LONG GROVE — A first amateur victory was a long time coming for Kyle Yerington.
But the 31-year-old Davenport resident had to wait just a bit longer as he and Callen Smith battled in a two-hole playoff to decide the Quad-Cities Amateur Tour Championship at Glynns Creek on Sunday afternoon.
Yerington led Smith by one stroke going into the final hole, but he three-putted the 18th to bogey and Smith hit par to force the extra golf with the two tied at 1-under-par. After both shot par on No. 1 to force a second playoff hole, Yerington’s par on the second hole was enough to grab to the title as Smith bogeyed.
Yerington trailed Smith, Brad Hadley, and Toby Kurtis by one stroke after the first round but played well enough to earn the satisfaction of taking home his first amateur hardware over Smith, who has won three amateur events in the last two years.
Yerington works as an ambulance driver and EMT, but it was playoff golf that had a hold of his nerves Sunday.
“I’ve never had my heart beat that fast in my life,” Yerington said. “It was a position I’d never been in. It’s clean slate once you get into a playoff. … It’s a little bit more free, and I was able to take a deep breath and relax and I made a couple really good swings on the first and second holes.
“Seventeen years coming, this one is pretty sweet.”
Yerington, a 2005 Davenport West grad who played golf at Scott Community College, said par-3s aren’t his favorite, but he capitalized on the 194-yard second hole.
“I birdied the (second) hole earlier in the day and almost made a hole in one,” said Yerington. “Par was enough. Callen got a bad break in the bunker.”
With Smith facing a bad lie in the sand, Yerington got his opportunity.
“I didn’t really have much of a chance," Smith said. But Kyle played great today. He deserved to win. He had maybe one bad putt and one bad drive. His iron play was excellent.”
Smith said improving his putting is his main focus if he wants to put himself over the top.
“I know I’m right there," he said. "If I can get my putting just a little bit better, I’ll be one of the best amateur players in the Quad-Cities.”
Ben Peters, who did not compete this weekend, took home player of the year honors while Smith was named runner-up for the third year in the row.
Yerington said earning his first amateur win is a re-invigorating feeling within the sport.
“This game can tear your heart out. Any weekend you play, any shot you play, can just make it horrible and make you not want to come back,” Yerington said. “But weekends like this, hitting shots down the stretch ... definitely gives a boost to your confidence. Seeing a few long putts go in helps too.”