HUTCHINSON, Kansas (July 25, 2010) -- As the Kansas Golf Association and the Kansas Amateur begin their second century with a brand new championship trophy the first name to be inscribed will be that of Charlie Stevens.
It’s been 49 years since his father Johnny won the second of two straight Kansas Amateur titles and Sunday Johnny Stevens, adorned in caddie bib, watched his son win the 100th Anniversary Championship 4 and 3 over former University of Kansas golfer Andrew Storm. It is a fitting surname for the champion of the centennial event which was held at one of the Sunflower State’s top facilities in Hutchinson’s Prairie Dunes Country Club.
“It’s huge, it’s exciting and there is some amount of weight lifted off shoulders,” Stevens said of winning the event at age 40. “It was just fun. My dad on the bag this week helped a lot…you know he’s pretty calm. My grandma in the crowd really made me more nervous, so they cancelled each other out.”
Stevens, in commercial real estate management in Wichita, took advantage of the scorching championship week’s first mild conditions and got the 23-year-old Storm down in the match early. Stevens never trailed and led by as many as four holes midway through the afternoon round, before closing out Storm at the par-3 15th -- their 33rd hole of the day.
“I just kept trying to grind it out and I just never gave him any holes,” said Stevens, whose previous high finish in the event was a semifinal loss in 1991 at Alvamar Golf Club. “And he missed a couple little putts that he really could have capitalized on and that hurt him. But once I got in front I never lost the lead. I was beat this morning and the fact the sun didn’t come out at all this morning was nice…that was real nice.”
Stevens, who fell 4 and 3 to Storm in a 2009 round of 16 match at Kansas City Country Club, scrambled his way to a 2 up lead after just two holes of the morning round, making consecutive up-and-down pars at Nos. 1 and 2. Both players made birdie at No. 5, Storm’s coming on a putt from about 35 feet on the par-4 hole. But the former Jayhawk was forced to take an unplayable lie after his tee ball came to rest in a patch of yucca near a fairway bunker on No. 6. That led to his third bogey of the round and Stevens’ par gave him back a two-hole margin.
Both players made birdie at the par-5 seventh hole -- Stevens two-putting from about 18 feet and Storm sinking a five-footer after a nice pitch from in front of the green.
But Storm, who’ll take an assistant teaching professional job next month in Sarasota, Fla., bogeyed the demanding eighth hole and began a stretch of four bogeys in six holes. Still he trailed by just one as Stevens bogeyed Nos. 8, 10 and 13. Storm would go on to suffer double bogey at No. 14 due to a poor chip, and bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16. Stevens took advantage with conceded birdies from about 12 feet on No. 14 and eight feet on No. 16 to build a three-hole margin after 18 holes. Storm’s back nine registered six-over 41.
Stevens, seeded 21st, defeated Bryan Norton 3 and 2 in the semifinals; Mark Jolliffe 5 and 3 in the quarterfinals; David Auer 5 and 4 in the round of 16; Nate Barbee 1 up in the second round; Zach Tucker 2 up in the first round. Second-seeded Storm defeated Ben Juffer 5 and 3 in the semifinals; Thomas Birdsey 1 up in the quarterfinals; Jack Courington 1 up in the round of 16; Kyle Smell 3 and 2 in the second round; Bob Vidricksen 4 and 3 in the first round.
The 2011 Kansas Amateur Championship will be played next July at Hallbrook Country Club in Leawood.
View results for Kansas State Amateur Match Play Golf Championship