England's Kimsey wins Terra Cotta Invitational

Nathan Kimsey

— Nathan Kimsey captured the Terra Cotta Invitational on April 7 at Naples (Fla.) National Golf Club. It was a tough battle between Kimsey and 36-hole co-leader Robby Shelton, as nobody in the groups in front could pose a serious charge.

Kimsey and Shelton bogeyed the par-3 17th after both players missed the green on the 183-yard hole and stood at the 18th tied. Kimsey's par was enough to do the trick, as Shelton suffered another bogey, and a 54-hole total of 4-under 212 gave Kimsey the title.

To say Kimsey was warmed up coming into the Terra Cotta and due for a victory would be an understatement.

Kimsey, 20, is a member of the prestigious 2013 English squad and represented his country in the Eisenhower Trophy in Australia in January. Kimsey and his teammates also played a number of major individual events like the Australian Amateur (round of 32) and Master of the Amateurs (T-20) and several prestigious regional events during the same trip. He was runner-up in both the Lake Macquarie Amateur in Australia and the Avondale Medal Play, both top-level events at beautiful courses. In March, Kimsey represented England at the European Nations Cup.

Coming down the stretch Sunday, his "tournament tough" game showed. The 18th at Naples National is a double-dogleg par-5 where placement is key, as few players go for the green in two. Kimsey played position golf, while Shelton, the No. 2 ranked junior, found tree trouble on the right off the tee. Punching out and trying to clear some native grasses, Shelton's ball overcut and found the water hazard.

Both players wedged to makeable distance. Kimsey missed his birdie putt to guarantee a victory outright, but Shelton's putt also slipped by. At 17 years old and heading for Alabama in September, make a note of Shelton's name if you follow the game. Tournament director Denny Glass was impressed with both top finishers' games, and the quality of the younger players' play of late.

"It's amazing to see the poise that these players have," said Glass, who noted that the youngest player ever in a U.S. Open, 15-year-old Andy Zhang of China, was in the Terra Cotta field this year.

"At the Northeast Amateur (where Glass also is tournament director) and the Terra Cotta, there are a lot more better young players than I've seen in the past."

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