Weldon adds his name to Jim Tom Blair Trophy
By: Warren Mayes
Kyle Weldon’s sensational summer continued at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.
Weldon, who will begin his sophomore year at Kansas State later this month, shot a 3-under-par 68 to post a three-shot win at the recent Metropolitan Amateur Golf Championship.
Deadlocked with former champion Skip Berkmeyer and Brett Meeske at 1 under entering Saturday, Weldon finished with a 4-under-par total of 209 to defeat Kevin Bell and Berkmeyer for the title.
Bell shot a final round 70, while Berkmeyer had a 71.
Jeremy Franklin, who won the Eastside Amateur title at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River earlier this summer, was a distant fourth at 217.
Weldon’s name is added to the Jim Tom Blair Trophy along with such great champions as Don Bliss, Jim Holtgrieve, Berkmeyer, and many other St. Louis’s great amateurs.
“It is a pretty special feeling to be able to add my name to the list of champions at such a young age,” said Weldon, who graduated from Parkway South.
This was Weldon’s third time playing in the tournament. In his first time at Meadowbrook Country Club, he missed the cut. He did better last year at St. Louis Country Club with a top 20 finish.
This year, he broke through and won.
Next week, Weldon will be playing in the U.S. Amateur. Weldon won the qualifying tournament last month at Gateway National. The tournament begins Monday and runs through Aug. 19 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Winning the Metropolitan Amateur gives Weldon momentum going into the top amateur event in the nation. He said he felt good about his opportunity heading into the tournament.
“I wanted to give myself a good chance to win,” Weldon said. “I expected to be in one of the last few groups in the final round and make a run from there.”
He opened with a 71 and followed it with a 70 to make the final round. Both rounds were played in scorching triple-digit heat.
“The first two rounds were solid for me,” Weldon said. “The first day I played very well just had the one bad hole which was the double bogey on 10. In the second round, I also played very solid, almost lost it at the end with bogies on my 15th (No.6) and 16th (No.7) holes, but then birdied my 17th (No. 8) and my 18th (No.9) holes to hold the round together.”
The final round was delayed 4 1/2 hours by a rare rain storm that hit the area, which has been one of the driest years on record.
The rain gave Weldon an opportunity to stay rested.
“Luckily the rain delay didn’t effect me because I just stayed in bed,” Weldon said. “It softened up the course a little bit, mainly the greens, but overall the course stayed in fantastic shape.”
Berkmeyer, 38, suffered from too much heat and went to St. John’s Mercy Hospital. He spent the night there, taking fluids. He was cleared by his doctor to play and the weather delay enabled him to get on the course and compete.
“I talked to (MAGA’s Executive Director) Curt Rohe, and Skip the night before and at that point Skip was still in the hospital and planning on not playing the final round,” Weldon said. “The rain delay allowed Skip some extra time to make it out to Old Warson and I was very happy to see him there. Having Skip play the final round makes the win feel better because you have to beat the best to be the best and I think everyone knows that Skip is easily one of the best around, and a player who I have tremendous respect for.”
The two played in the match play part of the Missouri Amateur this summer. Berkmeyer scored a 4 & 3 win to advance and go to finish second in the tournament.
“I have just gotten to know Skip better this year through our match in the Missouri Amateur,” Weldon said.
In the third round, Weldon made five birdies to fire the low round of the tournament with a 68.
“This final round is definitely one of my top five best rounds ever,” Weldon said. “I feel like I still left a couple shots out there but 68 in the final round of a Metro Am championship is a pretty special round.”
He wrapped up his victory for all practical purposes with a birdie on No. 13.
“I knew that was going to be one of the hardest, if not the hardest hole on the course,” Weldon said. “Making a birdie there gave me a four shot lead and loads of confidence to finish the round. Then when I made birdie on 17 I knew I pretty much had it wrapped up.”
With that, he scored what he called “probably my biggest and most exciting win.”
The tournament is one of the top events in the local golf scene. To win it, gives Weldon the knowledge how he ranks among the amateurs in the region.
“It is a tournament that everyone in the area looks forward to playing well in,” Weldon said. “The field is stacked and it is a great measuring stick to see how your game matches up to other golfers in the area. It’s just a very special win for me.”
Weldon said he had help getting to this point in his golf career.
“I want to thank my parents, Keith and Lisa, my swing coach Scott Worley, and my caddie Tim Agne, who all were such huge supporters of mine,” Weldon said.