NCAA Regional – Texas, USA

The Cyclones earned the number 9 seed in the NCAA Regionals played in Austin, Texas between the 15th and 17th May.  This is the fourth time in the last six seasons that they have qualified.  The top five teams in the six regionals will qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held at Rich Harvest Farms at Sugar Grove in Illinois.  

The team have been striving towards making the NCAA Regionals all year.

The tournament was played on the University of Texas Golf Club which was home to current world number 6 Jordan Speith.  The Cyclones played well and were tied for fourth after the first round with Nick being tied for 10th individually.  They maintained there position after the second round and Nick moved up the leaderboard to second place.  

It was in the third round that the magic happened – the team produced a staggering 26 birdies and one eagle in their afternoon round, posting a score which was seven shots better than any other team in the field.  They finished third behind Oklahoma State and Texas and secured a berth at the NCAA Championships which is only the second time they have done this since the competition began in 1990.  The first time was in 2014 – Nick was in that team but was unfortunately injured (see the article below courtesy of the Des Moines Regsiter) so making the NCAA Championships in his final year was pretty special.

Nick played an integral part in the team’s success shooting a record setting 61 in the third round.  His 10 under shattered the school 18 hole record (the previous record was 64) and ISU’s 18 hole relation-to-par standard (previous record was 7 under).  He played the last 29 holes of the tournament at 14 under which saw him shoot the second lowest score on NCAA Division 1 this season.  The former competitive course record at the University of Texas Golf Club was a 65 – Nick beat this by four shots.

In Nick’s own words…..

Today was simply sensational. Before the round, I thought to myself that I was in a good position to end the event strong but my main focus was on the team – the guys still needed me to fire on all cyclinders if we wanted to advance.  We were on the bubble, this could be my last event as a Cyclone, a good finish could go a long way and so on – there were a lot of things going through my mind when I was warming up.  To come away from today having played the way I did – the best round of my life when the team needed it felt absolutely incredible.  I was so thrilled for the guys to post a 21 under and come away with an invitation to nationals – WHAT A DAY!

I was  interviewed after the final round and I alluded to how good the week leading up to regionals had been.  The team had such a good week of practice and quality time together.  We scheduled our own things and were really the entreprenuers of our own journey.  I am proud of how we operated in the lead up to the tournament.

I putted magnificently this week – probably the best putting performance I’ve had statistically – 100% inside 5 feet, 85% in the 5 to 8 foot range, 67% in the 9 to 15 foot range and 44% between 15 and 25 foot. Those numbers are world class and allowed me to post 14 under in my last 29 holes.

University of Texas Golf Club (UT Golf Club)

The University of Texas Golf Club is a 7,412 yard, par 71 championship-caliber golf course created by Bechtol Russell Golf Design. Built in the Texas Hill Country, the course overlooks Lake Austin and borders the Balcones Natural Wildlife Preserve, offering challenging shots and views that rival the best in Austin. 

The University of Texas Golf Club was a vision that became a reality when some of today’s most influential University supporters set out on a mission to build a permanent home for The UT Golf Teams and secondary home for The UT Tennis Teams. The University of Texas Golf Club celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013 and continues to celebrate its many accomplishments! 

‘Full circle’: Iowa State’s Nick Voke finally makes it to the NCAA Championships

By Tommy Birch, Des Moines Register

Nick Voke was riding a longboard down a hill when he turned to talk with Iowa State golf teammate Ruben Sondjaja, who was not far behind him.

That’s when his longboard found a pothole on Ames’ Beach Avenue.

When the board hit the hole, Voke went flying into the air. When he landed, he smacked his head against the ground, landed on his shoulder and was knocked unconscious.

“I woke up with a lot of machinery around me,” Voke said of the 2014 skateboarding accident. “It was a pretty scary moment, not really knowing what’s going on.”

When he first arrived at the hospital that night in May of 2014, doctors feared he’d suffered brain damage. They eventually learned he was seriously concussed and had broken his collarbone.

Just like that, Voke’s golf season was done. His shot at competing at regionals was over.

And all he could do was watch as his friends left to go compete in the NCAA Championships later that month.

“It was tough on all of us,” Iowa State men’s golf coach Andrew Tank said. “It was a really scary accident, to be honest.”
Voke would eventually get back on the golf course and become one of the most successful golfers in Iowa State history. His five career victories is a school record. Earlier this month, he carded a school-record 61 at the NCAA Austin Regional.
But one thing has continued to elude him: A shot to play in the NCAA Championships.

But the wait is finally over — the Iowa State senior will lead the Cyclones back to the NCAA Championships this weekend in Sugar Grove, Ill.

