Tom Campbell wins Kentucky Amateur

Tom Campbell during the Kentucky Amateur on June 22.

The 20th time was a charm for Tom Campbell as he sank three clutch birdie putts on the back nine and survived a bogey on No. 18 to win the Kentucky Amateur Championship at Cherry Blossom Golf & Country Club in Lexington, Ky.

Campbell shot a third round 2-under par 70 to clinch his wire-to-wire victory at 12-under-par 204. Second place finisher Denver Haddix Jr. of Lexington, Ky., carded a final round 69 giving him a 205 total for the tournament.

“I’ve been playing this (tournament) a long time and never really thought about winning,” said an emotional Campbell after his round. “I just had a great week. Everything fell in place. It’s just an amazing feeling to be 44 years old and out here with these guys competing.”

Campbell who currently calls Danville, Ky., home won’t be there much longer. After spending the last few years (since 2007) as assistant women’s basketball coach at Centre College and the men’s head golf coach since 2010, he was named the head women’s basketball coach at Sewanee (Tenn.). He will start his new job on July 1.

“There are so many life changes going on around me that golf is the escape for a while,” Campbell said. “Golf is the place to go to get away from all of that.”

Campbell, who fought off a hard charge from Haddix on the final nine holes, admitted he felt nervous during the course of his round, but was able to pull through. He credits his former players for helping him stick with golf through difficult times.

“I definitely know what my players feel now,” said Campbell. “I couldn’t feel my hands on the putter on the last hole.”

Sometimes the difference between a good round and a great round is a good coach. When the coach can play a little himself, it sometimes culminates in outstanding golf.

After coaching champions during his career at Centre College, “The Coach” becomes one.

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