WORTHINGTON, Ohio (AP) - Nathan Kerns admitted he was a little rattled after four-putting for double-bogey on the 16th hole Friday in the final round of the Ohio Amateur.
But even with his four-shot lead cut in half, he shook aside any lingering doubts and closed it out with two solid pars.
"I never got ahead of myself because anything can happen," he said.
Kerns built a big lead and then subdued his nerves after his one lapse to capture the 106th edition of the biggest amateur prize in the state.
The Marshall University senior - he was greeted by a "We are ... Marshall!" cheer by his followers after tapping in for par on the 72nd hole - shot a 2-over 74 to finish at 6-under 282.
He was asked what the win might mean for him.
Ohio Amateur scores
WORTHINGTON, Ohio (AP) - Final results on Friday from the 106th Ohio Amateur championship at the 6,942-yard, par-72 Brookside Golf & Country Club:
Nathan Kerns, Ironton 66-74-68-74-282
Alex Redfield, Powell 69-72-73-70-284
Kevin Grabeman, Columbus 68-75-72-71-286
Bill Williamson, Cincinnati 72-67-71-77-287
Scott Anderson, Columbus 72-71-71-73-287
David Haley, Hilliard 72-72-68-75-287
Korey Ward, West Chester 73-74-69-72-288
Jack Uecker, Akron 73-71-72-73-289
Beau Titsworth, Avon Lake 71-75-71-72-289
S. Anderson, Hobe Sound, Fla. 71-73-74-72-290
David Tepe, Liberty Township 71-74-72-73-290
Marcus Hunt, Port Clinton 75-71-73-71-290
Michael Bernard, Huber Hts. 75-70-72-74-291
Nathan Clark, Dublin 69-70-74-78-291
Kyle Kmiecik, Kent 69-73-74-75-291
Alex Andrews, Kirtland 73-73-74-71-291
Thomas Dunne, Dublin 69-75-75-73-292
Jonathan Riemer, Lyndhurst 73-74-71-74-292
Joe Kastelic, Cincinnati 73-75-73-71-292
Mac McLaughlin, Shaker Hts. 69-73-74-77-293
Parker Hewit, Westfield Center 71-73-73-76-293
Matt Beckett, Worthington 70-72-73-79-294
Aaron Siekmann, Dublin 70-74-75-76-295
Daniel Belden, Akron 70-73-75-77-295
Matt Buse, Loveland 76-70-75-74-295
Scott Thompson, Miamisburg 71-71-78-75-295
Boo Timko, Girard 73-76-72-74-295
Adam Arnett, Westerville 76-71-73-75-295
Matthew Gerard, Rocky River 71-71-76-78-296
Tony Brown, Ironton 72-73-74-77-296
Jay Overy, Grafton 74-76-72-75-297
Michael Cress, Dublin 74-73-74-76-297
Logan Jones, Dublin 71-73-75-78-297
Ben Boyer, Dayton 75-75-71-76-297
Dennis Holub, Reminderville 75-68-71-84-298
Tim Crouch, Mt.Vernon 75-75-69-79-298
Stew Jamieson, Worthington 74-74-74-77-299
Michael Schmidt, Cincinnati 74-75-73-77-299
Nick Paxos, Canton 74-74-71-80-299
Smith Brinker, Cincinnati 77-69-76-78-300
David French, Columbus 73-74-74-82-303
"It opens a ton of stuff. First of all, it opens my mind. I know I can play now with just about anybody," the 21-year-old from Ironton said. "In these Ohio Ams, there are so many good players. To come out on top, I just feel so fortunate."
Kerns followed rounds of 66, 74 and 68. He led after the tournament's first and third rounds, each time by two strokes.
Former Ohio State player Alex Redfield, who shot a 70 to finish second by two shots, had never met Kerns before.
"I didn't know him," Redfield said. "But he's playing like a champion."
Others also noticed his poise and precision.
"(Kerns) doesn't make many mistakes," said David Haley, who tied for fourth with a 75 while playing alongside Kerns. "He hit a lot of fairways, he hit a lot greens. That's what you've got to do on a course like this."
Kerns began the day with a two-shot edge on Bill Williamson and a four-stroke head start on Haley.
He added to that lead after a wayward tee shot on the second hole, hitting a low screamer out of the trees to the fairway on the par-5 hole and then dropping approach 18 inches from the hole.
Williamson, second in the Ohio Am two years ago at Kirtland, fell back with a disastrous triple-bogey 6 at the fifth hole, rated as the second-easiest hole on the course. His iron to the green skittered off to the left and under an evergreen tree. With his swing restricted by branches, he dubbed his second, then chipped off the front of the green and took three more shots to find the hole.
Haley birdied No. 4 but bogeyed the next two holes as Kerns stretched his lead to six shots.
Meanwhile Kerns was rolling along, making solid two-putt pars until he doubled the long, par-4 ninth. Still, his lead was four shots as he turned.
Haley got to within three strokes when Kerns bogeyed the 12th hole. But then Kerns countered that with a birdie on the next hole and Haley made bogey - and all of a sudden the lead was back to five with five holes left.
The only drama came on the par-3 16th when, with the wind gusting, he hit 9 iron to the back of the green, left his first putt short and ended up four-putting for a 5.
"I was a little rattled, I can't say I wasn't," Kerns said. "But you get to the next tee and you just have to forget about it and make the best of what happened. By hitting the tee shot in the fairway, I had a wedge in my hands and then a wedge into 18, so it was easy to make a couple of pars."
His parents, sister, grandparents, college teammates and friends and assorted other backers provided a "We Are ... Marshall!" cheer after his tap-in par putt fell in the cup on the 72nd hole.
"I didn't know that was going to be mustered up there," he said. "That was a pleasant surprise."
It was about the only thing that seemed to surprise him all day.
Redfield's 70 was the best round of the day. It reaffirmed what he already believed.
"I do know that my game's good and to play four days pretty solid the way I did is a good sign because you have to play four days of solid golf professionally to make money," he said. The Powell native, who just graduated from Ohio State this spring, said he will consult with him family and coach Donnie Darr before deciding when he'll turn pro.
All alone in third was another former Ohio State player, Kevin Grabeman, a member at Brookside. His 71 left him at 286.
Tied for fourth were Williamson, who was never able to make up for that triple and had a 77, along with yet another ex-Buckeye player in Scott Anderson and Haley, a Hilliard native who will be a senior at the University of Minnesota.
Defending champion Korey Ward shot a 72 and finished at even-par 288.
Williamson, also in the last group, was more impressed with how Kerns responded to the double at 16 than he was with the champion's three birdies in the final round.