By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
If all Kelly Rotolo had to do was golf during the annual Liberal Country Club Championship Tournament, he might have a few more trophies in his case.
But Rotolo also directs the tournament, a time-consuming job that can be a distraction from the game.
This weekend, however, Rotolo rose to the top of a competitive field to claim his first Country Club championship, edging out defending champion Rod Riley by three strokes after 45 holes.
“This was perfect for Kelly,” Riley said. “He works harder on this tournament than anyone. He wanted to win, and he played perfect, steady golf.”
Rotolo finished four over after two full rounds of 18 holes and a championship flight of nine holes for the Final Four.
“Putting did it for me,” Rotolo said. “I made a million putts, and I shot good at the end.”
The Final Four golfers (Rotolo, Riley, Kevin Colvin and Don Owens) were no strangers. The four are familiar with the course, and each other.
“I told Kelly that I’m going to try to win today,” Riley said after entering the day trailing Rotolo. “But I also told him while I am trying to win, don’t you lose this.”
Rotolo built up a four-stroke lead heading in to the final nine holes, and Riley was only able to shave one of those strokes off. Rotolo finished off the final hole with a nice drop shot to the green and a two-putt finish to earn the cup.
“I told my daughter that if I ever won the club championship, I’d get a tattoo,” Rotolo said. “And I’m not a fan of tattoos. That’s what I thought of my chances to ever win this. This is what I’ve wanted for 20 years.”
Perhaps that tattoo could read, “LCC Champ 2010.”