MAYFIELD — Hunter York’s second West Kentucky Amateur golf tournament title was “as big a shock to me as it was everyone else.”
Not because York regained the title he first won in 2011 with a blistering 66 on a rain-soaked day at Mayfield-Graves Country Club, but because of how he found himself taking home the top prize.
Two-time State Amateur champion Patrick Newcomb, a longtime friend and former high school and college teammate, took a one-shot lead onto the 18th green, needing only to sink a 8-foot birdie putt to repeat as the West Kentucky Am champion.
Instead, Newcomb three-putted, leaving himself — and York — a bit stunned.
“He never does that,” said York, who played with Newcomb in high school at Marshall County and on the college level at Murray State. “I couldn’t believe it. I was just hoping to get into a playoff. Nobody likes to win a tournament like that.”
York is on a roll, having won three tournaments already this spring — he took top honors ar the Early Bird Invitational at Calvert City Country Club and the Quetermous tournament at Murray Country Club in recent weeks.
“He’s been playing great golf all spring, and he deserved it,” said Newcomb, who took little solace in the fact that a friend and teammate derailed his chances at a repeat. “I’m the most competitive person you’ll ever meet. I want to beat his brains out on the course just like I do everyone else.”
And York fueled his comeback with the best round of the tournament, a 4-under-par 66 that left him with a two-day score of 137. Newcomb was the first-round leader with a 67 on Saturday, following it with a 71. Mayfield’s Jason Lancaster finished third, three shots back of Newcomb.
Lance Davis, who will be a senior at Graves County High School, was fourth at 2-over-par and also received the award for the top junior score. Trey Whitnell, a Mayfield native who now plays collegiately at Union (Tenn.) University, finished fifth.
York went 2-under on the front nine to “put myself in a position to make a run at it, but I didn’t really know if I was in it until I got on the tee box on 16. Their group was behind us, and I never saw what (Newcomb’s) score was until then.”
At that point, Newcomb was at 4-under and held a two-shot lead. But he carded bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 and York “made a tough par on 17” before making a birdie putt on No. 18.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” York said, acknowledging his win streak. “I just hope I can keep it up.”
An immediate rematch may not be in the cards for much of the summer. Newcomb is about to embark on a series of some of the top amateur tournaments in the country, starting with one in Pennsylvania later this week.
Newcomb said he expects to play in the Rolling Hills Invitational in July, but will miss the Irvin Cobb Championships at Paxton Park to play in the Southern Amateur and a U.S. Amateur qualifier in Texas.
York said he expects to play in the Cobb but will miss Rolling Hills to defend his title at the Oaks Invitational in Murray that same weekend.
“I won it last year, so I get a free entry and I need to take advantage of that,” York said, “plus the food is really good there. I go where the good food is.”
Call Joey Fosko, a Paducah Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661.