Jayhawks golfer wins Watson Challenge at Indian Hills. Tom Watson shot better each day

University of Kansas golfer Davis Cooper stayed hot on a cool, overcast Saturday at the par-70 Indian Hills Country Club, firing a final-round 68 to win the 2022 edition of the annual Watson Challenge tournament in Mission Hills.

Going 2-under during the final 18 gave Cooper a three-day total of 197, 13-under overall. Runner-up Michael Letzig, who also shot 68 Saturday, finished at 5-under 205.

“I stayed patient out there and waited for my birdies to come,” said Cooper, who made five birdies before his first and only bogey of the tournament, on No. 13.

Third place went to Overland Park’s Wade Binfield at 4-under 206, fourth to Charlie Hillier at 3-under 207 and fifth to Zach VanDolah, who led the event through 18 holes, at 2-under 208.

Cooper, who won a Kenneth Smith Award honoring the best high school golfer in the KC metro during his time at Blue Valley North, will be a junior with the Jayhawks this fall.

Hillier, a New Zealand native, was a KU teammate. He recently graduated and has played on the PGA Latinoamerica Tour. Many of the men (and one woman) that Cooper beat this week are golf professionals. Cooper retains his amateur status.

Tom Watson, the legendary Kansas City namesake and founder of the Watson Challenge, bettered his opening-round 74 and second-round 71 with a 70 on Saturday, finishing in a tie for 15th at 5-over.

A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Watson, 72, has won the 54-hole, three-day Watson Challenge five times.

The tourney field for 2022 consisted of 50 men and, for the first time, a woman: Overland Park native Gianna Augustine, the first female to play in the Watson Challenge, finished with a 79 on Saturday and placed 49th.

Former KU golfer Andy Spencer had the low round on Saturday, a 3-under 67. A veteran of the Korn Ferry and PGA Latinoamerica tours, he tied for eighth, 1-over for the tournament.

Founded in 2007, the Watson Challenge benefits The First Tee of Greater Kansas City. It typically features the best professionals and amateurs living in the greater Kansas City golf community.

Final-round scores


Davis Cooper 65-64-68—197


Michael Letzig 67-70-68—205


Wade Binfield 71-67-68—206


Charlie Hillier 67-68-72—207


Zach VanDolah 64-73-71—208


Robert Russell 70-71-69—210

Bret Burgmeier 71-70-69—210


Sam Parrott 74-68-69—211

Andy Spencer 72-72-67—211

Joe Bultman 71-71-69—211

Justin Wingerter 66-74-71—211


Jackson Foth 75-68-70—213

Austin Jarchow 74-70-69—213


Chris Mabry 74-70-70—214


Alex Springer 74-73-68—215

Tom Watson 74-71-70—215

Nicklaus Mason 73-71-71—215

Liam Coughlin 72-72-71—215

Sean Dougherty 68-76-71—215


Jeremy Dear 73-71-72—216


Wes Buntenbach 74-69-74—217

Michael Winslow 71-69-77—217


Drew Carlson 75-71-72—218

Ryan Argotsinger 74-70-74—218


Clay Devers 70-76-73—219


Chance Rinkol 75-73-72—220

Zachary Dittmer 75-72-73—220

Kevin Ward 74-74-72—220


Will Harding 72-76-74—222

Robert Wilkin 71-76-75—222

Jeff Sedorcek 71-77-74—222


Ryne Fisher 79-73-71—223

Connor Knabe 73-76-74—223

Chase Lucas 72-77-74—223


Austin Hardison 74-75-75—224


Jeff Sheppard 76-77-72—225

Steve Groom 75-73-77—225


Dave Cunningham 79-75-73—227

Andrew Hatten 77-78-73—227


Tyler Dunn 78-76-74—228

Andy Rumbaugh 78-73-77—228

Sean Cleary 74-80-74—228

Calvin Dillon 72-73-83—228


Ed Brown 80-79-71—230

Kyle Capps 74-82-74—230


Mike Ricket 78-77-76—231


Ryan Eckroat 77-75-80—232


Brad Volker 80-77-78—235


Gianna Augustine 76-81-79—236


Otto Zinn 79-79-80—238


Michael Maki 79-83-89—251