Hogan & Lyons Win KC Junior Championship

The 2023 Kansas City Junior Championship, presented by Granite Garage Floors, was held at Winterstone Golf Course in Independence, Missouri, and concluded on Tuesday, June 6th.

Alex Hogan won the event for the boys at five-under for the two days. Hogan carded two rounds of 71-68 for a 36-hole total of 139. Liz Lyons won the event for the girls at six-over-par the two days. Lyons went 74-73 for a two-day tournament total of 147.

Alex Hogan claimed his first Central Links Champion event at five-under. He was tied for fourth, scoring one-under, after the first round at the KC Junior Championship. However, Hogan started his final round strong with a birdie on number one. He ended the day with five birdies and one bogey. Jacob Frazel finished runner-up after his first round of shooting even par. Frazel had two eagles in his final round, which helped him finish three-under. He claimed solo second, beating Benjamin Wheeler, Tyler Strong, and Jack Randall by one stroke. 

Liz Lyons started Monday’s round with a birdie on the second hole and a double bogey on the fourth. However, she stayed in it and finished her day two-over, leading the tournament by one stroke. In the final round, Lyons started with two bogeys but kept her head in there and birdied fourteen and sixteen for a nice comeback. Lyons claimed her first Central Links Junior Championship title at three-over par.

Alexa Garrett earned runner-up, finishing the tournament at nine-over-par. On Monday, Garrett had a tough day finishing her round with three double-bogeys. However, she was on a hot streak in the final round, finishing the day with six birdies. Garrett ended her final-round one over and beat Lynn Powell by one stroke to claim solo second.

Benjamin Wheeler, Tyler Strong, and Jack Randall tied for third place at two-under. Lynn Powell and McKenzie Kelso tied for third place at ten-over.

Full Results >>

A Win at Home: Nicklaus Golf Club Head Pro Wins at Watson Challenge

Round 3 Results >>

The final round of the Watson Challenge concluded on Saturday afternoon at the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate. Robert Russell, Head Golf Professional at the Nicklaus Golf Club, won the event by two shots over Davis Cooper and Joseph Winslow.

Russell started his day one shot back from the lead and stayed steady shooting even-par on his front nine. After making the turn, Russell turned up the heat. He birdied four holes in a row and made a fifth birdie on the 15th hole. He shot 68-71-68 (-9) for the event. His Challenge win also earns him an exemption into next year’s AdventHealth Championship Korn Ferry Tour event.

Joseph Winslow made a run for the leaderboard after starting his day in eighth place. Winslow made early strides on the front nine, making birdies on holes four through seven and nine. He fired an impressive round of 67 on the day, finishing seven-under-par along with Davis Cooper. Cooper, 2022 Challenge defending Champion and a member at the Nicklaus Golf Club, shot 71 during his round today.

Michael Letzig finished in fourth place shooting rounds of 70-69-71-210 (-6). Sean Dougherty finished fifth shooting rounds of 70-70-72-212 (-4). Rounding out the top ten were Ty Lasley and Jackson Foth in sixth place at three-under-par. Ben Hadden, Julian Taylor, Will King, and Michael Winslow were tied for eighth-place at two-under-par.

Julia Misemer, the only woman to play in the event, shot rounds of 75-76-72-223 (+7) to tie for 26th.

Pairings, Live Scoring, and Results can be found here >>

Media Contact:
Baile Stephenson

Cooper & Jarchow Lead After Round Two at the Watson Challenge

Round 2 Results >>

The second round of the Watson Challenge began Friday morning at the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate. Leading the pack of golfers for the second day in a row was Davis Cooper, a Senior of the University of Kansas Men’s Golf Team and 2022 Watson Challenge Champion. Cooper shot 70 (-2) on his round which included making an 8-foot putt on hole 10 for eagle.

New to the leaderboard is Austin Jarchow, PGA Professional, who shot 67 (-5) on his round after shooting 71 (-1) on Thursday. Jarchow carded seven birdies on his scorecard today, “I executed the small things better [today], I really hit it well enough yesterday to go low and made some dumb mistakes,” he said.

