FINAL MATCH RECAP - August 2, 2009 - For just the second time in the last 18 years, the medalist at the Kansas Amateur Championship has weathered six matches and won the title. Leawood’s Matt Ewald, a standout player for Washburn University, defeated Stanford golfer Dodge Kemmer 7 and 5 in Sunday’s 36-hole final and won the 99th Kansas Amateur at Kansas City Country Club
“It’s a dream come true,” said Ewald, 22 and just six hours from his finance and management degree at Washburn. “You always think about it. But you don’t know how realistic it is, because getting through four days of match is tough. One bad stretch of holes can cost you the whole tournament.”
Ewald avoided those and had many fine stretches, including only one bogey in two rounds on Saturday and a first-round 66 in the championship match Sunday morning to go ahead 2 up over Kemmer. Ewald stretched the lead to 3 up with a long two-putt par on the 22nd hole and moved four in front with another par on the par-3 24th. He stretched the lead to 5 up with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 25th hole and kept Kemmer from gaining any momentum to get back in the match with another birdie on the next hole, that one from about 18 feet.
The first 18 was a tale of two four-birdie streaks, one for each player. Ewald, drained a 22-foot par putt on the fourth hole for a halve and that seemed to jump start him on his way to a four-under 66. Ewald knocked a 190-yard seven-iron to inches at the par-3 sixth hole, birdied the two par 5s and had a six-foot birdie putt conceded to him on No. 9 as he built a 3 up lead.
Kemmer saw his deficit grow to five after a tee shot on the par-3 14th found the bunker and led to a bogey. But he rallied late in the round, birdying the final four holes in a two-under 68 that left him just two holes down. Kemmer had a three-foot birdie putt on No. 15, drained a 20-footer at 16, got up and down from in front of the par-5 17th green for birdie and then rolled in a five-footer on the home hole to trim his lunchtime deficit to just two holes.
Berryton’s Gary Woodland was co-medalist in 2007 at his home Topeka Country Club and went on to knock off co-medalist Wes Stonestreet in the championship match. Ewald and Woodland are the only players to accomplish the feat since Wichita’s John Loomis did it back in 1991 Alvamar Golf Club in Lawrence.
MATCH PLAY DAY THREE RECAP - August 1, 2009 - And then there were two.
The 99th Kansas Amateur Championship is down to just two prospective title winners as quarterfinal and semifinal rounds were contested on yet another cool day in July Saturday at Kansas City Country Club. Top-seeded Matt Ewald and No. 6 seed Dodge Kemmer won their fifth matches of the event Saturday afternoon and will square off for the championship in a 36-hole final set to tee off at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
Ewald, an All-American at Washburn last spring, outlasted Fort Scott’s Joe Ida 2 and 1 in their semifinal tussle between players who’ve played against each other since their KJGA days. Ewald never made a bogey and had four birdies on the round and that was enough to take out Ida, a Kansas State senior-to-be who reached the quarterfinals last year. Ida had three bogeys and three birdies in an even-par front side and closed within one hole with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th. But Ewald was within eight feet in three on the par-5 17th when Ida’s par putt slide by the hole, ending the match.
Kemmer, a Wichitan who plays collegiately at Stanford, got off to a fast start in his match with Scott Willman of Prairie Village. Kemmer drained birdie putts of 20 feet on the first hole and 12 on the short, par-3 second to go 2 up. When Willman, a member of the University of Nebraska golf team, made bogeys at Nos. 3 and 5, Kemmer had a 4 up lead. Kemmer, who birdied the consecutive par 5s on KCCC’s front side, moved 5 up with a par at No. 12 and closed out the Cornhusker 6 and 5 with a birdie on the par-4 13th.
Kansas State’s Ida and Mitchell Gregson had front nine 30s in their quarterfinal matches Saturday morning. Ida had three birdies and an eagle over his first seven holes and built a 5 up lead over former University of Kansas player Andrew Storm after eight holes. The fourth seed went on to down Storm 4 and 2.
“No bogeys…I hit it close on (No.) 1, made about a 12-footer on five, 15 footer on six,” Ida said. “He bogeyed eight, so I stole one there. I made a good save at nine to go 5 up on the front side which is always a good feeling. I had good looks at 10 and 11, left them both just short. The big deal was, he was four down with five to go and he hit it to about three feet on 14, the par 3. And I, right behind him, hit it to about six (feet) and covered him up.”
