WORTHINGTON — Nathan Kerns admitted he was a little rattled after four-putting for double-bogey on the 16th hole Friday in the final round of the Ohio Amateur.
But even with his four-shot lead cut in half, he shook aside any lingering doubts and closed it out with two solid pars.
“I never got ahead of myself because anything can happen,” he said.
Kerns built a big lead and then subdued his nerves after his one lapse to capture the 106th edition of the biggest amateur prize in the state.
The Marshall University senior — he was greeted by a “We are … Marshall!” cheer by his followers after tapping in for par on the 72nd hole — shot a 2-over 74 to finish at 6-under 282.
He was asked what the win might mean for him.
“It opens a ton of stuff. First of all, it opens my mind. I know I can play now with just about anybody,” the 21-year-old from Ironton said. “In these Ohio Ams, there are so many good players. To come out on top, I just feel so fortunate.”
Kerns followed rounds of 66, 74 and 68. He led after the tournament’s first and third rounds, each time by two strokes.
Former Ohio State player Alex Redfield, who shot a 70 to finish second by two shots, had never met Kerns before.
Kerns began the day with a two-shot edge on Bill Williamson and a four-stroke head start on Haley.
He added to that lead after a wayward tee shot on the second hole, hitting a low screamer out of the trees to the fairway on the par-5 hole and then dropping his approach 18 inches from the hole.
Beau Titsworth of Avon Lake and St. Ignatius finished ninth with a 289, shooting 72 on the final day. Two shots behind him was another St. Ignatius standout Kyle Kmiecik of Avon. Midview alum Jay Overy rounded out the area golfers with a 297.