Michael Letzig and Robert Russell are tied for third at five-under-par going into the final round on Saturday. Sean Dougherty and Michael Winslow are tied for fifth at four-under-par. Ben Pearson finds himself in solo-seventh at three-under. Rounding out the top ten are Jackson Foth, Joseph Winslow, and Will King at two-under.

Julia Misemer, the only female in the field, sits T26 after shooting 75-76 (+7).

The Final Round of the Challenge will begin at 7:30 AM Saturday morning. Tom Watson will be present at the awards ceremony following play.

Pairings, Live Scoring, and Results can be found here >>

Media Contact:
Baile Stephenson

Three Lead During Round One at the Watson Challenge

Round 1 Results >>

The Watson Challenge began Thursday morning at the Nicklaus Golf Club at Lionsgate. The field comprised of 47 men and one woman, are competing to determine the best golfer in Kansas City.

Leading the field at four-under-par are Davis Cooper, Michael Winslow, and Robert Russell.

Cooper won the Challenge in 2022 and holds a home course advantage as a member at Lionsgate. Cooper carded an early double bogey in his round but wasn’t concerned “I knew I still had four par fives left on the day so I wasn’t too stressed about it”, he said after going on to make eight birdies during the round.

Russell, who also holds a home course advantage as the Head Golf Professional at Lionsgate, had an impressive round today. After an unfortunate bogey on the par-three-eighth hole, Russell holed out for an eagle on nine; “I knew it was going to be good, but I never dreamed it would be in the hole,” Russell said.

M. Winslow, a Junior on the Wichita State University Golf Team, also shot 68 today. Winslow carded five birdies on the front nine this morning on holes two, four, five, six, and seven. The key to his success? “I putted the ball really well today and my wedges were really good,” Winslow said.

Players to watch going into Friday’s round include David Jenkins who shot 69 (-3). Will King, Sean Dougherty, Michael Letzig, and Julian Taylor all are tied for fifth after shooting 70 (-2). Joseph Winslow and Austin Jarchow shot 71 (-1) to round out the top 10.

Round two begins at 7:30 AM Friday morning.

Pairings, Live Scoring, and Results can be found here >>

Media Contact:
Baile Stephenson

Nicklaus Golf Club at Lionsgate Set to Host Watson Challenge

For Immediate Release

Overland Park, Kansas – The Watson Challenge, hosted by namesake Tom Watson, is set to take place Thursday, June 1 through Saturday, June 3 at The Nicklaus Golf Club at Lionsgate. The Watson Challenge offers the strongest field of amateur and professional golfers in the Kansas City area.

The Watson Challenge is an annual 54-hole golf championship held “To Determine the Best Golfer in the Greater Kansas City Golf Community.” The event has a 50-golfer field, consisting of the top PGA Club Professionals from the Midwest Section PGA, and the top amateurs living in the greater Kansas City golf community.

Players to watch:

  • 2022 champion, Davis Cooper, a Senior on the University of Kansas Golf Team
  • Past champion, Alex Springer, won the Challenge when it was last hosted at the Nicklaus Golf Club in 2019
  • Three-time past champion, Andy Spencer
  • Brothers Joseph and Michael Winslow are paired together in Thursday’s round
  • Nicklaus Golf Club Head Golf Professional, Robert Russell
  • One woman will compete in the field, Julia Misemer, an incoming sophomore at the University of Arizona

Tom Watson will be unable to compete due to an injury.

The event will raise funds for the First Tee of Kansas City.

Spectator Information

Tickets to the 2023 Watson Challenge are free, but we strongly encourage a donation of $25 to the First Tee of Greater Kansas City. Tickets are available at the Nicklaus Golf Club.

Parking Information

Only players, sponsors, staff, and rules officials are allowed into the clubhouse parking lot. Public parking for the event will be at the Blue Valley campus of Legacy Christian Church at 14301 Metcalf Avenue. There will be a shuttle running from the church to the clubhouse during the event. Do not park on roads in the Lionsgate neighborhood.

Schedule of Events

Tee times will run from 7:30 am until 10:00 am each day, June 1st through 3rd. The leaders will tee off at 10:00 am for rounds two and three. There will be a trophy presentation at approximately 3:00 pm on Saturday, June 3rd.