In the best match of the round, Gregson’s five-under opening nine netted him just a 1 up lead in confrontation with Kemmer, who had a 32 of his own. Kemmer squared the match with a par at No. 14 and took the lead when Gregson three-putted the 15th hole. After both players birdied 16, third-seeded Gregson got home in two on No. 17 and his two-putt birdie squared the match. Number 6 Kemmer then had a nifty pitch on No. 18 and drained a 10-footer for birdie to secure a 1 up victory as Gregson’s six-footer slid past the cup.
Ewald reached the semifinals with a 3 and 2 win against Spring Hill’s Jon Troutman. Ewald parred the 11th hole to take his first lead of the day, made a six-footer for birdie at No. 13 to go 2 up and built his lead to 3 up with a two-putt par at the par-3 14th hole.
Willman defeated the University of Kansas’s Nate Barbee 2 and 1 in the other quarterfinal contest. Willman had birdies at the sixth and seventh holes. He built his lead to three holes twice on the back nine including at No. 13 with his third birdie of the round.
MATCH PLAY DAY TWO RECAP - August 1, 2009 - It’s the 33-year-old Jon Troutman against seven college-aged players as the 99th Kansas Amateur reached the elite eight Friday at Kansas City Country Club.
Troutman knocked off Kansas State’s Kyle Smell 5 and 4 in the third-round match and is the only mid-am player remaining in the championship. It was the second big victory of the day for the former professional. Troutman ousted Prairie Village’s Patrick Roth 6 and 5 earlier in the day. In today’s first quarterfinal match, Troutman faces the championship’s top seed in Matt Ewald of Leawood. The Div. II All-American at Washburn reached the quarters with a 4 and 3 win over Kyle Marcolla of Chillicothe, Mo.
Both the University of Kansas and Kansas State will have two representatives among this year’s last eight players. Fourth-seeded Joe Ida of Kansas State outlasted Washburn’s Matt Salome 1 up in the best match of the third round. He’ll be a repeat quarterfinalist from KSU as will Waterloo, Ill.’s Mitchell Gregson. Gregson ousted Florence’s Elliot Soyez 4 and 2. Twelfth seed Andrew Storm, who finished his golfing career as a Jayhawk this past spring, moved into the quarterfinal round with a 4 and 3 win over Wichita’s Charlie Stevens. Joining him will be KU teammate Nate Barbee. Barbee, the 31st seed out of Dakota Dunes, S.D., took out Wichita’s State’s Brad Boan 3 and 2 in their third-round match. Storm and Ida square off at 7:39 a.m. today.
Former KJGA player Scott Willman, now a golfer at the University of Nebraska, joins the quarterfinalists after a 5 and 4 third-round win over Lawrence’s Conrad Roberts. Wichita’s Dodge Kemmer, medalist last year at Wichita Country Club, moved into today’s quarters with a 5 and 4 win against Salina’s Kevin Quinley. Willman faces Barbee at 7:48 this morning. Gregson and Kemmer round out the quarterfinal pairings with a 7:57 a.m. tee time.
Friday morning’s second round was highlighted by a match between two-time KGA Junior Player of the Year Kyle Smell and three-time Senior Player of the Year Don Kuehn. Smell, headed into his junior year at Kansas State University this fall, outlasted his senior counterpart 3 and 2 to reach the third round. Smell said he enjoyed the match, despite the difference in the two players’ ages.
“Don is a nice guy…it’s match play and people are grinding and they don’t talk that much. You grind and try to get the job done and I probably just made a few more putts than he did that was about it,” said Smell, 20. “The greens are perfect and it’s nice knowing you can make just about any putt. I like (match play) a lot…it gives everyone a chance.”
Another first-round battle pitted ninth-seeded Troutman against 2008 Kansas Am finalist Patrick Roth. And though the 24th-seeded Roth had the home-course advantage on his Kansas City CC layout, it was Troutman who got off to a fast start and had things his way in a 6 and 5 triumph.
