116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Chris James wins record 5th City Am golf title
Linn-Mar coach captures title in playoff with Dustin Atkinson
CEDAR RAPIDS — One for the thumb.
The Cedar Rapids Men’s City Amateur golf tournament has its first five-time champion.
Linn-Mar head boys’ and girls’ golf coach, Chris James endured the rain, a late rally and a playoff to come out on top in dramatic fashion — yet again.
“(Winning five) wasn’t in my mind,” James said. “Once you get two or three you start thinking, ‘all right.’
“It feels great.”
James entered the weekend tied with Sam Aossey and Bob Kollsmith at four titles. James had previously won the event in 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2018.
Heavy rains delayed the start of the third round at Ellis Golf Course by about a half-hour. James and Dustin Atkinson entered the day tied at 8-under. Eighteen holes did not separate them.
Atkinson, a former University of Northern Iowa golfer competing in the tournament for the first time, entered 17 two strokes back. He made a 20-foot putt on 17 for birdie. Then he birdied 18 after going in the bunker to force a playoff.
“I told myself, ‘if I just go par-par on 17 and 18, I gotta make him make birdies,’” James said. “Doing that on 17 and 18 is not an easy task out here. I wasn’t really down on myself. It wasn’t like I made bogey-bogey.
“I knew (Atkinson) had a little momentum going. It was kind of nice. We did a draw and I was able to tee off first.”
Going back to the first hole to begin the playoff, James and Atkinson still were square as they moved to No. 9. James found himself closer to the pin for par. When Atkinson’s putt came up a little short, James analyzed his options from 8 to 10 feet away.
“I felt like I knew the line pretty well,” James said. “It was a right to lefter downhill, so I didn’t feel like I had to slam it. The greens were a little bit slower than Ellis typically is. I think the rain probably has something to do with that. I was able to let it die near the hole.”
James sunk the putt and let out a roar.
“Exhausting,” James said. “I didn’t think I had it this morning. I wasn’t playing particularly well first nine holes. I was just kind of off a little bit. I saw a putt go in on 13, saved a par. It was just a mentally exhausting day.
“You have to be on for every shot for five hours, six hours.”
For Atkinson, it was a successful debut in the tournament.
“It was a lot of fun,” Atkinson said. “Me and Chris went back and forth the last couple of days, trading birdies. He’s a great putter and a great player. I was just glad to make birdie on the last two to give him a run.
“I felt good, ready to go. Just didn’t quite roll the rock good enough on the last two holes. I gave my last one a run. Just came up a little short.”
Both entered the playoff after finishing the 54-hole event at 9-under par.
James wasn’t the only five-time winner on the day. Todd Hingtgen took home his fifth Senior City Am trophy with a 3-over-par performance for the weekend. It was Hingtgen’s second consecutive win in the event.