The 102nd Kentucky Amateur Men’s Championship begins Tuesday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville with 156 of the state’s best golfers vying for the title of top amateur.
The Kentucky Golf Association’s flagship tournament will be contested on the club’s Keene Run course over three days, with the field being winnowed to the top 70 after Wednesday’s second round and the champion being crowned Thursday.
Some of the state’s most famous golfers have won the Kentucky Amateur Championship. Former University of Kentucky golfer and current PGA Tour regular J.B. Holmes won in 2002 and 2004. Steve Flesch, another former Wildcat, won the event in 1986 and 1988. Gay Brewer Jr. won back-to-back titles in 1952 and 1953 before going on to win 10 PGA Tour events, including the 1967 Masters.
Last year’s champion, Owensboro native Andy Roberts, will begin his title defense when he tees off at 9:10 a.m. At last week’s media day, Roberts reflected on the game’s ever-increasing level of competition.
“I’m getting older and now these kids coming up are hitting it farther and farther,” Roberts said. “There’s some really talented kids these days, way more than when I was younger. And they’re playing in a ton of events and getting a lot of experience. It’s just a different game now.”
Denver Haddix, a Lexington native who finished second in the last two Kentucky Amateur Championships, tees off at 2:25 p.m. in pursuit of his first win in the event. He predicted last week that because of the unique challenges Keene Run presents, the eventual champion won’t necessarily post a gaudy score.
“I don’t think it’s going to take a whole lot under par to win,” he said. “The par-fives out here aren’t super reachable and the par-threes are very tough. The course has some sneaky difficulty factors that a lot of people might not think about ... but having played out here a bit I have no doubt that the condition will be impeccable. It’s gonna be a great event.”
When: Tuesday through Thursday
Where: Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville
Defending champion: Andy Roberts