Tuesday's Kansas Amateur Qualifier at Alvamar wasn't exactly pressure packed.
"Yeah, this is a lot more laid-back," quipped Jake Istnick, one of the 26 golfers who qualified for the 89th Championship on July 19-25 at Milburn CC in Overland Park.
Please pardon Istnick if he wasn't overwhelmed by Tuesday's event, which featured 70 golfers from the area.
You see, earlier this month the Kansas University senior-to-be was competing in the NCAA men's golf championships at grueling Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. And just last week Istnick was at the Monroe Invitational amateur tournament in Rochester, N.Y.
"It's a different deal," Istnick said of the qualifier after firing a 5-over-par 77. "You kind of just need to go out and make as many pars as you can today, anything to get it done today and get yourself in the real tournament."
Nine Lawrence residents advanced to the Kansas Amateur, including Dave Tacha and Charlie Santaularia who joined Overland Park's Gary Richter for the lowest round of the day with 2-over-par 74s.
Santaularia, a junior-to-be at Free State High, also knows a thing or two about high-profile tournaments. He is the two-time defending Sunflower League champion and has qualified for the state tournament the past two years.
"You're more relaxed because you're not like, 'You've got to win this. You've got to win this,'" Santaularia said. "If you have a bad hole you don't have to play aggressive. You just try and get some good numbers."
Santaularia came out sizzling Tuesday, sitting at 1-under after chipping in for a birdie from five feet out on No. 13. But his ensuing tee shot found water on No. 14 and Santaularia bogeyed three of the final five holes.
"It was real tough. I'm happy with a 74," Santaularia said. "I'm just trying to qualify, first of all. Then I'm trying to put up the lowest number I can. If it's enough to win it, then you're just glad, I guess. I don't know."
At the other end of the spectrum from Santaularia was Lawrence's Stewart Platz.
Platz, an aerospace engineer at Kohlman Systems Research, had to sweat a little while waiting to see if he would make the cut.
"I'm thinking, 'I wish I would have made that last putt then I wouldn't have to worry,'" he said of a three-foot putt he just missed on No. 18.
In the end, though, his 7-over-par 79 was good enough to advance.
While Santaularia had a relatively easy day, and Platz had a more nerve-racking round, Lawrence's Chris Hutchens experienced a little of both.
Hutchens' front nine consisted of bogey, birdie, bogey, par, double bogey, par, birdie, birdie, birdie for an even-par 36. On the back nine he had four bogeys for a total of 4-over-par 76.
"It was kind of a wild day, really," Hutchens said. "I think I had five birdies and still managed to shoot 76. You're just going out there and trying to hit some good shots. And I guess not doing anything too dumb and not making big numbers so you can shoot a good score and get to the tournament."
-- Robert Sinclair's phone message number is 832-7185. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.