Kern shares medalist honors during stroke play at Arizona Amateur
MARICOPA, Ariz. Kansas State senior-to-be and defending Arizona Amateur champion Ben Kern of Tucson shot a 4-under par 68 Tuesday to earn co-medalist honors with a two-day total of 6-under par 138 during the stroke play portion of the 81st Arizona Amateur at Southern Dunes Golf Club.
Kern, as the defending champion, received the No. 1 seed heading into match play, while co-medalist Paul Welle of
A total of 168 players were entered in the championship. The field was cut to top 64 players Tuesday evening with the completion of the two-day stroke play qualifier. The opening round of match play is slated to begin Wednesday.
Kern, who turns 21 on Monday, opened with birdies on two of the first three holes before finding trouble in the bunker behind the green on the par 5 fourth hole and settling for a double bogey. He finished the front nine with a birdie and a bogey on the last two holes to end the side at even par 36.
He started the back nine with a bogey and quickly rebounded with a birdie two on the 11th hole and an eagle three on the 587-yard par-5 13th hole. He knocked his approach shot of 240 yards with a three iron to within eight to 10 feet of the hole and proceeded to sink the putt. Birdies on 15 and 16 put him at four-under 32 on the back.
“I’m hitting good again,” Kern said. “I took the double bogey and moved on. I didn’t let it get to me.”
Kern, who will face Tom Hayes in the final match on Wednesday, says his strategy will be to keep making birdies and not let the bogeys get to him.
“I need to take it one hole at a time,” said Kern. “The course is setting up well for me. The greens are firm and I like to hit it high to spin the ball back.”