Golf House's 2019 in Review: July
July is the final month of the calendar year for golf’s major championships after the PGA Championship’s move to May, but in Kentucky golf, we were right in the heart of the schedule as we crossed the halfway mark in the 2019 schedule.
The final two days of July featured the opening two rounds of the 100th Kentucky Open before the last round took place on the first of August. The centennial celebration of Kentucky’s crown jewel was an epic one as Kearney Hill Golf Links staged the most historic edition of the championship’s history. Even though that final round took place in August, we’re going to talk about it anyway since a majority of the event did happen in July. Where to begin with that week? The opening round was hindered by poor weather that resulted in only half the field completing their first round. So that meant day two featured golf quite literally from sunrise to sunset. Catch-up day led the way for only a few groups needing to complete play on the day of the final round, and after that it was all about the high level of golf display.
J.B. Williams and Evan Davis separated themselves from their fellow contenders which resulted in a two-horse race over the last several holes. Both matched the tournament record for low cumulative score in this 54-hole event, being 197 strokes. The two players would need two holes of sudden-death to determine a champion, and a birdie from Williams on Kearney Hills’ par-five 14th hole got the job done for the biggest victory of his career.
We’ll backtrack to the beginning of the month now and touch on the biggest junior golf tournaments in Kentucky, the Kentucky Junior Amateurs. The ladies got things started at Cherry Blossom Golf Club where Laney Frye submitted herself in the final round as the top female junior golfer in the state. Frye blitzed the golf course with a barrage of birdies as she shot 64 (-8) in the final round to run away with the title.
Over in Bardstown, the boys then took the stage where low scores were once again the theme of the competition. Owen Stamper fired a course record at Bardstown Country Club after shooting 63 (-9) in the first round to take the early lead. Jansen Preston was able to put rounds of 65-68 together, however, that would surpass Stamper and the rest of the field to give him the 2019 Kentucky Boys Junior Amateur title.
The Kentucky Golf Association conducted its annual Match Play Championship in Shepherdsville at Heritage Hill Golf Club which was won by Keegan De Lange as he bested Andy Roberts 3&1 in the championship match. Additionally, Gary Backlund won the Senior Division (Gross) and Brian James won the Senior Division (Net).
Kentucky’s top PGA Junior League players gathered at Quail Chase Golf Club where Derby City outlasted the competition to be named Kentucky’s best. Triple Crown, the runners-up, along with Derby City each earned exemptions in the PGA Junior League Regional Championship in suburban Memphis as a result of their top-two finishes.
In the Section, Andrew Stephens and Tom Walters won the Taylormade Pro-Pro Challenge at Summit Hills Country Club after beating other two-person teams across from Kentucky in a 36-hole day that featured four-ball, a scramble, alternate shot, and combined score. Jesse Massie picked up another win in one of the Section’s premier events by claiming the National Car Rental Kentucky PGA Assistant Professional Championship at Louisville Country Club. He and runner-up Michael Vanderveer each earned a spot in the national championship in Florida by virtue of those finishes. Steve Cox was also able to lead his team composed of Christen Neleski, Pat Klinglesmith, and Lisa Day to a win at Greenbrier Golf & Country Club in the Pro-Lady Championship.
Lastly, July’s KGA Am Series event took place in Morehead at Eagle Trace Golf Course. Nathan Chapman, Brian Handshoe, Greg Haney, Brian James, Scott Pottinger, Rick Adkins, Vernon Denham, and Doug Jenkins were that day’s winners.