Nick has just competed in the World Amateur Team Championships (WATC) in Mexico. He was in the New Zealand team with New Zealand’s other top amateurs Ryan Chisnall and Luke Toomey. The winner of the WATC receives the Eisenhower Trophy.
The Eisenhower Trophy is a biennial world amateur team golf championship for men organized by the International Golf Federation. It is named for Dwight D. Eisenhower, the President of the United States when the tournament was first played, who was a keen amateur golfer.
The Eisenhower Trophy began in 1958 with the first event staged at the Old Course at St Andrews and recent tournaments have featured teams from around 75 countries. It is a Stroke Play event, in which the best two individual scores from three players in each team count towards the final score. Up until 2002 it was the best three of four scores.
New Zealand’s best finish in the Eisenhower was in 1992 when the team of Phillip Tataurangi, Michael Campbell, Grant Moorhead and Stephen Scahill won the event in Vancouver, Canada. Tataurangi was also the leading individual. Campbell finished second.
Teams Record (up to and including the 2014 event):
The Eisenhower Trophy has been won by 10 different teams:
15 wins: United States
4 wins: Great Britain & Ireland (last competed as a combined team in 2000)
3 wins: Australia
1 win: Japan, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Netherlands, Scotland, France
Nick is extremely proud to be representing NZ at the WATC playing for the Eisenhower Trophy. He says it is a privilege to wear and represent the Silver Fern. There are two non playing team members travelling with the guys – Jay Carter (Coach) and Aaron Walsh (Manager). They have created a great team culture and the boys have a tight bond having played a lot of golf together over the years. NZ Golf put a video together for the boys with contributions from each of their families showing where they have come from and that they are not alone out there. Nick said it was a very powerful experience. They were also gifted a pounamu (greenstone) each which is a great connection back to the land of Aotearoa.
The 2016 tournament is being played over two golf courses in Playa Del Carmen in Cancun, Mexico – the Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Club and the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club. There are 71 countries participating with three per team.
The NZ team were scheduled to play on the Mayakoba course on the first day teeing off the tenth at 11.20am. This became 12.20pm after the morning field had a lightening and thunder delay. They were teamed up with the Swedish and Chilean teams with each group of three having a representative from each country.
A slow start saw Nick two over after nine holes. He then went on the birdie train having five birdies in a row on holes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 putting him at three under. Unfortunately a soft bogey on the par five 7th saw him drop back to 2 under where he finished the day. He hit the ball really well off the tee with no errant shots. He also putted well with no three putts with most of his first putts that missed being a tap in. He finished tied for 23rd out of 213 competitors.
The NZ team finished Day 1 tied for 29th on one over. Nick’s teammates Ryan Chisnall and Luke Toomey finished on four over and three over respectively. The best two scores of the day count.
There was some lightening and thunder in the distance in the afternoon but it never came our way so the afternoon round went well and they got through in under four and a half hours.
NZ Golf Daily Update – Day One
Nick Voke has led the way for the New Zealand Men’s team at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Mexico today.
Playing their first round at the Mayakoba El Camaleon Golf Club, the stronger of the two resort courses, the men currently sit in a tie for 29th spot 11 shots behind round one leaders Scotland.
Voke led the way for the kiwis individually signing for a well compiled two under par 69 that included seven birdies and five bogeys. Starting his round on the tenth hole Voke made the turn at two over par and started a gusty fightback on his final nine holes. From the second hole Voke caught fire, setting himself up for his 69 with five birdies in a row.
In the teams competition where the leading two scores count Luke Toomey had the kiwis other score with a three over 74 while Ryan Chisnall had a non counting 75.
Voke, who is playing in his first Eisenhower was pleased with his opening round. “It went pretty good, it’s a special feeling to go around with the silver fern on your chest, so a real treat to be honest and great to put up a solid number for the boys.”
“I was playing pretty good on that first nine, just things weren’t really going my way and I could have got down in the dumps and gone the other way and got even worse, but with the team culture here were have a real emphasis on being tough and dealing with adversity so I was in a really good frame of mind”, added the Iowa State player.
