By Ken MacLeod
Maddi Kamas broke into the top 100 on the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings recently at No. 82, a proud moment for the senior from Kingfisher. But there’s really only two numbers that have been relevant to Kamas this summer. One and two, or first and second when referring to where she finishes in nearly every competition she enters.
She won the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour Spring Championship at Shawnee Country Club and the stroke play portion of the Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship at Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond. She prevailed in the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association Stroke Play Championship at The Territory in Duncan, the first high school player to win the event.
She is also three times a runnerup, finishing second to Emily Miller in the OGA Junior Amateur Match Play, to Raychel Nelke in the WOGA Junior Championship at Cedar Ridge CC and most recently in the Texas Junior Golf Tour Elites Cup, an invitational tournament at TPC Las Colinas.
Kamas will be going after another top finish in the Gateway First Bank Tulsa Junior hosted by Bo Van Pelt Tuesday through Thursday at Cedar Ridge CC in Broken Arrow. She’ll have plenty of stout competition in the event organized by Maggie Roller, director of instruction at Cedar Ridge and mother to two of the top competitors in son JP and daughter Jenni.
Spectators unfortunately will not be allowed. The policy adopted this summer by the AJGA is to allow one parent per competitor on the course as well as volunteers and tournament officials.
Kamas is a confident, mature young player with plenty of power and touch and room to really advance her game heading into college. She is committed to Oklahoma City University and the powerhouse NAIA program of coach Marty McCauley, who has watched her play at least 50 rounds and said she could wind up being the best player in the school’s history. This is a school that has won eight national championships since 2004-05.
“I think she’ll just get better and better as time goes on and the sky is the limit for her,” McCauley said. “What makes her unique is that she doesn’t have any significant flaws in her game. No matter what level of tournament she plays in, she’s going to be competitive. Her consistency is off the charts.
“She can be the best player we’ve ever had here if she works hard and keeps improving.”
Kamas started out as a softball player but burned out on the sport early. She started hitting balls in a pasture in Piedmont with her father Laremy at age 10 and said she immediately enjoyed the personal responsibility inherent in golf. She was entering U.S. Kids Tournaments by age 11 and a regular on the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour circuit by 12.
“If you do something wrong in golf, it’s nobody’s fault but yours,” Maddi said. “I like a sport that it’s all on you.”
That sense of individualism extends to her golf instruction team as well. She will pop in on Tim Mendenhall at Oakwood CC in Enid for a checkup, but prefers to figure out swing issues on her own, using the great practice facilities at Gaillardia Country Club where her family are now members, about a 40-minute drive from their home in Kingfisher.
“She knows her swing” McCauley said. “She was way off on her wedges at the WOGA Junior, then she worked on it and was spot on down in Texas. One of the things that makes her unique is she is very independent. She likes to figure stuff out on her own.”
In her freshman year, the Class 4A state tournament was washed out by rain after one round. She finished second as a sophomore after winning seven consecutive high school events leading up to it. There was no state tournament her junior year, due to the Corona virus, so putting her name in the record books as a senior is a definite goal.
“I’d really like my name in there as a state champion,” she said.
Kamas has plans to study accounting in college but for now she’s keeping the numbers game pretty simple. First or second.
AJGA Notes: Other top Oklahoma players in the field besides Kamas and the two Rollers are Nelke, 2019 OGA State Amateur champion Jordan Wilson, 2020 state amateur runnerup Charlie Jackson, Jake Hopper, Tres Hill, William Sides, Drew Mabrey and Rider Cowan.
PGA Tour veteran Bo Van Pelt is expected to greet the players during Thursday’s round. Roller had an exceptional lineup of coaches prepared for a collegiate Q&A that had to be canceled due to social distancing. There is a Junior-Am on Monday and a qualifier for a few remaining spots on Sunday at LaFortune Park GC. Live scoring will be available on www.ajga.org.