It took seven years, but the father-and-son golfing team of Kevin and Brandan Kelley finally won Arizona's Father and Son Golf Tournament.
Carding a two-day total of 149, the duo claimed the championship June 15 and 16 on the Antelope Hills Golf Course near Prescott. Recognized as one of the largest tournaments in the state, more than 100 teams participated.
The Kelleys first began competing in the tournament in 1995 and had come close to a win on several occasions they were second last year but had never claimed the gold.
The key to the 2002 victory, Kevin said, was consistent play over the entire 36 holes.
On the first day, the two finished with a 75.
Playing the north course on the second day, Kevin and Brandan carded a 74.
The runner-up team from Moon Valley Country Club finished three strokes off the winning pace.
Because the format was alternate stroke, in which both team members teed off and then took turns playing the best lie, strategy was an important part of the victory.
"We tried to play to each other's strengths," Kevin said.
Throughout the tournament, the pair and the rest of the field had to battle gusting winds that wreaked havoc on most shots.
"Iron (shots) into the wind were tough," Kevin said.
The hard-earned victory was sweet, Kevin said, but the tournament also gave him the opportunity to enjoy quality time with his 16-year-old son, who is regarded as one of the most promising young golfers in Arizona.
"It really was kind of a bonding experience for both of us," Kevin said. "We're both so busy, we don't have a lot of time (together)."
Almost immediately after the victory, Brandan traveled to Eagle Mountain course in Fountain Hills where he finished second in a Southwest Circuit junior tournament. The runner-up showing, Kevin quipped, might have been the result of his tutelage at the father and son affair.
"The only reason he was second was because of what I showed him," he said. "I showed him a lot of bad shots."
Wednesday and Thursday, Brandan traveled to Tucson, where he competed in Junior World Qualifier contested at the Links at Cortaro Farms (results not available at press time).
Throughout the summer, he's slated to play at least twice a week on the Southwest PGA and other junior tours.
Last school year as a sophomore at Payson High School, Brandan was a varsity member of the Longhorn team that finished as Class 3A state runner-ups.
As a freshman, Brandan helped the Horns win the state championship.