College golfer’s busy month of June ends with victory in championship match of Cincinnati Met tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

After shooting 6-over par in two qualifying rounds, Chris Harpum of Union was starting to think he wouldn’t last long in match play during the Cincinnati Metropolitan Amateur Championship last week at Maketewah Country Club.

Even though the 20-year-old college student was seeded 38th in the 64-player bracket, he managed to win six matches in four days to add his name to the list of champions in the prestigious 115-year-old golf tournament.

Chris Harpum poses with the championship trophy after winning the Cincinnati Met amateur golf tournament last Saturday. (Photos from GCGA)

“I remember winning junior tournaments or whatever but never really an amateur title, so this is pretty cool,” Harpum said. “It doesn’t get much bigger than that around the Cincinnati area.”

The win capped a busy month of June for Harpum, who was a member of the  University of Cincinnati men’s golf team the last two years.

On June 13, he tied for 17th in the 110th annual Kentucky State Amateur with a three-round total of 2-over 218 at Traditions Golf Club. A few days later, he finalized his transfer to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., to continue his college career.

All of that took place before Harpum found himself on the lower half of the leaderboard following the Cincinnati Met qualifying rounds. His first match didn’t go very smoothly either, but he pulled out a 1-up victory in 24 holes.

Harpum won two matches on Thursday and two more on Friday to reach the championship final. The Ryle High School graduate defeated No. 4 seed Alex Rodger, 6 and 5, to take the Met title.

In between his two matches on Thursday, Harpum said he spent a little time on the driving range hitting with his irons and something clicked.

Chris Harpum won six matches in four days to add his name to the Cincinnati Met list of champions.

“I went out in the round of 16 and hit the ball better than I had all week and putted the best I had all week,” he said. “Then from there, I was just kind of flying. I felt like I got better as each match went along.”

In the championship match, Harpum took a 4-up lead on the front nine and extended it to 6-up on the first two holes of the back nine. After Rodgers won hole No. 12, Harpum ended the match with a birdie to win No. 13.

“In the final match, there were a few times on the front nine when I was like, ‘Alright, let’s just play kind of safe’ and I just got a little aggressive away from the flag,” Harpum said. “And then as we made the turn, on No. 10 and No. 11, I was like, ‘Let’s put the hammer down now,’ and I got more aggressive.”

The next two tournaments on Harpum’s summer schedule are the Kentucky Open qualifier on July 9 at Nevel Meade Golf Course in Prospect. The Triple Crown Country Club member also plans to enter on-site qualifiers for the Southern Amateur on July 15 in Lexington and the Western Amateur on July 28 in Kettering, Ohio.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the last couple weeks with the Kentucky Open and the Met, I feel like my game is there and it’s the beginning of something good,” Harpum said.

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