For tournament information, pairings, and players click here >>

Round 1 Pairings>>

Media Contact:
Baile Stephenson
(913) 558-3663

Yonke Wins Kansas City Match Play

The Kansas City Match Play Championship presented by Granite Garage Floors Kansas City began on Friday afternoon. The tournament started with a stroke-play qualifying round where the top 32 golfers made the cut into the match play portion of the event. The round of 16 matches and Quarterfinal matches were played Saturday, followed by the Semifinal matches and Championship match on Sunday.

Curtis Yonke, a former professional golfer on PGA Tour Latin America, clinched his first amateur win since having his amateur status reinstated. Yonke shot 69 (-3) during Friday’s stroke play qualifying round, making him the #6 seed going into match play.

Yonke won his first match Friday afternoon against Quinn Earwood. After losing his early lead in the match, Yonke made a down-hill five-footer on 18 (his ninth hole) to win the hole. “When I made it, I feel like it gave me a lot of momentum,” Yonke said. He proceeded to win two of the next three holes, leading to his 3&2 victory.

On Saturday morning, Yonke won his match 6&5 against Jeff Mason and his Quarterfinal match against Rj Opliger 3&2.

Yonke played his Semifinal match against Friday’s Medalist, Kit Grove. Grove who made a hole-in-one during the qualifying round shot 67 (-5) on Friday. Yonke made early strides in the match and won 4&3.

Matthew Rau won his Semifinal match Sunday morning against Benjamin Pearson 3&2. Yonke and Rau went head-to-head in the Final match. After an unfortunate three-putt on the second hole, Yonke knew he needed to make his 8-footer for birdie on three, as Rau had an easy birdie. “When I made, I felt like it was crucial from keeping momentum away from him,” Yonke said.

Yonke certainly kept the momentum in his favor, he won holes 5, 6, and 7 before making the turn at 3 up. On the back nine, the match alternated from 2 up to 3 up before Yonke went 3 up on 16 to win the match.

“This is my first amateur win since getting my status back and it was really cool and a ton of fun. It was one of my goals this year and to achieve it this week, especially on Mother’s Day with my wife and girls with me, was really special. My wife is the reason I get to play a decent amount of golf, so this one goes out to her,” Yonke said, “My hope is that this is just the begging of a successful amateur career for me.”

Yonke’s win also gets him an exemption into the Watson Challenge on June 1-3 at Nicklaus Golf Club at Lionsgate.

View full results here >>

Final Four at the Kansas City Match Play

Four golfers will continue to the Semifinal matches on Sunday Morning at the Kansas City Match Play Championship.

Benjamin Pearson vs. Matthew Rau
Kit Grove vs. Curtis Yonke

Pearson won his morning match against Chance Rinkol 2&1, and his Quarterfinal match against Drew Carlson 4&2.

Rau won his morning match against Cam Wilste after 19 holes, and his Quarterfinal match against Joseph Kinny 3&2.

Grove, the qualifying round Medalist, won his morning match against Justin Wingerter 6&5, and his Quarterfinal match against Nathaniel Spencer 3&1.

Yoke, a former professional golfer on PGA Tour Latin America, won his morning match against Jeff Mason 6&5, and his Quarterfinal match against RJ Opliger 3&2.

The Semifinal matches will begin at 7:30 AM Sunday morning.

Pairings, live scoring, and results can be found here >>

Day 1 Recap

The Kansas City Match Play Championship Presented By Granite Garage Floors Kansas City began today at Swope Memorial Golf Course.

Grove Makes Hole-in-One and Earns Medalist Honors with Carlson

The Stroke Play Qualifying round took place on Friday morning at Swope Memorial Golf Course. The top 32 golfers advanced into the Match Play Bracket.

Kit Grove and Drew Carlson shared medalist honors after shooting five-under-par in Friday’s qualifying round. Grove made four birdies and a hole-in-one on the front nine. His ace, on the eighth hole, was followed by a birdie on the ninth. Grove made two birdies and two bogies on the back nine to shoot 67. Carlson made six birdies and one bogey on his round, including two sets of back-to-back birdies on holes 12 & 13 and 15 & 16.

