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It's a wrap: GC Am Tour national championships

Am Tour
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A record field of 1,029 amateurs competed in the 2011 Golf Channel Am Tour (GCAT) National Championships, Sept. 18-27. The event was contested at four La Quinta, Calif., area courses, headlined by the famed Stadium Course at PGA West. Tournament contestants ranged in age from 12 to 79 and represented 42 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

The GCAT National Championships were divided into two events – the Senior National Championship (age 50+), Sept. 18-21, and the Open National Championship, Sept. 24-27. PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, Greg Norman Course and TPC Stadium Course joined La Quinta Resort & Club’s Mountain Course as host golf courses. La Quinta Resort served as the tournament headquarters and host resort for the national championships.

Here is a breakdown from all the action. 

We are the champions: Just amateurs? Sure. But for the six Golf Channel Am Tour national champions, victory is sweet no matter the stage.

Golf's a kid's game: Charlie Reiter has won so much at golf that he's lost count. He's been winning his whole life. Of course, he's only 12.

Low expectations: Mark Mulder knows what it’s like to be a national champion, having been part of the 2006 World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals. Now competing at the Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championships, he says he’s setting the bar low.

Some like it hot: An eclectic group of contestants prepare for this week's Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championships in Palm Springs. Only those who can take the heat will prevail.

The last laugh: How do you conquer Pete Dye's Stadium Course? In the Hogan flight, all you need is a little help from your friends. 

The Conover Dynasty: Clifford Conover is becoming an Am Tour legend, winning his third National Championship crown. 

Champion of Champions: Richard Krogness won the Championship flight at the Norman Course at PGA West. 

Sippy cup: Won your first Am Tour crown? Why not drink from the crystal? That's what winner Dave Verlhust did. 

Kings of the Mountain: Two Am Tour crowns were awarded to those who conquered the La Quinta Resort Mountain Course. 

Desert Duel: For one Am Tour veteran, the coveted three-peat is in sight. In his way? A nationals rookie. 

Hunting for aces: Peter Hunt recorded the week's third ace Tuesday. 

Breaking through the comfort zone: Sandbagging? No way. Two competitors take more satisfaction in making a higher flight than dominating lower brackets. 

Taking on the man: The Am Tour isn't 'men only.' Six women are competing this week in La Quinta, and some are in contention. 

Coming up aces: After a quiet opening round, the aces began to drop in Round 2 at PGA West. 

Escaping Alcatraz: In Round 1, the Sarazen flight took on the infamous par-3 17th hole on the PGA West Stadium Course. 

Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship week kicks offIt's the biggest event Golf Channel has ever held: 12 days and more than 1,000 competitors for the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships. The 'Morning Drive' team welcomed the senior competitors to kick off tournament week in La Quinta.