“That was the game plan, get ahead early and get him to kind of force the issue a little bit…just get momentum on my side and keep it going,” said Troutman, who plays his golf at Sycamore Ridge and in Osawatomie. “I hit the ball very well…I actually played pretty well (Thursday), but now it’s just about survival.”
It was a tough second round for other players with Kansas City CC ties as Tyler Shelton fell 3 and 2 to Stevens and Dean Merrill, the championship’s second seed, was beaten by Barbee 2 and 1.
Semifinal matches are this afternoon. The 36-hole championship match begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
MATCH PLAY ROUND ONE RECAP - July 31, 2009 - Players in the 99th annual Kansas Amateur Championship enjoyed another unseasonably cool day of golf as match play unfolded Thursday at Kansas City Country Club. Some of the first-round matches had predictable finishes as high seeds moved into Friday’s second round. Top-seeded Matt Ewald, No. 2 Dean Merrill, No. 3 Mitchell Gregson and No. 4 Joe Ida each cruised past first-round opponents to advance.
But there were upsets, especially by players with 40-something seeds. No. 49 Wes Nichols of Fort Scott upended 16th-seeded Nate Sargent of Overland Park 1 up. Nichols plays Chillicothe, Mo.’s Kyle Marcolla in a second-round match at 7:39 a.m. today. Marcolla, seeded No. 48, also pulled off an upset Thursday, defeating Raytown, Mo. senior standout Steve Groom, the 17th seed, 4 and 3.
Dodge City’s Aaron Mapel, seeded No. 47, downed 18th-seeded Zach Pederson of Spring Hill in 19 holes. Mapel plays at Fort Hays State and Pederson recently completed his eligibility and graduated from Kansas. Florence’s Elliot Soyez, the 46th seed and headed to Wichita State in the fall, defeated No. 19 TJ Vilkanskas of Manhattan 2 and 1.
Mark Elliott, a broadcaster for WIBW radio in Topeka, pulled off another first-round upset. Elliott, the championship’s 45th seed, upended University of Kansas men’s golf coach Kit Grove, the 20th seed, 2 and 1. Curtis Yonke, seeded 44th, downed his older brother and 21st seed Kyle, 3 and 2. The Yonkes, grandsons of Kansas State golf great Jim Colbert, teamed together to win the KGA Four-Ball Championship earlier this year. They beat the University of Kansas’s Bobby Knowles and Andrew Storm, Curtis’ second-round opponent this morning in a match that tees off at 8:33 a.m. Kevin Quinley of Salina, the 43rd seed, downed No. 22 Josh Taylor of Overland Park 2 and 1. Quinley plays at Fort Hays State and Taylor is a member of the UMKC golf team.
For those following the KGA Player of the Year points standings, Thursday’s first round included a battle between 16-year-old Michael Gellerman, ranked first in the points, and Steve Newman, currently second in the standings. Newman, the 36th seed from Wichita, outlasted Sterling’s Gellerman in 20 holes with a tee shot to two feet on the par-3 second hole at Kansas City CC. But the 48-year-old Newman, 2009 KGA Public Links winner, was impressed with 29th-seeded Gellerman, already twice a Kansas state high school champion.
“It was close the whole time…I was just really impressed with how strategically he played for a young kid,” Newman said. “Most young kids I play with just bomb it and they’re real aggressive the whole way. And he was just not that way at all. He played smart shots; he played smart lines. He played good, smart shots into the greens. He played like he knew what he was doing.”
Newman tests his skills against a talented college player in the second round in fourth-seeded Joe Ida of Kansas State. That match is slated for 8:06 a.m.
Other matches moving into the spotlight for Friday morning’s second round include: Multi-time Kansas City Country Club champ Tyler Shelton, seeded fifth, faces 28th-seeded Charlie Stevens of Wichita at 8:24 a.m. Kansas State player and former KGA Junior Player of the Year Kyle Smell faces Don Kuehn, a three-time KGA Senior Player of the Year. Smell, seeded eighth, and Kuehn, the 25th seed, tee off at 7:48 a.m. Accomplished mid-am player and ninth seed Jon Troutman squares off with Kansas City Country Club and KU player Patrick Roth at 7:57 a.m. Roth, seeded 24th, was a finalist last year at Wichita Country Club.
