In winning the men’s open singles title at the Lawrence Open tennis tournament Sunday, Free State High graduate Keith Pipkin earned the competition’s $100 in prize money.
Unfortunately for the Free State High graduate and current Baker University tennis player, he had to say thanks, but no thanks.
“That kind of sucks,” said Pipkin, who as an amateur athlete is not allowed to accept money won from tournaments. “One hundred dollars — not to me.”
During Sunday’s final, Pipkin picked up where he’d left off during a dominant two days of tennis. After rolling through the tournament’s first two rounds with relative ease — he enjoyed a bye in round one and beat former tournament champion Jim Stoner in two sets in the semifinals — he took advantage of a number of unforced errors by finals opponent Adam Bales of Blue Springs, Mo., to earn a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
“He almost kind of gave it to me,” said Pipkin, who had played multiple matches against Bales in previous events. “He was making a lot of errors. I didn’t really win it … as he lost it.”
In the men’s open doubles final, meanwhile, Stoner and Derek Gillilan edged Bales and Tommy Johnson, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, to win their second straight title in the event. Huy Ho and Aaron Douglas won the men’s 3.5 singles and men’s 4.0 finals, respectively, and Bud and Kay Pettit won the mixed 4.0 doubles, beating Cynthia Eubanks and Thomas Kurata, 6-1, 6-3.
In all likelihood, Sunday’s finals marked the final day of organized action at the Lawrence Tennis Center, which is scheduled to be bulldozed in the coming days as part of the local school district’s plans to expand the Lawrence High athletic facilities.
“It’s really good to be playing one of the last times these courts are going to be here before they get torn down,” said Johnson, a Lawrence High graduate who played college tennis at Grinnell College in Iowa. “It’s pretty special.”