Wilkins battles Tom Watson, wins Watson Challenge
Rob Wilkins checks out the Watson Challenge trophy with Tom Watson
Rob Wilkins checks out the Watson Challenge trophy with Tom Watson

Rob Wilkin, Head Golf Professional at Heritage Park Golf Course, prevailed in a playoff to win the 10th Watson Challenge.

Wilkin, who led by 4 after the first round and 1 after the second round, and Watson battled back and forth all day.

Watson’s round started off with some fireworks on the second hole, where he holed a 4-iron for an ace to get to 4-under for the tournament.

The living golf legend made the turn with the lead and looked in control heading to the par-3 15th. Wilkin knocked one close on the short par 3 and made birdie, while Watson found the hazard short of the green and made bogey.

Wilkin would not hold the lead long, however, as a double bogey at No. 16 handed the lead right back to Watson. Unfortunately for Watson, a bogey at the 17th would put Wilkin and Watson into a tie, and he would not lead again.

Watson’s birdie attempt at the 18th slid by the hole, and the players headed to the 10th tee for a sudden-death playoff. Wilkin and Watson played 10, 11, 12, and 10 again, before the tournament was decided on the 11th hole. Both players missed birdie putts, but only Wilkin was able to convert his par putt, earning the victory.

The Watson Challenge has been contested since 2007. Watson has won five of the ten events, in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.


Reinstated amateur Joe Ida (the 2012 champion) had the lowest score among the amateur players, and finished in third place just a shot back of Wilkins and Watson. And Kansas U. golfer Chase Hanna, the defending champion, finished in fourth at 213.

Next year’s Watson Challenge will be contested at Milburn Country Club.

ABOUT THE The Watson Challenge

The Watson Challenge, founded in 2007, is the vision of Tom Watson who came to the Kansas City Golf Association with the purpose of determining the best player in the greater Kansas City golf community while raising money for area charities. The Watson Challenge has a field of 48 players, which is comprised of the best professionals and amateurs living in the greater Kansas City golf community.

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