“It’s gone in full circle — from missing out my freshman year to now, it’s my last chance with the team, and getting it and succeeding — it’s a pretty cool feeling,” Voke said.

Finding Iowa State

A native of New Zealand, Voke scoured a college golf guide in his search for the right college to attend. He was still developing and knew that he wanted to land with a school that was on the rise. He looked up the email addresses of coaches on the golfing staffs of the schools ranked 50th to 100th.

He emailed a coach at every one of them, requesting information, and did some research on his own. Voke said about half the schools got back to him. Iowa State was one of them.

The Cyclones had already seen success in recruiting internationally. Duncan Croudis, who was also from New Zealand, had found his way to Ames. So, too, had Scott Fernandez, who hailed from Spain and would go on to have a successful career at Iowa State.

Voke, who knew of Fernandez’s success, emailed Tank, the men’s coach, and now-former assistant coach Patrick Datz and told them he was interested in the Cyclones and even wanted to become the next Scott Fernandez.

Datz had already been looking for players from New Zealand who might have had connections to Croudis. When Voke popped up on their radar, Datz and Tank dug into his scores and saw potential. What impressed them most was how he handled himself in their eventual Skype conversations with him.

“It was more based on his results that he’d had,” Tank said. “It looked like he was kind of on the upswing, so to speak. He was starting to play well, and I just was kind of impressed with him, as a person, in talking with him.”

Voke also liked what he was hearing. Sondjaja, who had played with him in Sydney, was already headed to Iowa State and had good things to say. Voke had never been to Ames, but was sold enough on the team to pack two suitcases and make the move to middle America.

“I came cold turkey,” Voke said. “I guess I was impressed with the coaches and the numerous conversations we had — and I was impressed with the facility that we had here.”

It didn’t take Tank long to realize that the Cyclones may have gotten a steal. The first time Tank saw Voke play in person was at the 2013 Iowa Open, before school started. Voke finished second in the amateur open division.

“Great golf swing,” Tank said. “Just the way he carried himself on the course, you could tell that he was a good player.”

Voke’s first season in Ames was a success. He tied for eighth in his Iowa State debut at the Gopher Invitational. Voke broke Iowa State’s rookie scoring mark with a 72.39 stroke average, led the team in sub-70 rounds, with eight, and was a Big 12 All-Tournament team pick. With regionals in May, he was on track to help the Cyclones get back to the NCAA Championsips.

The accident

With the last of his finals behind him in his first year at Iowa State, Voke and Sondjaja decided to celebrate. The two took to Ames’ roadways with their longboards, in search of the best hills. At around 11 p.m., they came to the one on Beach Avenue, near Jack Trice Stadium.

When Voke got to the bottom of the hill, he didn’t even see the pothole his longboard was headed for. After the two connected, Voke went soaring into the air. After hitting the ground, he was foaming at the mouth, had scratched his face and broken his collarbone. And he was out cold. Five hours later, he woke up in a hospital room, surrounded by machines.

“Seeing him in the hospital probably was one of the scariest moments, for me, as a coach,” Tank said.
Voke underwent surgery — a titanium plate and eight screws to repair the broken collarbone — and his stay in the hospital lasted days. His parents, who couldn’t get to Iowa State right away, knew just by the sound of his voice on the phone how bad things were.

“He was extremely sluggish,” his mom, Michelle Voke, said. “Forming sentences was really, really hard for him. And even having the phone conversation with him, he could only sort of last a couple of minutes just before he would end the conversation because it was just too tiring for him.”

And, emotionally, things would get even more difficult: Iowa State tied for fourth at the NCAA Columbia Regional later that month and qualified for its first NCAA Championship berth since 1953 — all without Voke by their sides. When the team hopped on a flight to Kansas, Voke was caught a ride to the airport to wish his teammates luck and see them off.

“It was just a sad moment, seeing them fly off and knowing that, ‘I’m stuck here, just doing my training, trying to get back to normal,’” Voke said.

Roughly four months went by before he could hit a driver. He saw a trainer five days a week to get work through the physical setbacks he’d suffered, and meditated to help him through the mental anguish he was going through from being kept from the golf course. He often wondered what would become of his golfing career.

Putting, even, would cause him pain at times.

“Just the impact of stroking the blade against the ball — it jolted my whole arm and I just stood there in pain,” Voke said. “(That’s) when I realized I had done some big damage and I needed to take it slow.”

Coming back

By the fall of 2014, Voke was healthy and hungry. He could finally unleash his swing and see what he could do again. That season, he won his first career tournament at the VCU Shootout. His second tournament title of the year came with a 212 at the General Hackler Championship. He was again named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team.

