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Kansas Golf Associaition

Roberts and Lane Claim Season’s First KGA Championship with Play-Off Win. Seniors Titles also Awarded.

Results -- Photo Gallery

If you like drama on the golf course, Lawrence Country Club was the place to be the first week of May for the KGA’s season-opening Mid-Am Team Championship.  A three-team sudden-death Conrad Roberts & Bradley Laneplayoff that took three holes to decide was the highlight of the newly formatted championship.  LCC members Conrad Roberts and Bradley Lane took advantage of their local knowledge to navigate the hilly terrain and treacherous putting surfaces to win a mid-amateur team event showcasing some of the state’s best players.

Playing simultaneously were a group of KGA senior teams and super senior teams.  Those championships were won by Charlie Schorgl and Ed Walsworth in the senior event, with Rob Gleissner and Lynn Dickey winning the super senior title for the third consecutive year.

By limiting the total field size to 52 teams, the KGA was able to reformat the championship to 54 holes played over two days.  Each team played a Modified Chapman round in the morning of the first day then cycled back to the starting tee for a second round of Foursome play in the afternoon.  The players were able to play their own golf ball for round three on the second day in the more familiar Four-Ball format.

Former KU golf coach and presumptive KU Law grad Kit Grove teamed with another KU golf alum Jason Seeman to raise eyebrows after posting an eight-under par 62 in the opening Modified Chapman round.  Eight birdies and no bogies gave the duo a six-stroke lead over two teams at two-under par 68.  KGA staffer Tyler Cummins and Will Gantz posted four bogies in their opening good score, while Wichitans Jonathan May and Eddie Sanchez had only one bogey to share second place through the first round.

Defending champions Charlie Stevens and Matt Lazzo posted a one-over par 71.  The Wichita pair struggled with five bogies on the front nine before coming back with a sub-par back nine.   Another set of Wichitans, Pete Krsnich and Tyler Chapman, needed some time getting familiar with the Lawrence CC putting surfaces and avoiding the thick, difficult rough.  They also posted a 71 in the morning round.

Roberts and Lane put themselves in a good position with an opening round one-under par 69.Charlie Schorgl & Ed Walsworth

In the Senior Championship, Schorgl and Walsworth managed a three-over par 73 to stay within two strokes of first round leaders Bob Hartmann and Brad Swanson. Three teams, including repeat champions Gleissner and Dickey, posted 5-over par 75 in the Super Senior Championship to tie the lead in the 8-team field.

Foursome golf might be the most difficult team format to score well.  A few teams improved from their morning round, but most did not.  In fact, round one leaders Grove and Seeman, raised just as many eyebrows with a 14-over par 84 in the afternoon round.   When asked what happened, Seeman replied that “we really didn’t play that much worse, it was just getting into trouble off the tee and not having a partner’s drive to help.”  In foursomes, only one player hits a tee shot and then the ball is played alternately into the hole.  Their 22-stroke reversal turned what was a six-stroke lead into trailing by six.

The 36-hole lead went to Cummins and Gantz who managed to make two birdies and several Rob Gleissner & Lynn Dickeypars to post an impressive two-over par 72 and a total of 140.  Lurking only one shot back were Krsnich and Chapman at 141.  They were starting to really get the feel for Lawrence CC as they came in with an even par 70 second round on the strength of three birdies.

Roberts and Lane stayed in contention with a four-over par 74, a total of 143.  Another Wichita team of Jack Courington and Spencer Christian managed a one-over par 71 in the second round to be five strokes out the lead with only the four-ball round to play.

Schorgl and Walsworth saw their first round lead shrink slightly in the foursome format.  They came in five-over par 75 for a total of 148 and to take a one-stroke lead into the final round over the experienced team of Steve Groom and Mark Addington at 149.  Veteran performer Ron Brewer teamed with Don Marchi and after two rounds they were primed to claim the Super Senior title over Gleissner and Dickey.  Two rounds of five-over par 75 for a total of 150 put them three strokes ahead of the defending champions.

The obvious excitement of the final round might have been the three-team playoff, but one senior player made a single stroke that would be newsworthy in any competition.  Scott Richey, playing with partner Dave Cunningham, took a chance on the par five #3 hole by going for the green on his second shot.  The green is guarded by a water hazard and bunkers, with out-of-bounds behind the green.  A well struck shot had all eyes on the ball as it landed safely on the green and amazingly rolled into the hole for a two; what is called a rare sighting of the “Albatross”!   That one shot catapulted Richey and Cunningham into a third place finish.

Topeka seniors Gary Lucas and David Carson posted the best third round four-ball score in the senior field.  Their four-under par 66 moved them into a runner-up finish at eight-over par 218.  But they had a chance for the win as the leaders Schorgl and Walsworth stood on the 17th tee having just made their only bogey of the day at #16 and Lucas/Carson were only one stroke back.  Schorgl finished the round with birdies at #17 and #18 to take what appeared to be an easy two stroke win at six-over par 216.

Gleissner and Dickey made seven birdies in their final round two-under par 68 and despite a double bogey on #18 (their ninth hole), they came from three strokes back to out-distance Brewer and Marchi by three strokes and take their accustomed spot in front of the camera for the champions’ photo.

By the end of the day four mid-amateur teams had a chance to win a championship.  36-hole leaders Cummins and Gantz had the trophy polished and ready for presentation expanding their one stroke lead to four stokes on the strength of a two-under par 33 on the front nine.  But then four bogeys in their final five holes put them in at two-over par 212.  In an earlier group, Courington and Christian also posted a 212 total with one of the lowest rounds of the day at three-under par 67.   Roberts and Lane had their cumulative score to just one-over par with seven holes to play after making birdie at #10 and #11 and but for a bogey at the difficult #16 hole they would have been outright champions.  Alas, they were the third team in at 212.  Krsnich and Chapman might have been the fourth team in the playoff, but they fell one stroke shy at 213 after shooting a disappointing two-over par 72.

Beginning the sudden-death playoff with six golfers on the 18th hole, a short par four, allowed for a small gallery to witness all three teams make a birdie.  Play then moved to the nearby 17th tee for the difficult par three.  Three pars kept the playoff going back to the 18th tee.

The winning shot came from the wedge of Conrad Roberts.  His ball came within inches of holing out for an eagle.  The tap in birdie was good enough for the win as the other two teams failed to convert on their much longer birdie putts.

Congratulations to our three KGA champion teams.  The revised format with 36 holes played on the first day was a popular success and will continue with these championships in 2017 at Wichita’s Reflection Ridge Golf Club.