The US Amateur was played between the 15th and 21st August at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan. Nick qualified to play in this event by winning the US Amateur Qualifier held at the Fremont Club in Nebraska. Nick’s fellow compatriot and Iowa State team member, Denzel Ieremia, also qualified for the event be placing second at the qualifier held at the Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, Missouri.
The US Amateur is the pinnacle event of the season and all 312 players have to qualify first to be able to play in the event. These players are the creme de la creme of the amateur golfing world so it is a big deal to qualify. The format of the tournament is two rounds of stroke play with the top 64 players advancing to the match play section. Nick shot an even par 70 on the North Coufrse in round one and a 78 on the South Course in the second round meaning he missed being in the top 64. Denzel tied for 57th with 23 other players so had to participate in a 23 way playoff for the last eight spots. He made it to the third play off hole before being eliminated.
The final 64 players play off until there are two players remaining. These players were Curtis Luck from Australia and Brad Dalke from Oklahoma who played 36 holes on the South Course to find the eventual winner. Curtis Luck won by being 6 holes up with 4 to play. He gets an automatic entry into the 2017 Masters, US Open and British Open.
The U.S. Amateur Championship is the oldest USGA championship and was created in 1895 because of a controversy. In 1894, two clubs – Newport (R.I.) Golf Club and New York’s St. Andrew’s Golf Club – conducted invitational tournaments to attract the nation’s top amateur players. Both clubs proclaimed their winners as the national champion, so golf clearly needed a national governing body to conduct national championships, develop a single set of rules for all golfers to follow, and to promote the best interests of the game. With that, representatives from five clubs founded the USGA on Dec. 22, 1894. As a result, in 1895, its first full year of operation, the USGA conducted Amateur, Open, and Women’s Amateur Championships. The first U.S. Amateur Championship was conducted at Newport Golf Club in October and Charles B. Macdonald became the first U.S. Amateur Champion. Since the inaugural event, the U.S. Amateur has enjoyed an illustrious history of great champions, including Bobby Jones, Chick Evans, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.
In Nick’s own words…….
The US Amateur was very special! What made it so memorable was that Denzel and I were the travelling contingent representing both New Zealand and Iowa State. We went in knowing our games were on the verge of being special and that anything can happen in the match play format – we just have to make the top 64 and anything can happen.
I played the North Course in the first round shooting a respectable even par 70 – game was up and down but my short game kept me in it. The second round saw a poorer driving exhibition on the harder golf course and consequently I kept on hitting my ball into positions where I couldn’t advance it to the green. I shot a 78 on the South Course to miss the match play by 6 shots.
Although my game didn’t quite come together when I needed it, I know that I will turn it on shortly. I have so much trust in my plan and the work that I have been doing that one of these days a switch will flick and it will take me to the next level. I’m looking forward to continue on working for that very day!
For us now it’s back to the reality of school! We have 3 weeks of classes before our first event in Wisconsin, following that I will be meeting the New Zealand team in Mexico for the World Amateur Team Championship. Exciting times ahead!!!
Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills Country Club is a private golf club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. It consists of two 18-hole courses designed by Donald Ross: the South Course (1918) and the North Course (1923).
Founded in 1916, Oakland Hills Country Club has played, and will continue to play, a significant role in the history of championship golf in the United States. The South Course has played host to 16 of the most prestigious golf championships, including nine majors – six U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships, including the 90th PGA Championship in 2008 – as well as two U.S. Senior Opens; a U.S. Women’s Amateur; a U.S. Amateur; a Western Open; a Carling World Open, and the 35th Ryder Cup in 2004. Some of the greatest players ever to play the game including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Ben Hogan have competed and won on the famed South Course … “The Monster”.