Chris Morris’ impressive run over the last month or so continued this week at the Kentucky State Amateur Championship.
The recent Centre College graduate, who won the NCAA Division III men’s golf title last month, finished second to Patrick Newcomb of Benton by two strokes at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington.
“It was a close call. I played well enough to get around. I didn’t necessarily have the best week, but I played solid three days in a row,” said Morris, who was 5 under par for the 54-hole tournament and finished runner-up for the second year in a row. “I had a couple of bad swings which ultimately cost me, but I’m pretty happy. And it was a good sign for the rest of the summer.”
Morris finished with a 72 in Thursday’s final round — as did Newcomb — and had the lead going into the 16th hole.
However, he hit a ball in the left hazard and wound up making double bogey, and Newcomb bogeyed the hole and the two were tied with two hokes to play.
“Then he had a birdie on 17, and on 18 he hit it 10 feet from the hole (and birdied), so I won’t really feel like I lost it,” Morris said. “He hit two good shots on the final holes.”
While disappointed he didn’t win this week, Morris has liked how he’s playing going into the Monroe Invitational in PIttsford, N.Y., next week.
“I’ve been happy with the way I’ve been playing over the last month, ever since the SCAC,” Morris said of his conference tournament which he won. “I’ve been fighting a couple of back injuries the last couple of weeks, which kept me from doing some of the things I wanted to do.
“But that’s part of it. You have to watch, because if you push too hard, you can blow the rest of your summer. I’ll take it one day at a time and see how I feel every day.”
And it’s shaping up to be a big summer for Morris.
He has a couple of other tournaments scheduled before playing in the Southern Amateur Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., July 13-16. Morris will then play in the Porter Cup in Niagara Falls, N.Y., July 26-30, then will play the Western Amateur in Glenview, Ill., Aug. 1-6.
After that, Morris will turn his attention to a possible pro career.
“I’ve actually been leaning toward a pro career the last month or so,” he said. “Right how, I’m going to play out my amateur events this summer, and this will be a good measuring stick for me. I’ll see where I fall, and then try Q-school (PGA Tour qualifying) in the fall.
“I think it’s one fo the thing you not only think about for the rest of your life, but I’m not ready to say it’s over. I think there’s still a chance for me to improve.”
Recent Boyle County High School graduate Grant Blevins finished tied for 38th with a 71-76-77—224, while Tom Campbell of Danville finished tied for 67th after his 75-75-79—229.