Ansley, Reid nab Wyandotte County Open titles by 1 stroke

August 18, 2011

The 2011 Wyandotte County Open golf championships had almost identical finishes Sunday — neither Brad Ansley nor Donna Reid knew they had won until after the final putt.

“I thought I may have tied,” said Ansley, whose bogey on the final hole was just enough to hold off defending champion Reece Nigh by a single stroke in the 35th annual tournament at Sunflower Hills Golf Course.

Reid learned she had won, as she said, “When it was over and Pat (Seber-Bradley) said she had lost by one. I didn’t know where I was.”

Down by three shots after 18 holes, Reid rallied with an 89 — that was the tourney’s best round — for her fourth championship that knotted her with Seber-Bradley for the tourney record for wins.

A contender since the early 90’s and a past club champion, the win was the first for Ansley, who fired rounds of 72 and 73 for a 145 total that was just one stroke off the tournament record.

“I was thinking about it (the record), but it wasn’t to be,” admitted Ansley, who was even par for the tourney going into the 18th hole. However, the record became secondary when Nigh knocked his second shot to within four feet of the final hole while Ansley’s second shot was long and his putt from well off the fringe rolled seven feet past the cup. Unsure of what the 7-footer meant, Ansley missed but tapped in for bogey.

“I hit the wrong club on 18 so I really wanted to make that par putt,” he said, unaware the bogey was just enough to hold off Nigh’s birdie.

The biggest shot of the tourney, however, came at the 387-yard 10th hole when Ansley knocked in a sand wedge from 103 yards for eagle and a two-shot lead over Nigh.

“When I walked up on the green, I could see just three balls and there was a very large ball mark next to the hole so I knew someone had knocked it in,” Ansley said.

“That was the turning point, very definitely,” said Nigh, who had birdied four of the first six holes of the final round to pull even at the turn. “When I saw three balls on the green, I knew someone was in the hole, and I said, ‘Brad I think it’s you.’”

Ansley stretched his lead to three when Nigh missed the green on the par 3 13th and the two traded birdies on 16 and 17 as Ansley misfired on his tee shot on the 229-yard par 3 No. 16, but then ran in a 15-foot putt from the fringe for birdie on the par 5 17th.

“Brad’s short game was really good today,” Nigh praised.

A sales representative for Source Inc., Ansley credited Sunflower Hills master professional Jeff Johnson for the win.

“Jeff has given me a lesson or two, so I told him he was the reason I won,” Ansley said. “This was easily the best two rounds I’ve ever put together out here. Reece really played well. If I ever wanted someone to putt for me, he’d be the one. He can really putt.”

A Piper native and a driller technician for Kaw Valley Engineering, Nigh’s second runner-up finish was the second for him this summer. Earlier, he had finished second by a shot to Jim Yoakum in the club championship. Three shots back of Ansley’s opening round par 72, Nigh’s four birdies to start the round came on putts of 20-feet on No. 1 and 5 and 6-7 feet on No. 2 and 6. He then had a one-shot lead,­ only to bogey No. 7 and No. 9 and then give up the lead for good to Ansley’s eagle.

Reid called her win in the women’s tournament the “most satisfying” of her four championships.

“I’m a lot older now. It’s been 16 years,” said Reid, who was the first to win three in a row in 1993-95.

Trailing by three shots after 18 holes, Reid took a one-shot lead at the turn despite an out-of-bounds shot on No. 9 that cost her a double bogey. Seber-Bradley went back ahead by one with a par from the fringe on the par 5 11th, but Reid got even with a par on the par 3 13th, went ahead with a par on the long 15th and then protected it with a clutch 3-footer for par on No. 18 that was matched by Seber-Bradley.

Reid credited the win to an accurate putter and keeping the ball in play.

“I had no three-putts, so I was really happy about that because most of the pins were close to the edge of the green, which makes them harder,” said Reid, who was particularly pleased with the par on 15 that put her ahead to stay. “It was a breaking 15-footer and I was able to two-putt.”

“I really tried to keep the ball in the fairway,” added Reid, whose only trouble came with the out-of-bounds shot on No. 9 and pulling a shot into the trees on No. 11.

Seber-Bradley, meanwhile, had no such luck as she pursued a third straight title.

“I couldn’t find any fairways; I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks,” she said.

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