Archive for Sunday, July 21, 1996


July 21, 1996


Golfer Matt Gogel must have the deed to Alvamar.

Gogel has owned the course in his last two tournament appearances at Alvamar. He fired a 5-under-par 67 on Friday to win the Prairie Tour Championship with a 13-under 131 and earn the $5,000 first prize.

"The familiarity of the golf course helps," said the 25-year-old Gogel, last year's Kansas Open champion at Alvamar. "You try not to look far ahead in this game. You know you can make some shots up here."

Gogel, who entered the final round with a whopping six-stroke advantage after a course-record 64 on Thursday, made shot after shot en route to a 12-stroke victory over Jay Hepler, Jason Schultz and Troy Halterman. Each of the runners-up, finishing at 1-under 143, received $2,133.33 checks.

Gogel, the Big Eight champion in 1991 while playing for Kansas University, played bogey-free golf for the 36 holes of the Tour Championship. Including last year's 66 to win the Kansas Open, Gogel has shot three consecutive sub-70 rounds at Alvamar.

"That's the first time I've ever done that," Gogel said of no bogeys in back-to-back rounds. "That's hard to do. The greens are big and you're going to have some long putts. I know the golf course well enough that I'm going to hit some shots that are pretty aggressive."

Relentless in the final round, Gogel had five birdies. He carded a 33 on the front nine and 34 on the back nine.

"I didn't hit the ball well the first six holes," Gogel said. "I was playing conservative and protective, but I got away with it because I was hitting some pretty good chip shots and making some great putts."

Last year, Gogel was No. 1 on the tour list (then Midwest Tour) with almost $14,000 and claimed the Tour Championship at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb.

"(Tour director) Scott (Kasl) does a great job getting sponsors and getting good golf courses," said Gogel, who played the final four events on the Prairie Tour after spending most of the year on the Nike Tour. "Obviously we'd like to get more players out here, make it a little more competitive and get the purses higher."

Next for Gogel is the Midwest Section Championship at Oakwood in Kansas City on Monday and Tuesday. He plans to play the Portland Invitational next weekend, and the St. Louis Nike event before defending the Kansas Open Aug. 7-9.

John Hess, a KU golfer in 1992-94, finished No. 1 on the Prairie Tour's money list for all 16 events. For ranking first, Hess received a $3,000 bonus on Friday, raising his total to $13,565.

"I think I was fairly consistent," said Hess, who won one tour tournament. "There were guys who won two times and for me to still beat them out money wise is saying a little bit. Early in the year I made good money when the competition wasn't as good. When the competition got pretty good, I still kind of held my own."

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