The third round begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday with the quarterfinals and semifinals set for Saturday. The 36-hole championship match begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
DAY TWO RECAP - July 29, 2009 - The 64-man match play bracket is set for the 99th Kansas Amateur Championship as players completed their second round of stroke-play qualifying on a sun-drenched day at Kansas City Country Club.
With the Kansas City CC layout drying out from Tuesday’s rain, Leawood’s Matt Ewald shot a round of two-under 68 to go along with his opening-round 70 and earned medalist honors and the top seed for match play. The 138 total was a shot better than former Penn player and Kansas City Country Club member Dean Merrill.
“It’s nice, but when it comes to match play it doesn’t mean anything,” said Ewald, 22. “It’s you versus one man. It’s always nice to be near the top at least, playing a lower seeded player that might be struggling. Match play is fun, it’s you versus another guy and I kind of thrive on that.”
The NCAA Div. II All-American Ewald faces No. 64 seed and 1991 Kansas Am champion John Loomis of Wichita in Thursday’s first match. That’s set to tee off from No. 1 at 7:30 a.m. as the “new tournament” begins.
“It’s a whole different mindset…(in the match play) you go firing at pins; you’re out there to make birdies,” said Ewald, who heads into the fall just six hours short of a financial management degree at Topeka’s Washburn University and having completed his eligibility. “You can go out and shoot 67, 68 and you might lose a match and you might shoot 74, 75, have a bad day and win a match. It’s going to be a fun match-play course.”
A pair of Kansas State players, Fort Scott’s Joe Ida and Waterloo, Ill.’s Mitchell Gregson, tied for third at 140. First-round leader Andrew Storm shot a 75 on day two and was in a group at 142.
Leawood’s Fred Rowland, 70 and the eldest player in the 2009 field, shot his age in round two and his 150 total got him a 52nd-seed and a first-round match against Matt Salome, a former Washburn University golfer out of Wichita. Rowland was runner-up to Jack Stevens in the 1974 Kansas Amateur at Wichita Country Club.
Ten players were tied for the 57th position and went to a playoff for seven spots in the match play field. Sixteen-year-old Joseph Winslow of Overland Park made sure he’d be in the bracket by birdying the first playoff hole with a 20-foot putt.
“I hit a 19 degree hybrid (off the tee) and I had 147 in…I hit a little pitching wedge,” said Winslow, attending Insight School of Kansas in the fall. “I had a nice little 20-footer…I had a good read on it and put a good stroke on it. I didn’t putt very well today, so I got on the putting green in between and got a little hot. I went into (the playoff) with a lot of confidence.”
Others surviving the playoff included Chris Grause of Topeka, Trevor Johanson of Maize, Brice Long of Columbus, Don Walsworth of Leawood, John Loomis of Wichita and Drew Carlson of Mission Hills.
Thirty-two first-round matches will be contested today. Some of the other matches to watch in the opening round include:
Twenty-first seeded Kyle Yonke takes on his younger brother Curtis Yonke, the 44th seed, at 9:45 a.m. The two paired to win the Kansas Four-Ball championship earlier this summer in Lawrence. Sixth-seeded Dodge Kemmer of Wichita, medalist in last year’s event, gets a rematch with 59th-seeded Drew Carlson of Mission Hills. The University of Missouri’s Carlson was the lone playoff survivor and seeded 64th in 2008 when he upset Stanford’s Kemmer in their first-round match. KGA Player of the Year points leader Michael Gellerman, 16, is seeded 29th and takes on Steve Newman, second in points and the 2009 Public Links champion from Wichita. Newman is 36th seeded and they do battle at 8:51 a.m.
The second and third rounds are set for Friday with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday. The 36-hole championship match begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
DAY ONE RECAP - July 28, 2009 - The 99th Kansas Amateur Championship got underway Tuesday as 143 players teed off for the first of two stroke-play rounds at Kansas City Country Club. Rain showers moved into the Kansas City area during the day and those with morning tee times caught a break as they played the majority of their round in dry conditions.
Among the morning wave players was Omaha, Neb.’s Andrew Storm who turned in the low round of the day with a three-under 67. Storm, who recently completed his eligibility at the University of Kansas, made birdies at Nos. 2, 6, 8, 12 and 16 to offset a pair of bogeys in his trip around the par-70 Kansas Country Club layout.
