Golf News for Friday, September 14, 2012 | Tournaments

Victors crowned at 2012 Golf Channel AM Tour National Championships

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Not far from where PGA TOUR pro Matt Kuchar was crowned winner of THE PLAYERS Championship earlier this year, six golfers from points far and wide hoisted trophies of their own at TPC Sawgrass, home to the PGA TOUR and site of the 2012 Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships.

A total of 635 competitors representing 39 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico vied for national championship honors in the season-ending event for the 2012 Golf Channel Am Tour season. The 72-hole tournament, broken into six divisions, took place on four Ponte Vedra Beach golf courses, headlined by the famed Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Championship Flight (handicap lower than 3.9)
Brian Beach from Missoula, Mont., was a model of consistency over the course of the Championship Flight tournament, holding the lead from day one. A newcomer to the Golf Channel Am Tour – having only joined earlier this year – Beach qualified and won in his first attempt at the National Championships. Due to inclement weather later in the final round, he said he had to change his approach to a more conservative style. “Today was a grind with the weather,” Beach said. “I was just trying to make pars all day, and forcing the other guys to make birdies.” Beach finished four strokes ahead of 2011 champion Paul Erdman (Erie, Colo.), who finished in third place.

Beach shot rounds of 73, 73, 70 and 74 for a total score of 290, four strokes better than second place.

Palmer Flight (4 – 7.9)
Michael Healey from Franklin, Tenn., crept his way up the leaderboard of the Palmer Flight over the first three days of competition and closed today with a final-round 74 to take first-place honors. Healey started the day with a five-stroke advantage over eventual second-place finisher Michael Stephanik from Monroe, N.J., and extended the difference to eight strokes in the end. After almost withdrawing from the National Championships to watch his son play in a college tournament for the University of Arizona, Healey changed his mind and started the final round strong, carding score of 34 on the front nine that provided the momentum for his ultimate win. “I got off to a really good start today and I didn’t make any really big numbers,” Healey said. “I think that was the difference for me.”

Healey shot rounds of 80, 79, 74 and 74 for a total score of 307, eight shots better than second place.

Hogan Flight (8 – 11.9)
Jason Conner from Piedmont, Okla., found success after his second attempt at the National Championships and four years on the Golf Channel Am Tour, winning the Hogan Flight by two shots over Johnny Burt from Glen Carbon, Ill. The only other time Conner qualified for the National Championship was in Palm Springs in 2009, when he came in dead last. He started this year’s tournament five strokes behind the leader but, ultimately, turned that into a two-shot advantage in the end. “I had a little bit of a roller coaster day out there today – hit it in some water, lost it in some rough – but managed to pull through,” Conner said.

Conner shot rounds of 81, 80, 83 and 80 for a total score of 324, two shots better than second place.

Sarazen Flight (12 – 15.9)
With a firm hold on second place for the first two rounds of the Sarazen Flight and a tie for first after three, Kenneth Ambrosio from White Plains, N.Y., held steady with a final round 88 to better Dag A. Rasen from Palm Harbor, Fla., by one stroke. A newcomer to the Golf Channel Am Tour, Ambrosio qualified for the National Championship in his first season. He shot an impressive first-round score of 76 and held on with what he described as “not so good rounds” for the remainder of the tournament. After a birdie on the 16th hole today, Ambrosio dunked two shots in the water at the famed 17th hole of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. “Luckily I held off my choking as much as I could and ended up winning,” he said.

Ambrosio shot rounds of 76, 87, 88 and 88 for a total score of 339, two shots better than second place.

Jones Flight (16 – 19.9)
It took a one-hole playoff, but Richard Kelley of Katy, Texas, captured the championship crown in the Jones Flight. Tied with Rick Ramsey of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., after regulation, Kelley’s par on the par-4, 1st hole bettered Ramsey’s bogey. This is Kelley’s second year on the Golf Channel Am Tour, but first time qualifying for the National Championships. “I played last year, but didn’t quite make nationals. This year I made it a goal of mine. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice on my wife’s part, but it feels good,” he said. After leading his flight for the first two rounds, Kelley yielded the lead to Ramsey after round three and overcame a one-shot deficit on the final day for the victory.

Kelley shot rounds of 86, 86, 86 and 91 for a total score of 349, one shot better than second place.

Snead Flight (20+)
Eight shots back with only four holes to play, Paul Nault of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, managed to overtake Californian Scott Fjelstad – who led the tournament for the first three rounds – to capture the championship title in the Snead Flight. “I’m thrilled. I really am. To do this is a major achievement for me,” said Nault, who has only been playing golf for three years. Through intermittent rain, Nault was one of only two players to break an 18-hole score of 100 on the final day.

Nault shot rounds of 91, 95, 93 and 93 for a total score of 372, five shots better than second place.

Information on final results in the six flights appears below:

Championship Flight (<3.9)
1 Brian Beach Missoula, Mont. 73 – 73 – 70 – 74 -- 290 +4

T2 Paxton Song Los Altos, Calif. 76 – 72 – 74 – 72 -- 294 +8

T2 Paul Erdman Erie, Colo. 77 – 76 – 68 – 73 -- 294 +8

Palmer Flight (4 – 7.9)
1 Michael Healey Franklin, Tenn. 80 – 79 – 74 – 74 -- 307 +21

2 Michael Stephanik Monroe, N.J. 80 – 73 – 85 – 77 -- 238 +29

3 Jacob Morton Ft. Hood, Texas 86 – 83 – 79 – 68 -- 316 +30

Hogan Flight (8 – 11.9)
1 Jason Conner Piedmont, Okla. 81 – 80 – 83 – 80 -- 324 +38

2 Johnny Burt Glen Carbon, Ill. 87 – 77 – 85 – 77 -- 326 +40

3 Robert Simpkiss Palmer, Mass. 81 – 74 – 91 – 82 -- 328 +42

Sarazen Flight (12 – 15.9)
1 Kenneth Ambrosio White Plains, N.Y. 76 – 87 – 88 – 88 -- 339 +53

2 Dag A Rasen Palm Harbor, Fla. 81 – 82 – 89 – 89 -- 341 +55

3 Terron Gaines Houston, Texas 87 – 83 – 81 – 91 -- 342 +56

Jones Flight (16 – 19.9)
1* Richard Kelley Katy, Texas 86 – 86 – 86 – 91 --349 +63

2 Rick Ramsey Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 91 – 83 – 83 – 92 -- 349 +63

3 Adam Bray Houston, Texas 91 – 88 – 92 – 84 -- 355 +69

*won playoff

Snead Flight (20+)
1 Paul Nault Victoria, BC, Canada 91 – 95 – 93 – 93 -- 372 +86

2 Scott Fjelstad Trabuco Canyon, Calif. 82 – 95 – 94 – 106 – 377 +91

3 Don Fiets Valparaiso, Ind. 92 – 91 – 95 – 100 -- 378 +92

As the largest amateur golf tour in North America with more than 6,500 members, the Golf Channel Am Tour is open to the public and provides the most professional tournament experience for players of all ages and abilities, as well as offering unparalleled access to some of the most renowned and challenging golf courses across the country. Broken up into 60 local chapters throughout North America, the Golf Channel Am Tour conducted more than 800 local championships and 25 two-day “Major” Championships throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico in 2012. For more information about the Golf Channel Am Tour and the national championships, visit www.gcamtour.com.

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