Houston: The best viewing spot for the final round of the 2008 Texas State Amateur at Houston Country Club was behind the 18th green watching the electronic scoreboard. The name at the top was changing almost every hole. Five different people either led or shared the lead at various points during the final round, and the 18th green was also the spot to see Kelly Kraft seal the victory with a 12 foot birdie putt. Kraft, from Denton , has just completed his freshman year at SMU. It was a good one as he was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year, and earned both All Conference and All Region honors. Now he can add Texas State Amateur Champion to his 2008 resume.
After an opening round 75 left Kraft six shots off the lead, he posted rounds of 69 and 71 to move into contention, only two shots back going into the final round. His named moved to the top of the ever changing leader board with back to back birdies on #10 & #11 to start his final nine holes. Kraft finished just as strong with a birdie at #16 as well as the one at #18 for a final round of four under par 68 and a 72 hole total of five under par 283.
The one word that every player in contention used throughout the week was patience, and Kraft said that was the key to his win. “Patience was definitely the key,” Kraft said. “I wasn’t putting that well coming into the tournament so I had to stay patient. The putts finally started falling at the end.”
The five under par total was good enough for a two stroke margin of victory over runner up John Peterson of Fort Worth , a member of the LSU golf team. That means the trend of youth continues as a college player has won six of the last seven State Amateurs, and the other was won by Paul Haley just weeks after graduating from high school.
Three players tied for third at one under par. That list included two players – Will Hanna and Travis Woolf – who were among the five leaders during the final round. The other player tied for third was second round leader Paul and 2006 champion Paul Haley. Jon Mathias, who led going into the final round, struggled to a final round 75 to finish alone in sixth place.
Top 5 Finishers
Kelly Kraft, Denton, 75-69-71-68--283
John Peterson, Fort Worth, 73-72-71-69--285
Paul Haley, Dallas, 73-67-75-72--287
Will Hanna, The Woodlands, 74-74-67-72--287
Travis Woolf, Fort Worth, 69-73-72-73--287