MISSION HILLS Two former Kansas University golfers beat two former champions in the Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship semifinals Saturday at Indian Hills Country Club.
Lake Quivira's Casey Harbour and Overland Park's Jay Hepler will play in today's 36-hole final. It's the first time either has reached the Amateur final.
Harbour shook off a shaky start to beat Leawood's Marty Sallaz 5-and-3, while Hepler used a solid back nine to overcome Garden City's Sean Thayer 2-and-1.
Harbour was 1 down after four holes before winning four of the next five holes. He recorded birdies on the fifth and ninth holes, and then he closed the match with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15. Harbour rolled in a 30-foot uphill putt to end the match.
"It seemed like the longer I was out there, the better I got, especially on the greens," Harbour said. "My tempo with my golf swing just got really good. I got settled in."
Sallaz, who is a four-time Amateur finalist, won his two Friday matches in convincing fashion. But Saturday he had six bogeys and no birdies.
Thayer carded three birdies and two bogeys, but he was outplayed by Hepler, who recorded four birdies during a five-hole stretch on the back nine.
"The back nine sets up really well for me," Hepler said. "I feel real comfortable on that side. All week I made a lot of birdies on that side."
Hepler squared the match by making a 20-foot birdie on No. 11. Thayer regained the lead when Hepler bogeyed No. 12, but Hepler birdied the next three holes to take a 1-up lead. His biggest putt during that stretch was a 20-footer on No. 14, allowing him to match Thayer, who made a short birdie putt.