Drake Stepter Steps Up to Win Clark's Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Mid-Am
ASHLAND, KY (August 24, 2021) – Drake Stepter turned 25 last month to officially reach mid-amateur status. He took advantage of his July birthday with a terrific performance at Bellefonte Country Club to win the 27th Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Mid-Am.
Hailing from Paducah, Stepter made the cross-state journey to compete in this championship for the first time and made it a worthwhile trip by snagging the trophy in the process. Rounds of 66-64 for a total score of 130 (-10) led to a five-shot margin of victory for Stepter over Josh Rhodes.
Beginning the day one stroke behind Rhodes, Stepter wasted no time chasing him down and taking the lead outright. With five birdies in his first seven holes, Stepter put control of the tournament in his hands quickly. With two more birdies and pars the rest of the way, Stepter was able to enjoy a stress-free finish having secured one of the state’s most prestigious amateur titles.
“When I played here (at Bellefonte) in the State Amateur in 2016, I had the wrong mindset,” Stepter admitted. “I saw it was 6,000 yards and thought ‘Man, that’s going to be cake’ and ended up going home early after missing the cut. I entered this week with a different mindset about how to hit fairways and keep it in play. I came here knowing I was hitting it well, but Bellefonte is such an intimidating place to play because you have to be so methodical getting around here. Luckily, I kept it in play and didn’t have any big numbers which is all you can ask for.”
“I got a little emotional coming down the 17th fairway because my dad passed away six weeks ago. So right in the middle of this run of good play I’ve had, I wish he was around to see it because I know he’d have been cheering me on, but it means a lot to get this done.”
The net competition for the Open Division finished with joint-winners as Heath Brownstead and Eric King both finished with net scores of 140 (E). Jesse Hunt and Kent Ryu finished one shot behind them.
Tom Campbell had a monumental thirteen-shot victory in the Senior Division (players aged 50-59). He finished with a total score of 141 (+1) to win that competition in addition to placing in the top-ten of gross scores from the Open Division.
Campbell had the top spot on the Senior Division’s net leaderboard as well, but first-place honors shift to David Horning as he ended the tournament at 148 (+8).
John Gagai made Campbell’s thirteen-stroke victory look small in comparison, as he had an incredible twenty-two shot victory in the Super Senior Division (players aged 60 or older). With a final round 66 (-4), Gagai turned in an under-par total score for the tournament to run away with the gross title here.
His brother George wins the net portion of the Super Senior Division thanks to a total score of 147 (+7). David Farrell finished two shots shy of his net total.
NOTES & STATS
- One eagle was made in the final round and it came from 2019 champion Matt Epperson. He made that score on the par-five 1st to get the only large bird of the day.
- That opening hole was the easiest of the day on Tuesday as its stroke-to-par average was -0.23. Alongside Epperson’s eagle, nineteen birdies were made on Tuesday to get players off to an under-par start.
- Hole 1 was also the easiest of the tournament when weighing in both rounds with -0.11 being its overall average.
- The par-four 6th was the hardest hole of the second round at +0.79. Only three birdies were recorded on this hole in the final round while more than half the field carded bogey or worse.
- The par-four 9th was the hardest hole when combining both rounds. At +0.69, it had more bogeys or worse than any other hole.
- In the second round, the front nine averaged a score of 38.46 while the back averaged 38.44 leading to an overall scoring average of 76.90 for Tuesday’s play.
- That number led to Bellefonte playing 0.20 strokes easier on Tuesday than it did on Monday when the average was 77.10.
The Kentucky Golf Association extends its thanks to Jeff Bostic, PGA Head Golf Professional and his team at Bellefonte for their hosting of the 27th Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Mid-Am. The KGA also sends its appreciation to each player who competed in this week’s tournament.
The next KGA-sanctioned competition will take place at Traditions Golf Club on Tuesday, September 7 with Golf House Kentucky Classic #3. Registration for that tournament is open for one more week and can be completed by clicking here.