Kelpin wins Northern Amateur

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 par.

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 it.

“I had a tough lie,” McLaurin said. “I didn’t want to be too aggressive.”

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 the green.

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.”

Results For Northern Amateur Golf Championship
1MIBarrett KelpinKalamazoo, MI40070-67-68--205
T2ILVince IndiaDeerfield, IL30068-60-68--206
T2MOJordan McLaurinIronton, MO30066-71-69--206
T2MARichy WerenskiSouth Hadley, MA30070-69-67--206
5INTyler DuncanColumbus, IN20067-76-64--207

View full results for Northern Amateur Golf Championship

ABOUT THE Northern Amateur

Popular national amateur tournament played from 1967-2001 (with a solid list of past champions) returned to the schedule in 2011. 54-hole stroke play championship with a field of 96 players. Par- 3 contest held after round 1.

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