On May 22 at Ironhorse Golf Club, 78 players entered the Watson Challenge Qualifier for a chance to play alongside Tom Watson in the Watson Challenge the first week of June.
The Watson Challenge field is comprised of 48 of the best players around the Kansas City area. 32 spots are reserved for 16 players from the Kansas City Golf Association’s top amateurs and 16 from the PGA’s top professionals. After the various exemptions given out for club champions, juniors, and Mr. Tom Watson, the Watson Challenge Qualifier only has three qualifying spots to give.
With 78 players vying for three qualifying spots and two alternates, there was little room for error. The low scores of the day and the first two qualifying spots belonged to Ryan Argotsinger and Scott Willman, both carding an incredible 69 (-3). Argotsinger shot a fairly consistent round with only two bogeys, two birdies, and an eagle on the Par 5, 14th. After bogeys on the first two holes, Argotsinger battled back to finish with a great round of golf to get him into the Watson Challenge.
Scott Willman also shot a consistent round with only one bogey and four birdies, three of which came on Par 5’s. Both players took advantage of their opportunities and limited their mistakes on a hazard-filled golf course.
The top three and final qualifying spot for the day was claimed by Nic Rebne with an even-par 72 round. Rebne started with two back-to-back bogeys on the first two holes but followed with a birdie on Hole 3 and 8. Finishing out his round with ten pars in row, Rebne secured in spot in the Watson Challenge come June.
Nine players sat on the outside looking in after shooting a round of 73 (+1). A playoff ensued to determine the first and second alternate to the qualifiers. All nine players went off the Par-5 9th in hopes of securing their last hope of qualifying for the Watson Challenge. On #9, Connor Knabe and Justin Wingerter beat out the field by each scoring a birdie. Knabe and Wingerter continued on to Hole 10 and then 11 to decide who would be first and second alternate. Ultimately, Connor Knabe secured his place as first alternate and Wingerter will be the second alternate.
For a full field of results, see here.
By Taylor Albritton, KCGA Intern