Youth is served at Northern Kentucky Amateur Championships with wins by Horn and Yoder

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Adam Horn added his name to the list of winners at the Northern Kentucky Amateur Championships on Thursday by defeating an entire championship round of golfers older than his age, save for one, at Triple Crown Country Club in Union.

The Wright State University player representing City of Mason Golf Center became one of the youngest champions in the history of the event. Horn, one of three 18-year-old golfers in the 30-man championship round, beat the youthful field by three shots with a final score of 3-over-par 219. He carded six-over-par 78 Thursday, scoring 39 on both the front and back nines while surviving seven bogeys on the 7,111-yard, par-72 course. He had four bogeys total the first 36 holes.

Horn had one birdie Thursday, on No. 5. He had four birdies Wednesday, three on Tuesday.

“This definitely gives me a confidence boost,” said Horn, one of four Wright State teammates teeing it up at the event. “I’m just going to build off it and try to get better.”

Austin Squires, a 16-year-old student at the time at Ryle High School, is the youngest champion, winning in 2013.

Thursday’s runner-up Yadhu Urs from Hickory Hills Golf Club, one of nine 19-year-olds in the final 30, finished three shots behind Horn. Urs, a golfer at Ohio Dominican, finished at 6-over-par 222.

Mason Witt, 20, from The Acres placed third with a score of 224. Four Bridges’ Robert Pickett, the old man in the top 10 at the ripe age of 30, and 19-year-old Brandon Conner of Kenwood Country Club tied for fourth at 225. Zack Beard, 19, of Miami View, and 20-year-old CM Mixon from Boone/Lassing tied for sixth at 226.

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Every other golfer finishing in the top 16 is 21 and younger.

Among the final 30 that made the cut from an opening field of 63, there were 24 players age 22 and younger, including 13 teenagers and 11 age 20-22. There were just six golfers older than 23 in the championship round. One is 24 years old. Four are in their 30s and one is in his 40s.

The average age of the final 30 qualifying players Thursday is 22.3, generating one of the youngest final-day groups in tournament history. The youngest in this year’s final round was A.J. Wilhelm, 17, from the Mason High School class of 2023. Wilhelm frequently plays and travels to events with Horn and 18-year-old Nathan Vonderhaar. Wilhelm finished tied for eighth Thursday at 228. Vonderhaar finished 29th.

“That definitely opens my eyes about the young guys. It’s nice to see that teenagers and college guys are good enough to win,” said Horn, who, despite his age, is already a sophomore-to-be at Wright State. He’s a 2022 Milford High School graduate that never made the state tournament.

This is Horn’s first win since high school graduation.

“I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer,” he said. “My game wasn’t good enough to excel in high school. I would have to give all the credit to Wright State and coach Conner Lash.”

The Raiders’ golf program transformed Horn into a force, and he doesn’t turn 19 until June 24.

“I actually got into six tournaments my freshman year,” Horn said. “Our top four was pretty locked in all year but I was able to work my way into some events. I had a solo third at our home tournament (Wright State Invitational), one shot back of the top two, so I almost won.”

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The Northern Kentucky Amateur is Horn’s second win in a Greater Cincinnati Golf Association event. He won the 2022 Cincinnati Junior Metropolitan as a 17-year-old, joining brother Justin Horn as a GCGA winner. Justin won the 2019 Junior Met.

Adam Horn wasn’t the only Dayton, Ohio college golfer winning on Thursday. In the women’s division, Megan Yoder from the University of Dayton routed the competition. Yoder, representing Fort Wayne Country Club, finished with a final score of 231, good for a six-shot advantage over Dayton Flyers coach Ali Green (237) of Four Bridges. TPC Rivers Bend’s Riley Johnson, a Flyers recruit, finished third at 250.

“We all had a good time. It was fun,” said Yoder, a 20-year-old rising junior at Dayton.

It was Yoder’s first tournament win but not her first championship. She helped lead the Homestead girls golf team to the Indiana high school state title as a junior.

Megan Yoder of the University of Dayton won the Northern Kentucky Amateur Championship women’s division crown at Triple Crown Country Club on Thursday. Photo provided | Dayton Athletics

“I’m excited to finally get one,” Yoder said of her victory. “I’m sure there’s more to come.”

Yoder’s best finish at Dayton as a sophomore was fourth at the Dayton Flyer Invitational, one of two top-10 finishes. She was second on the Flyers as a freshman with a 78.76 stroke average. Her previous best noncollege finish was fourth at the 2021 Fort Wayne Women’s Golf Association City Championship.

Yoder credits her stellar play of late to higher confidence, better focus and staying in the moment. Thursday’s maiden win came in the nick of time. Yoder is leaving the country in July. She is studying in Ireland. She’s signed up for the 108th Cincinnati Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship, beginning Wednesday and running through June 1, giving her a chance for another win before she departs for the remainder of a busy summer.

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“That would be nice to win that,” Yoder said. “But I’m trying not to look too far ahead.”

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