2021 KC Match Play Champion, Doug Albers, is looking to add a second KC Match Play Title to his name after shooting 70 (-2).

The Round of 32 Matches began Friday afternoon.

Notable Matches

#1 Seed Drew Carlson vs. #32 Seed Kris Casburn >> Carlson, who earned Medalist in Round 1, won his match 3&2.

#2 Seed Kit Grove vs. #31 Andrew Conrad >> Grove, who earned Medalist in Round 1, won his match 2&1.

#15 Seed Justin Wingerter vs. #18 Seed Connor MacGee >> Wingerter the 2018 KC Junior Champion and MacGee who just qualified to play in the Watson Challenge went head-to-head this afternoon, Wingerter won 2&1.

#4 Seed Lucas Larson vs. #29 Seed Matthew Rau >> A fun match to track, Larson and Rau went back and forth throughout the afternoon. Eventually, Rau won 1 up.

Master the Squat To Stay in Posture And Increase Speed

The squat is one of golf’s most important, yet most incorrectly performed exercises.

Why is the squat so important for you the golfer to train?

If a golfer has difficulty performing a full lower body squat with heels on the ground, it will be almost impossible for them to maintain posture during their downswing.

This usually manifests itself as what we call ‘early extension’ which is thrusting your lower body towards the golf ball and raising your trunk up during the downswing.

A common question I get asked is, “well we’re not supposed to squat that far down during the golf swing so why does that matter?” While you would be right in saying that, what is in question is the golfers’ ‘pattern’.

Without getting into the weeds on motor patterns, the sensation of your center of mass moving down and back on your transition from the top of your swing and into your downswing is a foreign concept and feel in people who can’t complete a full deep squat pattern. Therefore, they will be more likely to ‘stand up’ on the downswing too early as previously stated.

If you tend to do this in your golf swing, mastering the squat is for you!

Your lower body power is your number one power source in for generating clubhead speed.

You want to hit it farther? You need lower body strength. You want to know how to get lower body strength? Start squatting…but be wise and do it correctly!

How to master the squat:

Let’s start with what an optimal or functional squat entails. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I can nerd out on the components of an optimal squat..but for this article’s purpose I’ll give you my top hitters I look for so that you can apply for yourself:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart (or wider) – with toes pointed slightly outward – arms extended out in front (if just starting with body weight)
  2. The low back should be in a ‘slightly’ arched or neutral position
  3. Allow the hips and knees to slowly flex while keeping the torso-to-floor angle relatively constant (meaning do not flex the torso forward or round the back)
  4. Keep the heels on the floor and the knees aligned over the feet
  5. Continue flexing the hips and knees until the tops of the thighs are parallel to the floor, the trunk begins to round or flex forward, or the heels rise off the floor
  6. Extend the hips and knees back to the starting position

There you go! To say I see a lot of poor squatting patterns in the gym would be an understatement…

Why is it so hard for most people to perform a safe, functional squat? Simply put, it’s a complex movement that requires so many areas of your body to perform. That’s why it’s such a good assessment for me the PT to use on my golfers!

There can be a host of reasons why someone is unable to perform a good squat, but I’ll give you my top five:

  1. Limited ankle dorsiflexion mobility
  2. Limited T-spine extension mobility
  3. Limited hip mobility
  4. Limited knee mobility
  5. Core stability

You can assess a couple of those items yourself at home right now by claiming your free home assessment here!

How is your squat?

Safety and longevity in the game is a premium for a golfer of any age. However, it’s most important for the aging population. Younger players can get away with poor squatting technique way better than aging golfers. As we age, we don’t heal as well or as fast as when we were younger. The last thing you want to do is attempt to do an exercise only to ruin a month of golf or worse miss out on a tournament or your buddies’ golf trip because your back is messed up from ‘working’ out.

If you don’t have a trusted Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in golf supervising your squat to minimize early extension or increase your lower body strength/power to pick up some club head speed, we’d love to help.

We’ve done all the studying on how to safely perform and apply these things to your golf game so you don’t have to.

Let us help you and give us a call at 214-998-9904 or email

Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Roberts is the owner of Roberts PT, a golf PT and Performance Center in Kansas City. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the game of golf.

