Former Shawnee Mission East teammates Andy Spencer, Chase Hanna top Watson Challenge at Milburn

Andy Spencer with the 2017 Watson Challenge trophy. Photo via SM East Golf on Twitter.
Andy Spencer with the 2017 Watson Challenge trophy. Photo via SM East Golf on Twitter.

Rising University of Kansas sophomore Andy Spencer probably felt right at home Sunday as he wrapped up a 7-stroke victory that makes him the youngest-ever winner of the Watson Challenge.

With the tournament held at Milburn Country Club, the course where he honed his game as a northeast Johnson County youth, and long-time teammate Chase Hanna behind him in second place, there were plenty of familiar faces on hand. Spencer and Hanna played together for a season at Shawnee Mission East before Hanna headed off to KU, where he just graduated. Spencer followed in his footsteps, and finished an impressive debut season with the Jayhawks this spring after graduating from SM East in 2016. And both Spencer and Hanna won the Kenneth Smith Award, the most prestigious honor for Kansas City area high school golfers.

Now, Hanna and Spencer can add Watson Challenge champs to their shared resumes. Hanna took the Watson Challenge trophy in 2015 when he edged out tournament namesake Tom Watson at Mission Hills Country Club. Watson wasn’t among the title contenders this year, finishing 13th overall at 6-strokes over par. But Hanna had a shot at another title heading into Sunday, trailing Spencer by 3 strokes as the final round began. But Spencer’s second-straight 67 proved too high a bar to overcome, as Hanna finished the Sunday round with a 69 and took second place overall.

Spencer sank 16 birdies across the three day event.