Brian Noonan fired a second consecutive 68 at Roy Kizer to finish at eight under par and claim a one shot victory over defending champion Kody King, who closed with 67 to finish at seven under par. Steve Paterson shot 65 to finish at six under along with third round leader Alex Ellis who faded with 76, and Seth Stuart who closed with 69. The win moves Noonan into an elite group of players such as Lester Lundell, Billy Penn, Ben Crenshaw and Roane Puett who have compiled three or more Men's City Championships.
Noonan, who trailed Ellis by six shots at the start of the day birdied the first two holes to close the gap to four and then closed the gap to two on hole number eight with a birdie while Ellis made bogey. Noonan then birdied number 9 to turn in 32 while Ellis posted 37. Suddenly the six shot lead had vanished and Ellis lead by one heading into the back nine.
Over the course of the back nine Noonan caught the leader on hole number 11 with a scrambling par while Ellis bogied. Noonan took the lead for good on hole number 12 by getting up and down from the right hand grass bunker while Ellis three putted from 10 feet. Birdies on 14 and 15 gave Noonan a cushion that allowed a conservative play off the tee on 18 and a so-so iron shot to the green that left a long difficult putt. The resulting three putt bogey was good enough for the win.
Ellis was obviously disappointed and wondered what happened as he scratched his head while making his way to the his second shot on 18, trailing by three. Post round comments from Ellis indicated that the putter was the issue in the final round but the ball striking was good. Ellis will participate in the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills a week from Monday and go on to bigger and better things.
Meanwhile, up ahead of the Noonan, Stuart and Ellis group, defending champion Kody King was making a late run and shot 33-34 to post 67, including birdies at 14, 15, and 18 for a tournament total of seven under par, one shot short of the winning total. King narrowly missed making a birdie on hole #17 when his birdie putt broke left slightly more than anticipated and he settled for par. He compiled a total of 15 birdies over the course of the four rounds but his second round 74 at Jimmy Clay placed him one shot back in spite of rounds of 69 and 67 over the last two days of play.
Noonan teamed with his caddy Jim Hopke over the course of the last two rounds and Noonan credited Hopke with helping him make good decisions on club selections, shot selections and reading the greens. It resulted in a winning combination. Shown here on the 18th green, Hopke and Noonan celebrated the win.
The group of players that finished third at six under par included Steve Paterson, Seth Stuart, and Alex Ellis. Stuart, shown here at the left, will take some time off before completing his final semester at the College of Charleston and then attempting to qualify for the PGA tour later this summer. He posted four consecutive rounds under par with scores of 70,70,70, and 69. His consistent play bodes well for future prospects. He certainly has the length off the tee required to play the modern game at a high level.
In the post round scoring area the players, friends, and staff for the Clay/Kizer Golf Complex discussed the play, celebrated and lamented as golfers will do. All agreed that the tournament was well run and the golf course conditions provided a good test of the golfers skills. Steve Paterson, shown here with his wife and caddy Meridith, enjoyed the commraderie and fellowship of thier friends and competitors. Paterson's last round 65 was the low score over the last two days of play.
The low junior category was captured by Tony Underwood, who played from the same tees as the rest of the field. Underwood posted rounds of 72, 70, 73, 72 over the course of the competiton. He finished T9 in the overall competition and is shown here with Steve Hammond, master of cerimonies, proudly displaying the trophy for the low junior category. Mike Allen captured the low senior honors while shooting 70, 71, 74, 72 over the course of the four rounds. Allen, a former city champion in 1987 has captured the low senior honors for the last two years. He finished T9 overall, along with Ben Carter, Jerry Thorn, Tony Underwood, Gene Black and Tim Mitchell. Carter's final round 68 moved him up the leaderboard several spots.
Steve Hammond, Director of Golf at the Clay/Kizer complex handled the award cerimonies and Kevin Gomillion, the head of the Golf Department for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department did a great job of recruiting volunteers to help with the score reporting, handling the starting duties, and keeping things running smoothly. In fact it was somewhat of a family affair with Grace Hammond and Jacob Gomillion handling the distribution of range balls for the players as they prepared for the final round. Thanks to Grace and Jacob for a job well done. As usual, the PAR group handled the rules for the tournament and they did a wonderful job of being there when they were needed. The spotters who helped players find errant tee shots helped the pace of play and the competitors are grateful for that assistance. Thanks for all who volunteered their time to produce such a great event.
The final round scores are available at this link.
A photo album, including swing sequences from several of the players on the last few holes, is available at this link.