Max Kettler Wins North Amateur in Playoff
Southlake, TX – Playing in his first Texas Golf Association Championship, Max Kettler stood victorious after defeating first round leader Devin Jackson in a two hole playoff. Kettler and Jackson finished the 54 hole tournament all squared at 10 under par. 36 hole leader Ryan Johnson finished in solo fifth after a final round two-over-par 74.
Kettler, of Southlake, used his local knowledge of Timarron Country Club on Sunday as he had a chance to become a champion in his first ever Texas Golf Association championship. He began his final round on Sunday two shots back of 36 hole leader Ryan Johnson and just one shot back of Devin Jackson. Kettler saved his best round for last as he carded a five-under-par, 67. Coming off an early bogey on the par four, fourth, Kettler bounced back with a birdie on the short par three fifth before eagling the sixth. The par five sixth played as the second easiest hole all week but only surrendered two eagles on Sunday, with one belonging to Kettler.
Kettler and Jackson turned onto the back nine at eight-under-par with Ryan Johnson at their heels at six-under-par. Adding another birdie on 13, Kettler seemed to grab the momentum as he managed to card four birdies in his final six holes.
Standing on the 16th tee, Jackson and Kettler were still tied at eight-under-par before Jackson grabbed the lead when he dropped a 20 foot putt from off the putting green to a front hole location. Kettler answered right back after hitting his tee shot on the par three 17th to four feet. With two decent drives on the 18th, Kettler and Jackson both went for the island green as Kettler found the back fringe and Jackson the greenside bunker. Both players executed their third shots to give them short birdie putts sending them to extra holes.
Heading back to the 18th tee, Kettler and Jackson struck their tee shots down the center of the fairway, giving them another shot to hit the green in two. Each had a relatively long eagle putt but with excellent lag putts, we were headed back to the long par three 17th for the second playoff hole which ended up deciding our 2017 North Amateur Champion.
With a back center hole, located in between two well designed Byron Nelson ridges, players were again tasked with a daunting tee shot from the tee. Kettler was first up on the tee again and placed his ball short of the hole, giving him 25 feet left for birdie. Jackson’s ball landed on the left side of the green but he wasn’t able to get it to roll down towards the hole giving him 40 feet left. Jackson’s putt wasn’t what he had in mind as it rolled past the hole a good six to seven feet. Kettler’s good lag put left him a kick in par to put the pressure back on Jackson if he wanted to see another hole. Jackson’s par putt slide right of the hole which eventually gave Kettler the win.
Finishing in solo third, was Plano’s Rick Sulzer. Sulzer’s bogey free 68, vaulted him up the leaderboard.
Finishing up with the North Amateur also concludes the points to be awarded towards the North Regional Player of the Year for 2017. With a tie for 11th place this week, Will Osborne managed to outlast contention runners of Joshua Irving, Gant Bills, and Devin Jackson. With his finish, Osborne snatched 500 more points which gave him a clearance of 100 points over runner-up Josh Irving. This is the first time Osborne has won North Regional Player of the Year honors.
The Texas Golf Association would like to thank the membership, professional staff and especially the grounds staff at Timarron Country Club. The golf course was in immaculate conditions with the putting surfaces pure. The golf course played out to 6,990 yards during the final round Sunday with the scoring average of 77. Players finishing in the top three have earned exemptions in the 109th Texas Amateur at Whispering Pines Golf Club contested June 14th-17th.
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