Academy contracting specialist to compete in U.S. Amateur
By By Amber Baillie, Academy Spirit staff writer
/ Published August 08, 2013
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colorado Springs -- A contracting specialist here will take a swing at a leading national golf tournament next week.
Alex Kephart, 26, of the 10th Contracting Squadron, will compete in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 12-18 at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. This will be the first U.S. Golf Association event he will compete in after qualifying for the championship July 22 at the Fort Collins Country Club.
"USGA events are what we, as competitive amateur golfers, play for every year," Kephart said. "The U.S. Amateur is the pinnacle of amateur championships around the world. I'm looking forward to competing with the best amateur players in the world."
The Colorado Springs native was one of three to qualify at the Fort Collins tournament out of 78 competitors. He played for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and has been competing in the sport for about 17 years.
"What I enjoy most about golf is its correlation to life," Kephart said. "So much of the adversity you face on the golf course and overcome is just like facing and overcoming adversity in other aspects of life. My goal for the championship is to make it through the 36-hole competition qualifying for the 64-man match play portion of the tournament."
This will be the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship, the oldest golf championship in the country. The Country Club in Brookline has hosted five U.S. Amateurs and three U.S. Opens, including the famous 1913 U.S. Open won by 20 year-old Francis Ouimet, often referred to as the "father of amateur golf."
"I'm honored to be able to play at one of the most historical clubs in America," Kephart said.
Alex's father, Gary Kephart, is also an accomplished golfer and will caddie for his son at the tournament.
"We are a good team," Gary said. "Alex and I have won the Colorado Golf Association Father-Son Championship four times."
Gary said he thinks Alex's strongest asset in the game is his brain.
"He is a smart golfer and really thinks his way around the golf course," Gary said. "He is also a great putter."
Kephart said he's received a lot of support and encouragement from his department and from players at the Eisenhower Golf Course here who play golf with him and his dad regularly.
"I'm a member at the course and practice there almost every evening during the week after work," Kephart said. "It's one of the great benefits of being a civil service employee for the Defense Department. I've also received a tremendous amount of support from my co-workers. It's exciting to know I have so much support going into the tournament."
Stephen Wallace, the director of the Eisenhower Golf Course, said it comes as no surprise that Alex is competing in the U.S. Amateur.
"It is a great accomplishment to be one of 312 amateurs in the country to qualify," Wallace said. "Alex will be competing against the best in the country and he certainly has the game to do so. He hits the ball a long way and has a great short game to compliment his length off the tee."
Professional golfers who have won the U.S. Amateur in the past include: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Jerry Pate, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
"It will be quite a thrill for Alex and Gary to play the same course where golf history has been made," Wallace said. "Hopefully, Alex will make some history of his own."