“I hit it pretty solid all day and I made the putts I needed to make to keep my round going,” said the 22-year-old Storm. “I bogeyed (No.) 17 -- the par 5, and I felt like that was disappointing at the time, to bogey a par 5. I was just making the opportunities I had for birdie. It’s a course where you need to keep it in the fairway and I don’t hit it very far, but I hit a lot of fairways.”
Storm placed second with partner and fellow KU player Bobby Knowles at the Kansas Four-Ball Championship earlier this summer at Alvamar Golf Club in Lawrence.
A pair of golfers stood a single shot back at two-under 68. They included Kansas City Country Club’s Dean Merrill, playing in the fourth group off the first hole, and Kansas State University player Joe Ida four groups later. Ida, headed into his senior season for the Wildcats this fall and having reached the quarterfinals last year at Wichita Country Club, got off to a quick start moving to five under after eight holes and held it together over the final few soggy holes of his round.
“It was pretty simple, I had a lot of tap-ins…I hit a lot of good shots early,” said Ida, 20. “I hit a little marginal drive at nine, made bogey, no big deal. Then the back nine was pretty boring. A lot of 15-foot looks. I didn’t make any and just had one bad hole, (No.) 13.”
Overland Park’s Chris Boden shot a one-under 69 in the morning wave. Leawood’s Matt Ewald, a standout at Washburn University, had an even-par round of 70 in the morning and that was later matched by Wichita’s Charlie Stevens with the low round of afternoon play. Sixty-two year-old Don Kuehn of Kansas City was among a group of nine golfers at one-over 71.
Stroke play continues beginning at 8 a.m. today from the first and tenth tees. The top 64 players after two rounds qualify for match play. If a playoff for the final spots is necessary it will begin as soon as possible this evening on the first tee and will include holes No. 2 and 9.
Match play begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday with 32 first-round matches to be contested. The second and third rounds are set for Friday with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday. The 36-hole championship match begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
PREVIEW - July 27, 2009 - A field of 145 competitors are set to tee off in the 99th Kansas Amateur Championship on July 28th at Kansas City Country Club in Mission Hills. The players (each having met one of the exempt status criteria or having become eligible for the event through one of the five qualifiers this summer) face two stroke-play qualifying rounds on the Kansas City CC layout to determine a field of 64 players for match play which begins Thursday. The single elimination match play bracket will culminate in a 36-hole final on Sunday to determine the 2009 Kansas Amateur champion.
This year’s field includes a diverse group of players, from talented high school and college players to battle-tested mid-amateurs to accomplished senior competitors. Wichita’s Sam Stevens, the field’s youngest competitor who turned 13 on July 4, will try to become the youngest ever to win the championship. Leawood’s Fred Rowland, 70, will try to become its eldest as will KGA senior stalwarts Bob Vidricksen and Frank Roth of Salina and Kansas City’s Don Kuehn, each aged 62.
Past Kansas Amateur champions in the 2009 field include Darren Copp, Wichita, 1987 at Topeka Country Club; John Loomis, Wichita, 1991 at Alvamar Country Club; Marty Sallaz, Leawood, 1995 at Kansas City Country Club; and Sean Thayer, Garden City, 1999 at Milburn Golf & Country Club.
Lawrence’s Alvamar Golf Course leads the way with 10 competitors in this year’s field. Olathe’s Wolf Creek Golf Links is next with eight, followed by Manhattan’s Colbert Hills with seven and Salina Country Club at six. Host Kansas City Country Club, the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate and Wichita’s Tallgrass Country Club have five entrants each.
Last year, Tulsa, Okla.’s Cameron Bishop won the Amateur title at Wichita Country Club, a course he’d become accustomed to during his days as a standout player for Wichita State. Bishop qualified 22nd for match play and his run to the title culminated with a 4&3 victory over University of Kansas golfer Patrick Roth in the 36-hole championship. Bishop will not defend his title in 2009 having turned professional. Prairie Village’s Roth, a member of Kansas City Country Club, will certainly be a player to watch as he looks to win the 2009 title on his home course.
“We’re really looking forward and are excited for the players to come here and test their skills at one of the best courses in the Midwest,” said Jon Helmker, head golf professional at Kansas City Country Club.
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