Alex Stimpson's experience at Hyannisport CC paid off in the end
(Cape Cod Times photo)
By Geoff Converse of the Cape Cod Times
HYANNISPORT, MA (October 28, 2017) – On a day where it was mandatory that you played your best to win a championship, it took a birdie on the 19th hole of the finals for Alex Stimpson to capture the 66th annual Cape Cod Amateur title at the Hyannisport Club.
First-time competitor Chris Kelly held off Paul Heffernan to win the Senior Division, 1-up.
It was the first Cape Cod Amateur title for both players.
“This is awesome,” said the 35-year-old Stimpson, who may have felt like the father to the other three 20-somethings who started Sunday in the semifinals. “This is one of the great tournaments to win on Cape Cod. I’m glad to be in the same mix with people like Kevin Carey (10-time champion) Tim Norton (2016), Brian Secia (two-time champ) and Tyler Kett (two-time winner).”
This was the second finals that Stimpson competed in, losing to Carey in 2015. However, he has played in the amateur since he was a teenager in high school.
Stimpson gained the finals with a 3-and-2 victory over Hyannis Golf Course’s Nick Clarke in the semifinals while Joe Hunt prevailed in his semifinal match with Olde Barnstable’s Greg Everson, 2-up.
“I think that all those years of playing here at Hyannisport has taught me what it takes to play here and be successful,” Stimpson added. “The key for me today was to keep the ball in play, keep grinding and try not to lose to a bogey. Joe played really well today and even after I had a 2-up lead through 10, I knew he had a comeback in him.”
Hunt overcame the 2-down deficit with three straight birdies on 15, 16 and 17, forcing Stimpson to win the 18th hole to draw even and force the extra hole, which the champion won by ramming in a birdie putt.
“I made some good birdies on 15-16 and 17,” Hunt said. “The final was the best I played all tournament. It was a great, competitive match. I’ll be back looking to finish it off with a win.”
The loss ends a tremendous season of golf for Hunt, who, with partner Jared Pane, also earned a berth in the U.S. Match Play Championship next May at Jupiter Hills Country Club in Florida.
Hunt’s loss to Stimpson prevented a sweep for Hyannis Golf Course members as Kelly rode his caddy for the tournament, two-time senior champ Dick King, to the win in the Senior Division in his first foray into the Cape Cod Amateur.
“Dick was a big help,” said Kelly, who moved back to the East Coast from California this year. “I had never played here before and his knowledge of the course and how to play it were invaluable.”
Kelly advanced to the final off the strength of a 1-up win over Hyannisport member John Shields while Heffernan earned the berth with a 3-and-2 win over Ocean Edge’s Patrick O’Reilly.
Kelly held a 1-up lead through 12 holes only to have Heffernan chip in from 30 yards over the green on 13 to tie the match. Heffernan took a 1-up lead with a bogey on the par-3 15th only to have Kelly make it all-square when he chipped in on the 17th for a birdie.
That set the stage for Kelly winning on the 18th with a two-putt par while Heffernan bogeyed the hole
“I don’t mind getting beaten,” said Heffernan, who was competing in the Amateur for the 40th year. “I hate losing the match, which I felt I did. I know better and I know you have to finish strong. Chris played well and he is a deserving champion.”
View results for Cape Cod Amateur
ABOUT THE Cape Cod Amateur
Open to male amateur golfers. One round of stroke
play determines the round of 32 match play bracket
to be completed over two weekends. Senior division
has a match play bracket of 16 players.
View Complete Tournament Information