Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dodge Kemmer (09) becomes 1st American to win on the PGA EuroPro Tour

More news from Dodge Kemmer ('09) about his recent play in Europe and the US:

  -KLM Open
  -EuroPro Integral Collection Classic
  -European Tour School Stage 1
  -Midland Qualifier
  -Fry's Qualifier
  -US Tour School Stage 1

My first event since joining ISM was also the biggest tournament I've played in to date, the European Tour's KLM Open. It began with a direct, 10 hour flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam, arriving the Sunday morning of tournament week.  Most Dutch speak quite a bit of English so I wasn't as lost as I was expecting.  What had been Holland's rainiest summer on record never cared to let up in consideration of the KLM Open, and I spent the whole week soaked.  I played well in round 1 (and birdied my first hole ever on the European Tour), but could never keep anything going; I followed nearly every birdie by a bogey or other missed opportunity.  I did get to -2 through 15 holes, only to lose a ball in small shrubs on my 16th, make double bogey, and finish at even 70.  Due to rain delays, my second round did not start until 5:30pm on Friday, after the course and greens had taken a day of rain, half the field twice and the other half once (close to 200 rounds), and it showed.  Any putt over 2 feet was a crap-shoot.  Needless to say, I didnt make anything and played the seven holes of that day +2.  The cut was most likely going to be level par, so I had 10 holes to get at least back to that mark.  I birdied my first hole of the day (no. 8), but bogeyed 10 and 11. Birdies on 14 and 18 weren't enough to do the job and I missed the cut by a shot.

While I didn't play terrific, I didn't play terrible either; it wouldn't have taken much to go from missing the cut to within a few of the lead after 36.  If nothing else, I proved to myself and others that I can compete and belong at that level.

I then flew to Manchester, England, which would be my home-base for the next two weeks.  I rented a car and drove--on the wrong side of the road--to every tournament and back, mostly without incident.  The first week I played in a EuroPro (British mini-tour) event, the Integral Collection Classic in Saltburn-by-the-sea in North Yorkshire.  It was played at Hunley Hall, a links-style course overlooking the North Sea, and fully exposed to the wind and cold that sea is known for.  The first two rounds each had their bright spots, and I shot 70-68 (-6) to be tied for the lead going into the last round, which was cold and windy--again.  I played well on the front nine, and shot -4 despite missing a 3-footer for birdie on 7, and had a 3-shot lead with 9 to go.  My competitor then made some bogeys to give me a 6-shot lead with three to go; I finished -3 for the day and -9 for the week, 5 shots clear of 2nd place.  I believe I held the all-time record for winning percentage in UK, for the next week.  I made a speech, which no one in the audience could understand (I had ordered a club sandwich earlier in the week, and was then served a ham sandwich), and was awarded a trophy and £10,000.

Next stop was Stage 1 of European Tour School at Wychwood Park, about 30 minutes south of Manchester.  The weather was about the same--cold and windy--but the course was more demanding, especially off the tee.  As q-schools go, it was rather uneventful--which is the best kind--and I shot rounds of 67-72-73-70 to finish -6 and in 2nd place.  I was never worse than t3 (after round 1), and 25 guys advanced, so it was pretty stress-free. 2nd stage is not until late November, and conflicts with Final Stage of PGA Q-school, so if things go as planned, I won't get to return for Stage 2.

Mission complete in England, I flew back to the States Saturday night (barely escaping some of the $470 baggage fees on Continental), and tried to be ready to play the Midland, TX Nationwide qualifier Monday.  I played well enough for 16 holes (including 7 birdies), but made double-bogey on my 8th hole, and bogey on my last, a par 5 from just off the green in 2, to miss a playoff by 2 shots. 

I finally made it back to San Francisco Tuesday night, but had to drive to Napa to play the Open pre-Monday-qualifier.  I managed to struggle around in -2, somehow staying awake the entire 5+ hours and advanced to the Monday qualifier at Bayonet Golf Course.  Top 4 from there will earn spots in the Open next Thursday through Sunday.

After that, next up is First stage of PGA QSchool at Dayton Valley Golf Course, just outside Carson City, NV, October 18-21.

Dodge Kemmer became the first American to win on the PGA EuroPro Tour after he powered to victory in the Integral Collection Classic.  Here is how the EuroPro Tour reported on Dodge's win:

California-based Kemmer, 24, won the event, the penultimate one of the season, as he finished five shots clear of Jon White (Saunton GC) at the Hunley Hotel and Golf Club in North Yorkshire.
Dodge Kemmer with the trophy.
Dodge Kemmer with the trophy.
“I hit the ball well on the first day and putted well on the second with a little bit of both on the third,” said Kemmer, who was ranked inside the top 20 in the world amateur rankings before turning professional in 2010.
“I came over to play in the KLM Open (on the European Tour) last week and am playing again next week so I wanted something to play in this week.
“It’s definitely helped with my experience and I won’t get to play as well as this at every course. The Tour is great, well run and everyone I spoke to has been really nice so it’s been a great experience.
"This victory is definitely near the top of my achievements. I’ve only had a couple of wins playing professionally and this was one of my best showings.
"Every day I did something really well and today in the front nine I put it all together and never had to panic. It’s good to know my game is good enough to win and is a good confidence boost going into Tour School.”

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