OMAHA, NE (July 29, 2005) -- Keth Malone's day began shortly before 10 a.m. at Omaha Country Club on Friday. Some six hours later, following two weather delays and 20 holes of golf, his day ended with a trophy in hand.
Malone, who began the day one stroke behind overnight leader Tom Gross, shot a three-over-par 74 in the final round and outlasted Gross in a sudden-death playoff to claim the Centennial Nebraska Amateur Championship.
Playing in the second-to-last group of the tournament, Malone posted a nine-over-par total of 293 and watched as Gross coaxed a downhill 12-footer into the final hole in regulation to force a playoff.
"I hadn't really made a putt of any length all day long and that one was huge," Gross said.
After halving the first playoff hole, the two headed back to the tee for the second hole of sudden-death.
"I was nervous coming down the stretch but my caddie and I just focusing on my breathing and rhythm to help me slow down," Malone said.
Malone's par on the second playoff hole was enough to defeat Gross and steady his nerves. Moments later, he was hosting the champion's trophy and bathing in a sea of champagne.
"I felt like I played well this week. This course is tough, but if you play smart and hit good wedges, which is the strength of my game, you can score out here," he said.
Gross, who began the week hoping to finish as low junior, did just that with his runner-up finish.
"I achieved my goal this week. I played well, Keth just played a little bit better," Gross said.
Jayson Brueggemann of Lincoln and Tom Kelley of Omaha finished one shot out of a playoff at 294. Former champion John Sajevic was two back at 295.
For complete results, click on the tournament link above.