Voke acknowledged that there was plenty of work to do tomorrow. “ Were all coming in here in pretty good form and the Iberostar Golf Course is a nice track with a few more birdie opportunities so were looking forward to staying patient and unleashing.”
The New Zealanders will have the benefit of an early start tomorrow and will play the slightly easier Iberostar Golf Club with their eyes on climbing the leaderboard and getting back into contention.
Today the team teed off early on the Iberostar course still in the same pairings from the first round with the Swedish and Chilean teams
Nick had a much more solid day today shooting a four under 68 – he had three birdies, one eagle and only one bogey. On the par 5 14th he hit his second shot just off the back of the green and then sunk a fifteen foot putt for eagle. He had a couple of errant drives – one on the par 5 16th where he went into the bush on the left down into a ravine full of foliage. He managed to hit a wedge out landing on the other side of the fairway. He then hit his three wood 225 metres missing the green to the left leaving himself a downhill chip over a bunker. He then holed a 20 foot putt to make a par.
He made great par saves on the next two holes. On the 8th which is a long par 4 he hit his three wood slightly right into the rough leaving himself on an uphill lie. He hit his next shot a little short, chipped up and left himself a 15 foot putt which he made to save par. He hit his drive straight down the middle on the 9th but left himself a long putt which he hit to within 5 feet and made a par.
Individually he is tied for 5th on 6 under. The leader is Cameron Davis from Australia who is on 10 under.
Luke and Ryan also had better rounds today with Luke finishing on 2 under and Ryan on 2 over. The team score after two rounds is now 5 under putting them in a tie for 12th with France, Thailand, Spain, Singapore, Mexico and Sweden. Australia lead the pack at this stage on 19 under with their top two players on 10 under and 9 under.
Nick’s shots of the day were a high drawer 5 iron on the par 3 third which he hit to 8 feet – he then holed the putt for a birdie. His second shot on the 14th with his three wood was hit very pure and rolling in the 12 footer from off the green for eagle was the icing on the cake.
NZ Golf Daily Update – Day Two
The New Zealand Men’s golf team made a big move at the World Amateur Teams Championship today, charging up the leader board, putting themselves in contention for a top finish in Mexico.
Nick Voke had the low score once again for the New Zealanders with a four under par 68 at the Iberostar Golf Club. He was well supported by Waikato’s Luke Toomey who finished with a two under par 70, while Ryan Chisnall had a non-counting 74. The kiwi’s six under par second round total saw them make one of the day’s biggest moves as they climbed from 29th place on the leader board to be in a tie for twelfth, just outside the top ten and in a great position to make a charge on the weekend.
The kiwis will be trying to chase down an old adversary over the weekend, with Australia leading the way on 19 under par. Their current dominance of the tournament highlighted by team members Cameron Davis and Harrison Endycott lying first and second in the individual standings.
After bogeying his first hole, Voke again showed his character to make three birdies and turn at two under par. A back nine without blemish and an eagle on the par five 14th hole saw Voke climb to fifth place in the individual standings.
Toomey also showed a liking for the Iberostar course and the 14th hole as he followed Voke’s lead eagling the 14th hole. Four further birdies in his round gave the team the second under par score they were looking for. While Ryan Chisnall again had the non-counting score he played his last 14 holes in two under par, which will give him confidence leading into the all important weekend rounds.
Voke was again pleased with his play in Mexico. “I played solid today and limited my mistakes and got myself out of trouble well, making some good par saves, so I really got the most out of my round. The boys got up today which is good, six under is a solid score and we’re really excited about the next few days.”
Toomey is also looking forward to the weekend after an interesting day today. “It’s exciting for tomorrow to know I had two under today and left a lot out there and I don’t think it’s one thing or the other. Once those six foot putts drop, it could be three or four better, so really excited about tomorrow.”
