Mikkelsen gets special victory at Lupton Memorial

Mikkelsen gets special victory at Lupton Memorial

May 30th, 2011 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Professional

Kris Mikkelsen hits a tee shot Sunday during the final round of the Lupton Memorial at the Honors Course in Ooltewah. Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Kris Mikkelsen last played The Honors Course during the Lupton Invitational almost two years ago.

He missed last year's tournament after Jack Lupton passed away.

They'll now be linked closer than ever.

Mikkelsen spent the weekend in the Lupton Apartment on the property and won the mid-amateur division of what is now the Lupton Memorial on Sunday afternoon.

"This was a special week for me," said Mikkelsen, who is a member at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta. "To spend the weekend with in Mr. Lupton's old office, to have my wife [Lisa] with me, and to win is a special treat."

Mikkelsen shot a 1-under-par 71 in the final round for a three-day total for 4-under 212. His final round partners Parker Smith and Mike McCoy never mounted a challenge with each shoot over-par.

But Carlton Forrester, a former Baylor School golfer, shot 69 on Sunday to finish one shot behind Mikkelsen.

"I haven't played in a tournament in over a year because my wife [Carol] died of brain cancer in January," Forrester said. "Golf has been a passion for my life. It's just great to come out and see the guys and have fun with friends. It helps you put things in perspective."

Smith finished third, Patrick Christovich was fourth and McCoy ended the tournament in fifth place.

Las Vegas resident Brady Exber won the senior division with a three-round total of 108 points on the Stableford system. Pete Andrews and Steve J. Johnson tied for second with 105 points.

"This was the first senior tournament I've played in," said the 55-year-old Exber. "One of the guys I was playing with said, 'You're supposed to win your first one.'

"Guess I proved him right."

Mikkelsen finished in the top 10 of the tournament two years ago. He played even better this weekend and entered the final round as co-leader with McCoy and one shot ahead of Smith.

Mikkelsen made only one bogey in the first 50 holes of the 54-hole event on the 7,450-yard course which has hosted a U.S. Amateur and a U.S. Mid-Amateur championship.

"I just did a really good job of hitting fairways and greens and giving myself chances to make birdie," said Mikkelsen, who played college golf at Georgia Tech. "You get in trouble out here when you try and do too much."

Smith and McCoy fell behind their playing competitor 90 minutes after their tee time. After six holes, Mikkelsen led Smith by three and McCoy by four shots.

McCoy bowed out of contention the par-3 No. 8 when his tee shot splashed into Lake Lupton.

"I made a horrible swing on No. 8 and that was about it," McCoy said. "I tried to hang in there, but that's all she wrote."

Mikkelsen said he'll remember three swings from this weekend. The first was a short chip-in on the par-3 14th where he lofted his ball on the green and let the contour of the grass roll his ball into the hole for a birdie.

He'll also remember snapping a 3-wood off the tee at No. 15 into the water which led to a double-bogey. He bounced back with a birdie on No. 16. He followed that with a bogey on No. 17 after his tee shot rested on mulch inches behind a fledgling tee which resulted in another bogey.

On the 54th, and final hole of the tournament, he striped a 4-iron from the middle of the fairway to hole-high with the flagstick on the left of No. 18.

"I kind of knew that I needed par, and I hit pretty good shot into the wind," he said.

Mikkelsen made a two-putt par, missing birdie by an inch or two and drawing an ovation from the awaiting gallery.

"You can't call me a good-luck charm," wife Lisa said. "I've seen him play in plenty of tournaments he didn't win."

Perhaps residing in the Lupton Apartment was the good-luck charm.