HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Bryan Norton's quest to become a three-time champion is very much alive as the field was trimmed to eight players Friday in the 100th Kansas Amateur Championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson. Norton, the KGA's 2009 Senior Player of the Year, won a pair of matches on Friday to move into Saturday morning's quarterfinal round.
There Mission Hills' Norton faces five college-aged players and Wichita mid ams Mark Jolliffe and Charlie Stevens among the event's version of the Elite Eight. Norton, who won Kansas Am titles in 1980 at Topeka Country Club and 2002 at Wichita's Tallgrass, defeated Hutchinson's Thane Ringler 5 and 4 and KGA Junior Golf Manager Tyler Cummins 7 and 6 of Lawrence on Friday. Only three men have won three or more Kansas Amateur titles.
Norton will take on championship medalist and Wichita State golfer Hunter Sparks at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in the first quarterfinal match. Oklahoma City's Sparks advanced with a morning 19-hole win over Andy Smith and a 3 and 2 third-round victory over University of Kansas men's golf coach Kit Grove.
The other quarterfinal on that side of the bracket matches a pair of Wichita 40-somethings in Charlie Stevens and Mark Jolliffe. Stevens, in commercial real estate, ousted Kansas University golfer Nate Barbee 1 up in the morning and then beat Wichita high schooler David Auer 5 and 4 in the afternoon. Jolliffe, a middle school principal who played and coached at Newman College, defeated Chris Grause 4 and 3 to start the day and then outlasted 2009 KGA Junior Amateur champion Myles Miller of Wellington 2 and 1 in their third-round match. Stevens and Jolliffe tee it up at 7:40 Saturday morning.
The lower half of the bracket is dominated by those in, about to be in or just out of college. Thomas Birdsey, a soon-to-be Kansas State freshman, advanced with Friday victories over his future teammate Jason Schulte 2 and 1 in the second round and 5 and 3 over recently graduated Wildcat Joe Ida of Fort Scott in the third. The Trophy Club, Texas, native takes on KSU sophomore Ben Juffer of West Des Moines, Iowa, in an 8 a.m. quarterfinal Saturday. Juffer defeated his KSU teammate Kyle Smell 3 and 2 in their morning match and hung to beat Missouri St. Jack Couringon of Wichita 1 up in the third round.
The 7:50 a.m. Saturday quarterfinal match includes Kansas graduate Andrew Storm vs. Kansas St. incoming freshman Matthew Helms. Storm, the No. 2 seed from Omaha, Neb., defeated Tyler Norris 4 and 3 in the morning and edged Topeka's Sam Wempe 1 up in their afternoon third-round match. Helms of Edmond, Okla., beat Trevor Johanson 3 and 2 in the morning and also got a 1 up win in the third round, his coming over Wichita's Steve Newman.