Asked & Answered: Sprinkler Heads in Line of Play

Question: Are drops allowed when sprinkler heads are on your line of play around the green? I see the pros doing it, but didn’t know if it was a USGA rule change or just a PGA Tour change.

Answer:  The relief you see here is a local rule allowing relief for line of play specifically for sprinkler heads near putting greens. We use the same local rule in Central Links events, but the local rule must be in place for this relief to be available. Normally a player is not entitled to free relief if an obstruction is simply on their line of play.  

Submit a Rules question for Todd to answer here.

Todd Stice is our in-house Rules of Golf Expert. You can learn more about Todd here.

New Junior Events in 2023

Central Links Golf is excited to announce some new junior events in 2023! For the first time in a while, juniors will have the opportunity to play events outside of the summer season. Learn more about our new junior offerings below!

Girls Spring Swing Series

Introducing a girls-only spring series that is open to all playing abilities. Girls just need an active GHIN number with a CLG club and a partner!

Girls are welcome to play in all three or just one event. It’s not mandatory to play in all three. This fun, laidback series offers a variety of formats to keep the mood light and entertaining!

All events are afternoon tee time starts and girls will play with their partner and two other girls in a foursome. A Team Champion and Team Runner-Up prize will be given out at each event as well as Player of the Year points. All players will receive a small gift for joining this new series!

Fields are limited to the first 40 girls (20 teams), so register soon if interested! Grab a friend and we’ll see you this spring!


  • April 29th at Tomahawk Hills GC – Best Ball format
  • May 7th at Emporia GC – Alternate Shot format
  • May 14th at Hesston GC – Scramble format

Boys Fall Series

Similar to the Girls Spring Swing, Central Links Golf is introducing a new team series for junior boys this fall.

Each tournament will have a different format and partner element. These tournaments are open to all playing abilities and only require an active GHIN number. This competitive yet fun series will allow our juniors to play in formats they may have never tried before!

Each event with be an afternoon tee time start and fields are limited to the first 60 boys (30 teams). Prizes will be given to the Champion and Runner Ups, and Player of the Year points will also be awarded.


  • September 10th at Salina Municipal – Individual Gross & Partner Blind Draw
    Players will compete against the field as an individual and as a team. Partners will be decided randomly after the round and both an individual and team Champion will be crowned.
  • September 24th at Lake Shawnee – 9/9 Format (Alternate Shot & Shamble)
    Players will compete as a team with a partner of their choosing in an 18-hole tournament (9 holes of alternate shot and 9 holes of shamble)
  • October 1st at Auburn Hills – Four-Ball (Red, White, and Blue)
    Players will compete as a team with a chosen partner in a four-ball stroke play event. Course setup will consist of 6 holes of forward tees, 6 holes of middle tees, and 6 holes of back tees

Boys Four-Ball Championship

On top of fun one-day events, Central Links Golf is hosting a new two-day Junior Championship: the Junior Boys Four-Ball Championship.

This Championship is open to all junior boys with an active GHIN number. This 36-hole stroke-play event with be a team four-ball event. Players will choose their partner and compete as a team with the best ball for each hole counting as the team score.

Trophies for Team Champions and Runner Ups will be presented and Player of the Year points awarded.

  • Dates: October 14 & 15 at Ironhorse Golf Club

Junior Golf is booming and we are excited to offer these new events to our junior players. We hope you are all as excited as we are!

You can register for these events through your player profile.
>> Junior Girls events:
>> Junior Boys events:

Reach out to Taylor with any questions,

Asked & Answered: Cart Path Relief

Question: My tee shot came to rest inbounds between the cart path and a large shrub. There also a large tree roughly 20 yards away between the ball and the green. I had no backswing because of the shrub. If I took an unplayable, I still had the tree in the way. I determined the best play was to hit the ball backwards (towards the tee) to give myself a clear line to the green. Hitting in that direction put my stance on the path. Do I get relief from the path if I’m hitting the ball backwards for a legitimate strategy?

Answer: Yes, as long as the stance and stroke are reasonable and the only play (which it sounds like in this case), interference from the cart path would allow you free relief.  You could drop the ball properly then play to the green.  Sometimes there are great results for knowing how to apply the Rules!