HUTCHINSON, Kan. — It's been 49 years since his father Johnny won the second of two straight Kansas Amateur titles and Sunday Johnny Stevens, adorned in caddie bib, watched his son win the 100th Anniversary Championship 4 and 3 over former University of Kansas golfer Andrew Storm. It is a fitting surname for the champion of the centennial event which was held at one of the Sunflower State's top facilities in Hutchinson's Prairie Dunes Country Club.
"It's huge, its exciting and there is some amount of weight lifted off shoulders," Stevens said of winning the event at age 40. "It was just fun. My dad on the bag this week helped a lot and you know he's pretty calm. My grandma in the crowd really made me more nervous, so they cancelled each other out."
Stevens, in commercial real estate management in Wichita, took advantage of the scorching championship week's first mild conditions and got the 23-year-old Storm down in the match early. Stevens never trailed and led by as many as four holes midway through the afternoon round, before closing out Storm at the par-3 15th -- their 33rd hole of the day.
Stevens, who fell 4 and 3 to Storm in a 2009 round of 16 match at Kansas City Country Club, scrambled his way to a 2 up lead after just two holes of the morning round, making consecutive up-and-down pars at Nos. 1 and 2. Both players made birdie at No. 5, Storm's coming on a putt from about 35 feet on the par-4 hole. But the former Jayhawk was forced to take an unplayable lie after his tee ball came to rest in a patch of yucca near a fairway bunker on No. 6. That led to his third bogey of the round and Stevens' par gave him back a two-hole margin.
Both players made birdie at the par-5 seventh hole -- Stevens two-putting from about 18 feet and Storm sinking a five-footer after a nice pitch from in front of the green.
But Storm, who'll take an assistant teaching professional job next month in Sarasota, Fla., bogeyed the demanding eighth hole and began a stretch of four bogeys in six holes. Still he trailed by just one as Stevens bogeyed Nos. 8, 10 and 13. Storm would go on to suffer double bogey at No. 14 due to a poor chip, and bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16. Stevens took advantage with conceded birdies from about 12 feet on No. 14 and eight feet on No. 16 to build a three-hole margin after 18 holes. Storm’s back nine registered six-over 41.
Stevens, seeded 21st, defeated Bryan Norton 3 and 2 in the semifinals; Mark Jolliffe 5 and 3 in the quarterfinals; David Auer 5 and 4 in the round of 16; Nate Barbee 1 up in the second round; Zach Tucker 2 up in the first round. Second-seeded Storm defeated Ben Juffer 5 and 3 in the semifinals; Thomas Birdsey 1 up in the quarterfinals; Jack Courington 1 up in the round of 16; Kyle Smell 3 and 2 in the second round; Bob Vidricksen 4 and 3 in the first round.
The 2011 Kansas Amateur Championship will be played next July at Hallbrook Country Club in Leawood.