From the Kansas City Golf Association
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 13, 2014) -- The final round of the Kansas City Amateur Championship got off to a damp start Sunday. As the tournament staff arrived at 5:30 a.m., the course was in the middle of a major thunderstorm. The thunderstorm delayed the start of play until 8:45 a.m. and players milled around the clubhouse chomping at the bit to continue play.
Once the early morning thunderstorm passed through, the skies opened up to reveal blue skies and hot, humid conditions. The Shoal Creek maintenance team immediately went out in force to get the course in playable condition for the final round. Despite a few areas of casual water, the course quickly returned to the difficult fast and firm conditions that players experienced on day one and two.
In the Open division, the tournament came down to a shootout between defending champion Zac Dittmer and Alex Higgs. Dittmer started the day with a comfortable five stroke lead over University of Missouri- St. Louis standout Matt Barry. After nine holes, Higgs had raced ahead of Barry to claim the second spot after birdies on holes four, six and seven to get to four under par. Dittmer would card a front nine 36, and the lead was cut to three shots with nine holes to play.
The tournament took an interesting turn as the committee began monitoring the final group’s pace of play. The final pairing of Wiltse, Barry and Dittmer struggled to keep pace with the field throughout the day and their slow play would cost them. The committee began timing the players as early as hole four as they fell behind in the beginning of their round. The committee enforced a one stroke penalty to Barry and Dittmer after numerous individual times that exceeded ninety seconds.
“The last thing we want to do is get involved in handing out penalties that might affect the outcome,” explained Matt Williams, KCGA Executive Director. “In this instance, we had no choice. It is simply not fair to the rest of the field to hold the leaders to a different standard,” Williams continued.
Dittmer’s birdie on the par four, twelfth hole would be negated by the pace of play penalty, but ultimately it did not matter as he finished the round with a two under 70 to finish at 205 eight under for the championship.
“I want to thank the KCGA and all the volunteers for another great event, I also want t0 thank Brett Plymell and the Shoal Creek Staff. This is my home course and I am lucky to get to play here every day,” explained Dittmer.
Alex Higgs of Overland Park would claim the runner-up position by pairing his front nine 33 with a back nine 33 and firing the round of the day, five under 66. Rounding out the top three was UMKC standout Cameron Wiltse. His consistent play of 71, 70 and 70 placed him at 211, two under par for the championship.
In the Senior Division, Steve Groom continues his excellent play by outpacing the field with a three day aggregate of 206, seven under par. Groom was a champion of the Open division only two years ago and proved to be too much for the strong senior field. Groom’s closest competitor was longtime friend and four-ball partner Andy Smith. Smith would close the gap to only four strokes by making birdies on the first two holes, but that would be as close as anyone would get to Groom.Groom’s win today puts him in excellent position to reclaim the Senior Player of the Year title for the second straight year.
In the Legends division, it was clear sailing for Tom Bachelor. Bachelor would prove to be the most consistent player in the entire event carding three straight rounds of 72 to take the title. His three day total of 216, three over, was enough to hold off the pair of Jim Lodes and Ron Brewer, both of whom carded three day totals of 227.
In the Players division, youngster Justin Howard took home the crystal after three solid rounds of 75, 73 and 73. Howard led the single digit handicap division from wire to wire to take the title.
View results for Kansas City Amateur Golf Championship