One of the key moments of Toomey’s round today was calling a penalty on himself on the 11th hole. After accidentally dropping his club it landed on his ball causing it to move. While no one else saw it he called the penalty on himself, something he believed ended up giving him some great karma for the rest of the round.
“I got up and down for bogey on the hole and felt like things would go my way after that and then I made a 25ft putt on the next hole, and an eagle on 14 and a birdie on 16, so really proud of myself.”
All three will be looking to continue their improved performances tomorrow as they look to make inroads to the Australian lead.
The NZ team played the Iberostar course again today with the team pairings being seeded based on their positions on the leaderboard. This seeding saw them teamed up with the local Mexican team and the team from Thailand. Understandably the Mexican team had a lot of supporters on the course which made for a good atmosphere.
Today was a hard day at the office for Nick – he was not feeling 100% but he hung tough. Two three putts on the 11th and 17th saw him at 2 over. He had no errant tee shots and his second shots were pretty accurate – he didn’t putt badly but nothing was falling. He hit a great second on the 6th and made the 4 foot putt for birdie. On the par 5 18th he hit his second shot just to the left of the green. A great chip saw him with another four foot birdie putt which he made getting him back to even par.
He was unlucky on the par 5 16th – he hit a great tee shot followed by a great 2 iron 225 metres. This second shot was about 2 feet from being on the green – it rolled back into the bunker from where he hit a great bunker shot and two putted for a par.
At the end of day three he is tied for 14th on 6 under.
Luke had a fantastic day shooting a 6 under. This combined with Nick’s even par got the NZ team to 11 under – they are now tied for 7th with Thailand, Spain and Norway. Australia have a commanding lead at 32 under with Ireland in second place at 16 under.
NZ Golf Daily Update – Day Three
The New Zealand Men’s golf team has continued to climb up the leaderboard at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Mexico today, lying in a tie for seventh after the third round.
With their title aspirations gone with Australia racing away from the rest of the field, the young kiwi team will be eyeing a medal finish tomorrow. Australia are miles ahead on 32 under par however the second placed Irish team are on 16 under, only five shots ahead of the New Zealander’s.
Australia’s dominance today was underlined by U.S Amateur Champion Curtis Luck shooting 9 under par. It would require something very odd to happen for Australia not to take home the Eisenhower Trophy tomorrow.
Waikato’s Luke Toomey led the way for New Zealand today with a fine six under par 66. Starting on the 10th hole Toomey was quick out of the blocks with birdies on his first two holes. A further birdie on the 14th followed by his second eagle of the week on the par 5 16th hole with a bogey on 18, saw Toomey turn four under par. Three more birdies on the front nine with a solitary bogey saw Toomey sign for the best round of any of the kiwi’s this week.
Nick Voke was again solid in the third round following up his composed play in the first two rounds to fire an even par round for the second counting score. Voke again was required to fight back after turning two over par. He managed to salvage his score on the final nine holes to give the kiwis a fighting chance for a placing heading into the final round.
While Toomey lead the way for the kiwi’s he was quick to acknowledge the importance of his team mate in the team’s event.
“Every shot matters from everyone in the team so Nick’s two birdies at the end there were just key for the team and I’m just really proud to be a contributor for team New Zealand” said Toomey.
“Today was one of the most complete tee to green rounds I have ever played, it was just really solid. My chipping and short game was good and I holed some really good putts, just really proud of the way I played today.”
The highlight of Toomey’s round was a three wood to the par 5 16th hole. A shot Toomey believes was the best shot he has ever hit adding “you probably hear it all the time with people saying that’s the best shot you have ever hit, but it genuinely was the best shot I have ever hit. It was to a severely sloped three tiered green and I had 223 metres from the rough into the wind and I had two square metres to land it on and I played a nice high fade to land in the little square I hoped it would, leaving me a 15 footer which I rocked in for eagle.”
The young New Zealand trio will be hoping for more magic like that as they look for solid finish tomorrow.
