Golf

Owensboro CPA holds off Shelbyville pro to win Ky. Open by a shot

Andy Roberts reacted after his one-shot victory in the Kentucky Open at Lexington Country Club on Thursday. "I've never won anything this big," he said after shooting a 70 in the final round.
Andy Roberts reacted after his one-shot victory in the Kentucky Open at Lexington Country Club on Thursday. "I've never won anything this big," he said after shooting a 70 in the final round.

Andy Roberts said he once had aspirations to play on the PGA Tour, "win the Masters and be a billionaire."

After college, however, he put those dreams to rest, became an accountant and decided to just have fun playing amateur golf.

On Thursday, the 30-year-old Owensboro CPA had the time of his life by winning the 91st PowerBilt Kentucky Open at Lexington Country Club.

"Man, I've never won anything this big," Roberts said after a final-round 70 gave him a one-shot victory over Shelbyville pro Brandon Brown.

Former University of Kentucky golfers Andrew Stephens and Ben Fuqua, both now pros, tied for third, three shots behind Roberts.

Defending champ Matt Savage finished fifth.

This was Roberts' tournament to win or lose. After firing 71-66 the first two days, he took a four-shot lead into the final round.

On Wednesday, he talked as if he wouldn't be bothered by the pressure of being the front-runner.

But then came reality.

"I was nervous as soon as I woke up and got out of bed this morning," he said. "Then we had a (one-hour) rain delay.

"I was like, 'Golly, can we ever get going?'"

The restless Roberts didn't tee off until almost 2 p.m.

Five tense hours later, he was the Kentucky Open's seventh amateur champ in the past eight years.

Roberts played his best in the clutch. He scrambled from under a tree to make his first birdie at the fifth hole, and he also birdied the sixth.

After a shaky bogey at the eighth, he birdied the ninth to make the turn with a three-shot lead over Savage, and a four-shot edge on Brown and Patrick Vadden.

Things got tight on the back nine, however.

Savage closed to within two strokes before he hit his tee ball out of bounds on the par-3 15th.

"Just one of those shots," Savage said. "I was trying to hit a cut, but it was a double-cross pull hook."

Brown rallied with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 13th to pull to within one shot.

When Roberts bogeyed the 15th, he and Brown were tied at 8-under par.

But Roberts wasn't rattled.

"If you'd told me at the beginning of the week I'd be tied with three holes to go, I'd been tickled to death," he said.

He immediately regained a one-shot lead when he parred the 16th and Brown bogeyed.

Roberts all but sealed his victory by rolling in a 15-foot birdie at the 17th.

"Andy played solid from the get-go today," Brown said. "I fought back on the back nine, but coming in I three-putted the 16th, and he made a good putt at 17."

Brown birdied the par-5 18th, but it was too little too late. Brown, who shot 71-70-67, admitted it was nice consolation to earn $10,000 as the highest-finishing pro.

"It is a good feeling," he said. "I thought 67 would've been a good number to get there. But it wasn't quite good enough."

Fuqua, a Danville native, was pleased with his first tournament as a pro. He shot 70-72-68 to win $5,000.

"I circled this date on the calendar a couple of months ago," he said. "I've been looking forward to making my debut almost in my backyard."

Stephens had Thursday's best round — a 66.

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