Richard Kerper wins SOS Gateway Senior Invitational (photo: FSGA))
collected a number top ten finishes in 2021, lurking near the top of the leaderboard but never able to reach the summit.
"It was a disappointing 2021," Kerper said. "I didn't hit the ball all that well."
Worrying about his ranking also impacted his golf, he admitted.
"I fell in love with my ranking," Kerper said. "I'd check it every week. It put more pressure on me mentally."
However, his play has turned around in the last month, and three solid rounds in the Gateway Senior Invitational landed Kerper back on top of the leaderboard.
Over the course of the three rounds at The Club at Gateway, Kerper rode a great week of driving the golf ball and made hay on the front nine, playing it in 4-under par.
"I was not out of play once this week. I played a really solid three rounds."
started the final round in second place, hoping to put some pressure on Kerper. Unfortunately, the four bogeys on the front nine outweighed his three birdies, and he couldn't make up any ground. Rounding out the top three was Kevin Vandenburg who shot up the leaderboard with a 69, tying him for the low round in the senior division.
Kerper was grateful he had enough breathing room so he could afford some loose shots on his final nine holes.
"It was a struggle," Kerper said of his final nine holes. "I managed to get up and down a few times. I got tired and when I get tired, I hit it left."
He hit it left off the tee a lot in the home stretch, but Kerper was able to save pars, limit his bogeys, and eliminate double bogeys.
"I realized I just need to go out and play and let the chips fall where they may," Kerper said. "Like my friend Allen Peake
told me after the round, 'It's fun to win. It's also hard to win.'"
In the super senior division, Owen Joyner
finished with a final score of 1 under. Joyner used an exceptional second round 68 to beat Bill Everett by three shots.
A final round 70 helped James Rollefson
edge out Jerry Hudgins
by a shot in the legends division. Both men finished under par, with Rollefson finishing at 2 under.
shot 5 over to win the super legends by four shots over Eddie Litten.
ABOUT THE Gateway Senior Invitational
Second tournament of the major senior amateur
season. 54-hole stroke play tournament with Senior
(ages 55+), super senior (65+), legends (70+) and
super legends (75+) divisions.
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