Garden City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–The 106th Annual Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship on Sunday proved to be a youth movement. At The Golf Club at Southwind, 17-year old Taylor Larsen and 18-year old Blake Allen matched up. Both competitors were familiar with each other, competing in the Class 6A State Golf Tournament in Manhattan in May. Larsen finished sixth, while Allen was ninth overall.
With both golfers previously winning earlier golf tournaments this summer (Larsen AJCA, Allen Kansas Junior Amateur), it turned in to a runaway for the Shawnee Mission Northwest alum. Blake Allen played bogey-free in the 29 holes played and won over hometown hopeful Taylor Larsen 8 and 7 to become the third person to sweep the Kansas Junior Amateur and Kansas Amateur title.
Allen, who was seeded 47th overall in match play, never trailed on Sunday and played nearly the perfect game. He jumped out to a four-shot lead in the first round of 18 holes, only to see Larsen pull to within one after 17 holes. Allen would win the 18th hole, and was two up in the first 18 holes. He shot a four-under, 67 in that round, while Larsen played well too, firing a two-under 69 round.
The win on hole 18 would propel Allen into the afternoon round. He birdied the first four holes in the afternoon, moving to seven up on Larsen.
Even when it looked like Larsen would take the eighth hole, Allen bounced back for par after hitting into the rough on his first shot. On the 11th hole, Larsen’s second shot on the par 4 was two feet from the bushes on the backside of the hole. It was only fitting that he would chip in the shot for the birdie, sealing the win.
In those 11 holes played, Allen shot a round of 37, including being six-under, 29 on the front nine.
Despite the loss, Larsen played pretty well. After being two-under in the first 18 holes, he was only one-over in the next 11 holes played.
Allen will attend Washburn University this fall, where he will be a member of the Ichabod program, joining his two older brothers on the golf team. Larsen will be a senior at Garden City High School.
Blake Allen, Lenexa
Taylor Larsen, Garden City