Altenhof, Guptil Take Troon Challenge Qualifier At Harmony Preserve
By Bobby Walker, Space Coast Golf Magazine // September 7, 2012
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the 2012 Troon Challenge, regional qualifying events were held May through July at Troon Golf courses across the United States. A total of 42 teams qualified at these events for the 2012 Troon Challenge Finals, which were held at Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells, California.
CENTRAL FLORIDA USA – Qualifying at Harmony Preserve, Kevin Altenhof and Jason Guptil captured the 1st Place Gross Division. Team Altenhof – Guptil had gone low with a 64, only to be told they were tied for first place.
The sudden death playoff ensued. Kevin ran in a 10 foot downhill putt for par and a halve on the 9th hole (1st playoff hole) to keep the playoff alive.
“The 10 footer was the easy part seeing our first putt was from about 110 feet away” says Altenhof [laughing out loud], “we certainly did not hit very good irons into that green.”
On the second sudden-death playoff hole (Hole #1, par 4), both players were on the green in regulation, Altenhof, just a kick in away for his birdie. It didn’t take long to close it out as Jason snaked in his 40-footer for the win.
“It wasn’t like I was really thinking I would make that putt. Kevin knocked it so close, he had a sure bird so, I just gave it a roll and I drained it – sweet. On to California is all I was thinking,” said Guptil.
“Jason and Kevin are solid players and I knew that they had a great chance at winning the Troon Challenge Finals, especially knowing what great players they are under pressure. In fact they won the qualifier in a sudden death playoff, when Jason made a bomb for birdie on the second hole to seize the win,” says Todd Van Meer – Head Golf Professional, Harmony Golf Preserve.
Getting off to a strong start, Kevin Altenhof drove the 3rd green, a 306 yard par 4, and two putted for the birdie. Just two holes later he followed up with an eagle on a par 5. Jason Guptil made birdie on the very next hole, a 180 yard par 3, and – game on – from there.
A first round score of 63. But not so fast, Altenhof and Guptil, found themselves, again, in another first place tie for the championship after the first days competition.
Not to worry. The two-man team from Brevard turned a hot California Sunday afternoon at Indian Wells Golf Resort into a shootout.
As Todd Van Meer puts it, “they smoked ‘em.” The momentum began on the 3rd hole. Guptil canned a 44 yard pitch shot, for eagle, on the par 4 (the same par 4 Altenhof had drove the previous day). “That 3rd hole was very good to us” says Altenhof. That really got us going.”
They went on to birdie three more holes on the front shooting a 33 (-5) taking the lead. But, the Altenhof-Guptil team was not finished. They followed it up with an incredible 6-under 29 on the back nine birdying 6 of the last 7 holes to win the 2012 Troon Challenge.
“I would like to congratulate Kevin and Jason. I’m really proud of both of them for what they accomplished. We had teams from different areas of Florida come here to Harmony to qualify and it was great that a couple of local guys won and got to represent us at Indian Wells. The best part about Kevin and Jason winning was bringing the championship back to Florida,” said Van Meer.
Nice job guys! Congratulations.
Special thanks to Todd Van Meer and Amber Sambuca of Harmony Golf Preserve and Brandon Fowler and Cyndi Bush of Troon Golf, along with their staff for their participation in gathering facts and photos.