Kansas Junior Champ

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Every serious amateur golfer has done this at least once in their life – you imagine your putt is to Blake Allenwin the US Open!

On the Thursday which was the first day of the US Open at Oakmont, Blake Allen, an 18 year-old from Lenexa, stood on the 18th green at Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg (Kansas, not Pennsylvania!) with a 30-foot birdie putt.  Make it and Allen becomes the champion of the 57th Kansas Junior Amateur Championship.  Miss it and he ends up in a sudden-death playoff with home course 16 year-old Bradley Beykirch.

122 Kansas junior boys between 14 and 18 years-old travelled to the Southeast Kansas venue to showcase their golfing skills over 54 holes in mid-June with the hope to win a KGA championship, or perhaps finish first in their age group.   Defending champion Lucas McCalla from Topeka was one of them.  Also in the field was Grant Herrenbruck, another 16 year-old who won the KGA’s Konza Prairie Amateur at Colbert Hills earlier in the month.  The Konza Prairie runner-up, Cole Gritton of Manhattan, also made the trip.

Eight players managed to shoot par 72 or better in the first round, Bradley Beykirchincluding Herrenbruck with a 2 under-par 70 to take the early lead over three others at one-under par 71.   Allen and Beykirch both were in at even par 72.

Eleven golfers played the second round at par or better.  Gritton’s 2-under par 70 tied him for the lead with Davis Cooper of Overland Park, both at 3-under par 141.  Herrenbruck had a solid round but fell back three strokes after posting a 2-over par 74 to set at even par 144.  Allen got to red numbers with a 1-under par 71, 143 total, just two strokes from the 36-hole lead.  Overland Park’s Jack Lee shot 2-under par 70 to put him at 143 also.   With only the final round left to play, five players were listed at the top of the leaderboard at even par or better.   No doubt the final round would see a great contest for the title.

Parker Beal of Topeka started the final round excitement with the best round of the championship, an amazing 5-under par 67 to take the early clubhouse lead at even par 216.    He Davis Cooperwas soon tied by Herrenbruck when he posted an even par round of 72.

Using his local knowledge and cheered on by family and friends, Beykrich took over the top spot on the scoreboard when he posted a 2-under par 70 giving him a total of 1-under par 215.

So, that brings us back to Blake Allen on his final hole.  He had just made a birdie at the 17th hole to give him a chance for the Parker Bealwin.  He knew that the 36-hole leaders were struggling in the group behind and that a birdie on the final hole would put him in at 2-under par 214, the new leader in the clubhouse.

Allen’s approach to the final green was less than perfect, leaving at 30-foot putt.  But the 2015 KGA Junior Player-of-the-Year knew where he stood and what he needed to do to avoid a playoff.

With crowd of players, spectators and tournament officials looking on, Allen approached the putt calmly, read his line, addressed the ball and sent it on its way with a confident stroke to its intended destination – the bottom of the cup!  Birdie!

Blake Allen’s final round 1-under par 71 and a total of 2-under par 214 found him later posing for photos holding the Kansas Junior Amateur trophy, which looks remarkably similar to the US Open trophy!