July 29, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – It was an all-Kansas State final at the 102nd Kansas Amateur on Sunday as former Wildcat golfer Kyle Smell mounted a come-from-behind effort to down K-State senior Ben Juffer by a score of two-up, in a 36-hole head-to-head match at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, Kan.
“I am really proud of both Kyle and Ben,” said K-State men’s golf coach Tim Norris. “Last year, Kyle was the medalist and lost in the finals on the 35th hole. This year, Ben medals and loses on the 36th hole, so now it looks like it is Ben's turn for redemption next year. Ben has put together the most consistent summer of competitive golf I have seen in my 22 years of college coaching.”
“Smell has now won all four Kansas Golf Association Championships - Four Ball, Public Links, Junior Amateur and now the Men's Amateur. That is a record that will be very hard to equal. This will be a great boost of confidence for him as he finishes his amateur career at the U.S. Amateur in Denver next month and turns professional shortly thereafter."
A 2012 graduate of K-State, Smell found himself behind his former teammate by as many as three strokes with 11 holes to play before rattling off four-straight wins on holes 26-29. The Overland Park, Kan., native was able to hold off a late-surge by Juffer and take home the event title.
Smell, who was seeded 12th coming into match play, made his way to the finals by knocking off Cameron Wiltse (44-seed), Thane Ringler (5-seed) and Alec Heinen (36-seed), before defeating University of Kansas golfer Chris Gilbert, 3 and 2, in the semifinals.
After tying for the top spot in stroke play, Juffer was awarded the second seed in the match play portion of the event. He strolled through the first three rounds of the tournament before downing former Fort Hays State golfer, Kevin Quinley, 2 and 1, to set up the Sunday showdown with his former teammate.
Next up for Smell will be the U.S. Amateur Championship, on August 13-19 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
A team captain, Juffer will lead the K-State golf team, as they open the 2012-13 season in the Shocker Classic, September 10 and 11, at the Wichita Country Club in Wichita, Kan.