Golf: SMU

Colt Knost confident heading into Players

May, 9, 2012

Former SMU golfer Colt Knost feels a course like TPC Sawgrass suits his game for this week's Players Championship.

Knost, the 2007 U.S. Amateur Champion and U.S. Public Links champion, finished third earlier this season at the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C.

Kelly Kraft makes cut with putt on final hole

April, 6, 2012
Kelly Kraft knew the situation.

As he walked up to the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday afternoon, he looked at the giant scoreboard and saw that the leaders were at 5-under par.

“That meant 5-over was going to make the cut,” Kraft said. “I needed to make that putt to play the weekend.”

It was an 8-foot, downhill left-to-right putt for bogey that would put Kraft right on the number to keep playing Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a do-or-die situation,” said Kraft, last year’s U.S. Amateur Champion and former SMU golfer. “It was a fast putt. If I missed it, my Masters was over. If I make it, I play the weekend. I hit it a little firm and it went in. Everybody knew what was going on. That putt went in and the whole place went crazy. It was cool.”

Kraft was the final player to get into the clubhouse on the cut number, so he will be first off Saturday morning. And since an odd number of golfers made the cut, Kraft is paired with a marker. The good news for Kraft: He’s already played a round at Augusta National with the marker, Jeff Knox.

“It will be fun to play with him,” Kraft said. “He’s a good guy. We’ll have a good time. We’ll get the best greens on the course. They’ll be perfect.

“It will be nice to go out and free-wheel it and let it all out. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve got two rounds left as an amateur and I’m going to try to go out with bang.”

For Kraft, it’s already been an unforgettable Masters.

“It was good for me to be under the gun like that and make the cut,” Kraft said. “I think that’s going to help me in the future, making that putt. I’ll always remember that.”

Kelly Kraft savoring Masters experience

April, 5, 2012
Denton's Kelly Kraft, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion who played golf at SMU, is enjoying every minute of his Masters experience.

Local product Kelly Kraft calls into GAC to talk about his experience playing in Masters for the first time in his career. Kelly says his goal is to go for the win, not just make the cut.

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Kraft played a few rounds at Augusta National the last few months after his U.S. Amateur victory last summer put him in the field. He arrived last Friday and wanted to take in as much of the course and tournament as he could. He watched as the traditional tee shots to open the Masters were hit by some of the greats, including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Kraft is staying at the Crow's Nest, a tradition for amateurs. The four-bed room apartment of sorts is in the Augusta National clubhouse.

"I can walk downstairs to the green and right out onto the course," Kraft said. "A lot of great players have stayed up there. You can take in the whole deal. It's a great experience."

Kraft said there are four small rooms with twin beds and a common area with a TV. He only has one roommate -- amateur Patrick Cantlay. Kraft beat Cantlay in the finals to win the U.S. Amateur.

Kraft is paired with defending champion Charl Schwartzel and PGA Champion (and Nelson winner) Keegan Bradley for the first two rounds. And the entire group held its own in the first round. Bradley was 1-under, Schwartzel finished even and Kraft was at 2-over par.

Kraft managed to make four straight birdies during his opening round, doing so at Nos. 12 through 15. That's pretty impressive, considering that's part of Amen Corner. In fact, Kraft went 2-under through Amen Corner -- Nos. 11-13 -- but dropped a shot at holes 17 and 18 to end up over par.

"I'll take 2-under at Amen Corner any day," Kraft said. "I would have liked to have played better on those last holes."

Kraft played in front of Tiger Woods' group Thursday and saw firsthand all the patrons surrounding the most famous golfer on the course.

"He would make a long putt or a good shot and they would go crazy," Kraft said.

His goal remains what it was when the week started: Make the cut and see what happens on the weekend. He tees off at 12:31 central time Friday.