During the 2015-16 season, he won his third career tournament title with a 205 at the NIT. He ended that season with his third Big 12 All-Tournament team honor. But despite the success, something was missing from Voke’s resume — every day, he would walk past a wall in Iowa State’s facility that listed every golfer to compete at the NCAA Championships, where Voke could see the names of his teammates.

Knowing that his name could have been up there was hard to stomach.

“Getting to the National Championships has been a goal of mine for a long time,” he said.

After missing out on his chance as a freshman, he worked to make sure that another opportunity would come.

“He’s even more driven now,” Michelle Voke said.

That drive was easy to see during his historic senior season. His 71.84 career stroke average currently ranks No. 1 in school history, and he’s on pace to break the single-season school record for scoring mark. The culmination of his season came on May 17, when Voke fired a school record 61 at the NCAA Austin Regional at the UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas.

Voke helped the Cyclones to a third-place finish there, assuring them a spot in the NCAA Championships again for the first time since 2014. As he walked off the course, he high-fived and hugged coach Tank and was greeted by his teammates.

“I think it really hit me after the round,” Tank said. “I thought about it a little bit, but I got emotional after the round — just thinking how far he’s come, as a freshman, and just how much he’s grown, as a person.”

Voke’s family followed all the action online from back in New Zealand.

“I knew it would happen because he’s really driven,” Michelle said.

After three years of working and waiting, Voke will finally tee off at the tournament this weekend. While he’s finally achieved his goal, Voke said he’s kept the longboard over the years as a reminder of everything he’s been through.

“The coaches want to burn it, but I kind of want to frame it just to remind me what I went through,” Voke said. “It was a pretty hard moment for myself and my family. But I think the longboard will stay around as just a memory.”

Austin Regional: Iowa State goes low behind Nick Voke’s 61, Oklahoma State wins

By Brently Romine, Golf Week

Iowa State, which was ninth at the Big 12 Championship, was led by Nick Voke, who fired a 10-under 61 in the final round to capture medalist honors at 14 under, five shots ahead of Texas’ Doug Ghim.

Voke’s final round included an eagle, eight birdies and no bogeys. The previous course competitive record was 65.

“I thought a couple under would give me a chance, but as I went on with the round, the birdies kept on dropping,” Voke said. “… These days are few and far between. I knew my game was trending and this could be coming. To come up with a round like this in the regional is something pretty special.”

Said Iowa State head coach Andrew Tank: “Today he was on fire. It was cool for him to do it on the big stage. This is really special for him because he missed out on playing with us in 2014 at nationals and he can experience it now.”

Three other Cyclones shot 68 or better. Iowa State had to throw out a 72.

Video Links

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit association which regulates athletes of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations, and individuals. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 450,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2014, the NCAA generated almost a billion dollars in revenue. 80 to 90% of this revenue was due to the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. This revenue is then distributed back into various organizations and institutions across the United States.

Inter-collegiate sports began in the US in 1852 when crews from Harvard University and Yale University met in a challenge race in the sport of rowing. As rowing remained the preeminent sport in the country into the late-1800s, many of the initial debates about collegiate athletic eligibility and purpose were settled through organizations like the Rowing Association of American Colleges and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association. As other sports emerged, notably football and basketball, many of these same concepts and standards were adopted. Football, in particular, began to emerge as a marquee sport, but the rules of the game itself were in constant flux and often had to be adapted for each contest.

The NCAA dates its formation to two White House conferences convened by President Theodore Roosevelt to “encourage reforms” to college football practices in the early 20th century, which had resulted in repeated injuries and deaths and “prompted many college and universities to discontinue the sport.”  Following those White House meetings, Chancellor Henry MacCracken of New York University organized a meeting of 13 colleges and universities to initiate changes in football playing rules; at a follow-on meeting on December 28, 1905 in New York, 62 higher-education institutions became charter members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS).  The IAAUS was officially established on March 31, 1906, and took its present name, the NCAA, in 1910.

Over the last two decades recruiting international athletes has become a growing trend among NCAA institutions. For example, most German athletes outside of Germany are based at US universities. For many European athletes, the American universities are the only option to pursue an academic and athletic career at the same time. Many of these students come to the US with high academic expectations and aspirations.



This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
This entry was posted in Texas, United States of America and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NCAA Regional – Texas, USA

  1. Peter O'Hara says:

    Congratulations on the 61 and all your other achievements during your time in the US, Nick. Carol and I have very much enjoyed your posts. Thanks for your dedication to communicating with your followers.
    Best wishes for the future.
    Kind regards 
    Peter O’Hara
    PS: Mangawhai GC continues to be well supported and make progress. We look forward to seeing you back here sometime.


  2. Pingback: Living the Dream – Iowa State University 2013 to 2017 | Nick Voke Golf

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