By Mike Hutton
CHESTERTON, IL (July 30,
2011) — One good swing was all it took
for Barrett Kelpin to wipe away the nerves that
had caused him to skid just a little over the
last four holes of the Northern Amateur on
Friday in the final round.
Kelpin busted a 6-iron that held up in the
wind and landed 12 feet below the hole on the
160-yard par 3.
It was a 6-iron for his memory bank.
That allowed him to make par and hold off
a charging Jordan McLaurin, who had shaved
two strokes off his lead in the final four holes.
Kelpin finished the three-day tournament
at 10-under par, one shot better than
McLaurin, Vince India and Richy Werenski.
It’s the first summer victory for Kelpin,
a senior at Iowa, who plays No. 4.
Kelpin won by hitting more pure shots than
anyone. His ball striking, aside from a few
jittery late swings, was impeccable. He shot a
3-under-68. Over the last two days, he made
just two bogeys.
“It feels good to do this,” he
said. “This is big for me.”
It was big because Kelpin picked himself up
when he started to falter a bit under pressure.
On No. 15, McLaurin, who was playing in
the same group, busted a drive and then made
a two-putt birdie to shave one shot off
Kelpin’s three stroke lead.
On No. 17, the inexplicable happened.
McLaurin hit a chunky 8-iron from 160
yards that left him on the side of a hill, with a
delicate 20-yard chip to a pin that was about
five paces from the edge of green.
Kelpin just needed to get down in two from
the fringe. He opted to chip the ball and he
left it about 5 feet short. McLaurin, meanwhile,
knocked his chip to about three feet. Kelpin
missed his putt and finished with bogey.
McLaurin, a left-hander, drained the putt for
All of a sudden, No. 18 was a big deal.
“That was surprising,”
McLaurin said. “I thought I was playing
for second place. I thought it was over with. I
just didn’t want to give away any
strokes. Then he me missed his putt.”
On No. 18, McLaurin decided to use a 7-
iron because he was so pumped up.
He flushed it but he hit it too low for the
wind to hold it up. The ball landed just off the
green to the right of the pin.
He tried to hole a chip but he just missed
“I had a tough lie,” McLaurin
said. “I didn’t want to be too
For Kelpin, the finish was sweet.
“I wanted to make that
putt,” he said. “It was the
perfect club and perfect distance. I just put a
smooth swing on it.”
Kelpin was able to take control of the
tournament on No. 12, a 404-yard par 4 that
plays shorter if an aggressive angle over the
creek that runs through the fairway is taken.
McLaurin crushed a drive that landed
nestled in some light rough, five feet in front of
Kelpin laid back with his hybrid and dropped
a 60-yard chip eight feet from the cup and
drained it for birdie.
McLaurin then missed his five-footer for
birdie. That gave Kelpin a three stroke lead.
“That was probably the only putt all
week I missed that I should’ve
made,” McLaurin said. “It was a
tough one — a sidewinder.”
Said Kelpin: “That was a big
momentum switch for me.”