Cliché-riddled Hollywood movies don’t come together as perfectly as the 103rd Kansas Amateur did for Chase Hanna.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Hanna, who was The Star’s All-Metro boys golfer of the year and Kenneth Award winner during the spring, won Kansas’ oldest and most prestigious match-play golf tournament on July 28, the day he turned 19, defeating longtime friend Sam Stevens of Wichita 5 and 3 in the 36-hole final at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills.
“It’s by far my biggest victory, by far,” Hanna said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. You’re playing against the best players in the state and some pretty good players from Missouri also. There’s also a couple of players from out of state, so it’s a great field, and it was fun to win it.”
Hanna, a Shawnee Mission East High School graduate who has signed with the University of Kansas and is scheduled to begin practice with the Jayhawks Aug. 26, tied for fifth during the stroke play portion of the tournament and was seeded seventh in the 64-player match-play bracket.
He defeated Manhattan’s Benjamin Lowman 1-up, topped Garden City’s Grant Vollersten 4 and 3 and knocked off Wichita’s Corey Novascone 5 and 4 to reach the quarterfinals.
“My iron play was really good,” said Hanna, who also won the Kansas and Missouri Junior Amateur titles this summer. “I wouldn’t say I putted well until Saturday and Sunday at the tournament, but I’d hit it well all week. I think I only made one double (bogey) all week, and that was in stroke play, so I kept the big numbers off the card and really made people beat me.”
Hanna’s toughest test came in the quarterfinals when he nipped Zach Vandolah of Kansas City in 20 holes.
“After I squeaked out my quarterfinal match Saturday morning, I realized how everything was coming together,” Hanna said. “I was up the whole match, and then I let him win the last three or four holes to tie me. Eventually, I won on the 20th hole, and when that happened, I really thought I could do it and it might be my year.”
Later that same day, Hanna survived 1-up against Tonganoxie’s Colby Yates, who happens to be The Star’s 2012 All-Metro golfer of the year, setting up the 36-hole championship showdown with Stevens.
Seizing the lead early with a run of birdies, Hanna was in control and closed out Stevens on the 33rd hole.
“It was a lot of fun,” Hanna said. “I was playing so well and have a lot of confidence in my game right now. I knew if I played well, I’d have a good chance to win it. Sam’s so talented, I knew he could go out and flat out beat me, so I wanted to have some fun and everything worked out.”
Obviously, it made for a pretty special birthday.
“That was awesome,” Hanna said. “I always thought it would be awesome to play on my birthday, and for it to happen in such a big event against one of my good friends in the final, it was fantastic.”
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.