By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Kyle Austin rediscovered a competitive itch a couple of years ago and that turned into a rewarding golf experience last year.
Now he’ll try to defend his title in the Alamance County Amateur later this month.
Austin, a 2013 graduate of Eastern Alamance High School, had his interest wane after competing in college golf at Appalachian State.
“Then slowly I realized ‘What else am I going to do?’ ” Austin said. “I got to play in a few events. It was good to get the competitive juices flowing again. I started going back to the course and figuring some things out. I played (tournaments) here and there. I started to realize my golf game is not too terrible.”
Austin tied for fourth place in the 2021 North Carolina Mid-Amateur at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford before winning the county amateur.
The 2022 tournament begins October 14 at The Challenge Golf Club in Graham, followed October 15 by the second round at The Valley Golf Course in Burlington and the final round October 16 at Mill Creek Golf Club in Mebane.
Tournament director Jonathan Dudley, who’s director of golf operations at The Valley, said more than 100 golfers are entered, eclipsing last year’s 98.
The tournament format returned to a three-course rotation last year, much like it had been for a long period before interest waned and the entire tournament was held at The Valley (then named Indian Valley Municipal Golf Course).
“It’s nice that they’ve kind of gone back to that,” Austin said of the three-course set-up. “It feels like (the tournament) has been revitalized. The whole tournament was top notch. The competition is stiff.”
Austin, 27, had entered the county amateur twice and never had a spot in the championship flight by the final round. That changed a year ago with rounds of 66, 66, 73 (in the same course order that will be used this month). That was good for a one-shot edge on Oliver Rotermund, a member of the Elon University golf program.
Austin, who attended Burlington Christian Academy before going to Eastern Alamance for high school, is this year’s club champion at Mill Creek Golf Club. He’s an insurance underwriter in Raleigh.
The 2021 Alamance County Amateur trophy is on display at his house.
“When someone visits, it’s one of the first things they see,” he said. “It meant a lot. You’re king of the county, at least for a year.”