Andy Roberts of Owensboro shot rounds of 70-71—141 (-3) to capture the 2018 Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Mid-Amateur Championship, and Tony Wise, Christopher Hill and Scott Hansel all picked up victories in their respective divisions. The Kentucky Mid-Amateur was open to all players ages 25 and over and was contested on October 1st and 2nd at Traditions Golf Club in Hebron, KY.
While the final results might show a three-stroke win for Roberts, the victory would not be an easy one as the challenging layout at Traditions Golf Club proved to be a stern test for the field. The day began with seven players within four strokes of the lead, but midway through the back nine, it became a two-horse race between Roberts and Matt Epperson of Lexington.
Roberts held the overnight co-lead with a first round score of 70, and after beginning his final round two under-par through eight holes, he looked to be in control of the tournament. However, a pair of bogies on holes 9 and 11 coupled with a charging Epperson made things more than a little interesting.
“The course was playing hard enough to where no one was really running away with it,” said Roberts. “Even though I made bogey on #11, I knew I was right in it.
For Roberts, the shot of the day was his second tee shot on the 14th hole. With a one stroke advantage over Epperson, Roberts hit his first drive into the thick brush, forcing him to hit the exact same shot from the teeing ground. No doubt shaken but refusing to be deterred, Roberts hit his provisional ball down the middle of the fairway and got up-and-down to save his bogey.
“I made a bad swing on hole #14 but made a really good bogey especially considering I was hitting three off the tee,” said Roberts. “After that, I had really good looks for birdie the rest of the way in and it was just a matter of getting it to the clubhouse.”
After his miraculous bogey on the 14th hole, both Roberts and Epperson were tied atop the leaderboard. Unfortunately for Epperson, a pair of bogies on his final two holes left Roberts a clear path to victory. He navigated the difficult finishing stretch with ease, capping off the win with a closing birdie to seal his third Mid-Amateur title.
“There were so many good players here this week and to come through with a victory is big,” said Roberts. “It’s been a long summer and my putting hasn’t been what I would have liked it to be, but this is a great way to finish off the season.”
Despite coming up just short, it was a strong showing for Epperson, who has previously won the 2016 Lexington Men’s City Golf Championship but it still seeking his first KGA championship victory. His final round 71 tied for low round of the day and his best-ever finish in the Mid-Amateur Championship.
Although a final round 76 dropped overnight co-leader Joseph Deraney of Lexington into third place, it was plenty good enough for him to clinch the John Owens KGA Player of the Year Award. The two-time defending Mid-Amateur Champion has had quite a remarkable season which included a victory at the Canadian Mid-Amateur last month. That win also came with an exemption into the 2019 PGA Tour RBC Canadian Open, where he will make his first-ever PGA Tour start.
Aside from the Mid-Amateur Championship division, there were three other divisions that crowned champions – the Mid-Senior Division (ages 40-49), the Senior Division (ages 50-59) and Masters Division (ages 60+). In the Mid-Senior Division, Tony Wise of Georgetown shot rounds of 71-74—145 to win by two strokes over Pete Cornett of Loyall. In the Senior Division, both Christopher Hill of Danville and Steve Humphries of Georgetown finished tied at +7, with Hill winning the scorecard playoff per his low second round of 77. In the Masters Division, Scott Hansel of Independence shot 75-73—148 for a one stroke victory over Dennis Long and Ricky Bourne.
The KGA concludes its 2018 tournament season in two weeks at Valhalla Golf Club for the inaugural KGA Invitational on Monday, October 15th. Spots are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis and interested players can register at kygolf.org.
About the Kentucky Golf Association
The Kentucky Golf Association (KGA) is recognized by the USGA as the governing body for amateur golf in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1911, the KGA is a full service golf association comprised of over 180 member golf courses. The KGA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of representatives from course across Kentucky. The KGA serves and fulfills many roles for golf in Kentucky. The KGA is a founding member of Golf House Kentucky, the umbrella organization that manages Kentucky’s Family of Golf Organizations.