On the eve of the 100th Men's State Amateur championship, the most accomplished amateur golfer in state history — Johnny Owens of Lexington — was honored at Kearney Hill Links on Monday night.
The Kentucky Golf Association announced that its amateur player of the year award will now be called the John C. Owens Award
"To read his list of accomplishments, what he's done and been involved in, it's incredible," said KGA President Brandon Neal.
"We thought this would be a great way to honor Mr. Owens, with the 100th State Amateur here in Lexington (at Kearney Hill) this week."
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Owens' career highlights include back-to-back state high school titles at Henry Clay in 1943-44; the Southeastern Conference championship at UK in 1950; back-to-back State Am titles in 1963-64, and the British Senior Amateur championship in 1984.
Owens also competed in the Masters, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur.
He served as a committee member of the United State Golf Association and is a past president of the Southern Amateur. Owens didn't know about the KGA honor until it was announced during a dinner at Kearney Hill Monday night.
State Am at Kearney
The 100th State Am is Tuesday through Thursday at Kearney Hill.
The 54-hole event, sponsored by Appalachian Wireless, will be missing two-time defending champion Jordan Blann, who turned pro.
Seth Blann, who lost in a playoff to his brother last year, is in the 156-player field at Kearney. Chris Morris and Andy Roberts are expected to contend this week.
Morris, a Centre College senior, won the NCAA Division III title last month. The Maysville native was third as a junior and, a few weeks later, tied for third in the State Am.
Roberts, an Owensboro CPA, won the Kentucky Open championship last August.
Three former State Am winners will compete at Kearney: Tyler Sharpe (2008), Charlie Cornette (2003) and Buddy Bryant (1996, '98).