The final round for the top half of the field was played at the Mayakoba course and the New Zealand team were paired with Thailand again and the Spainish team. Nick hit his first tee shot left into the trees and unfortunately took two to get out – a double bogey to start was not ideal. Again he hung tough and demonstrated his playing maturity that has continued to develop by fighting hard to get back to even par with two birdies on the fifth and the sixth holes.
He three putted the 14th to put him back to one over and his short birdie putt on the 17th just lipped out. His second shot on the 18th was long and looked to disappear into a hole in the rough – a great chip left him with a 4 foot putt for par. He finished one over for the day – his only over par round for the week and his only non counting score for the tournament.
His teammates Luke and Ryan played well with Ryan having a great run on the back nine which saw him finish on 3 under. Luke got to four under at one stage but a couple of tough holes on the back nine saw him slip back to 1 under where he finished for the day. The combined scores of Luke and Ryan of 4 under put New Zealand at 15 under. They finished tied for 6th with the USA – a fantastic effort.
Individually Nick finished in a tie for 20th on 5 under par.
NZ Golf Daily Update – Day Four
The New Zealand Men’s Golf Team has finished in a commendable tie for 6th place at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Mexico today.
With winners Australia effectively having the title wrapped up after the third round the kiwis were eyeing a medal finish today, which in the end only eluded them by three shots with England claiming second spot and Austria and Ireland sharing the bronze. The kiwis shared sixth place with golfing powerhouse the United States, highlighting how tough this competition is, and what a great week it has been for the young New Zealand team.
Australia streaked away from the competition today with Cameron Davis firing a three under par round to finish on 17 under par as the leading individual. Team mate Curtis Luck was close behind on 15 under and in second place individually, underlining Australia’s dominance of the event.
Playing a few groups in front of the leaders Luke Toomey again sparked the kiwi team and their quest for a medal early in his round with four birdies on the front nine lifting the New Zealanders momentarily into a podium position.
Unfortunately for Toomey he couldn’t continue his fine form dropping three shots on the back nine, however he still signed for a one under par 71.
After having a quiet week it was Ryan Chisnall who lead the way for the kiwis today leaving his best till last. Turning at even par and watching Toomey dropping a few shots on the back nine, Chisnall found crucial birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to ensure a well deserved top ten finish for the team.
Nick Voke had the non-counting score in the final round with a one over par 72, his first over par round of the week.
The team with Rachel & Steve from NZ who supported us all week
The boys all dressed up for the closing ceremony. Left to right – Dean Murphy (CEO New Zealand Golf), Nick Voke, Luke Toomey, Aaron Walsh (Manager), Ryan Chisnall, Jay Carter (Coach), Murray Ward (President New Zealand Golf)
Closing thoughts from Nick…
What a week in Mexico for Team NZ! We were thrilled to have improved our position every round and truly throw ourselves into the mix for a medal. Our preparation for the event was fantastic and we decided to live in the scary space of letting go and unleashing to truly find out what we had. Coach Jay encouraged us before that final round to have no regrets and to leave everything out on the golf course – I loved this and I think we lived it. I had a different mindset at this event compared to others – during my last nine holes of a long and gruelling week I reminded myself where I was and what uniform I had on. It was the last nine holes of the Eisenhower trophy – this really lifted my spirits and I found an extra gear to fight for every shot.
I think the team did a great job of overcoming adversity and embracing the idea of being tough bastards. I had plenty of opportunities to moan about things beyond my control and fixate on the negative (something a younger me would have done) but having this new grit enabled me to come back after slow starts and really get the most out of each round. My favorite example was during the third round. I was striking the ball really well but couldn’t get anything to go my way and drop. I continued to remind myself that I was playing well and that the more patience I showed would ultimately help me to shoot the best possible score – I played the last four holes in two under to really set the team up for the last round. This resilience is going to be a huge thing going forward and will be the key to my consistency.
I hit the ball very well off the tee and didn’t lose a golf ball all week. The high bomb fade was my go to shot all week and it performed well under pressure.
WATC Tournament Summary
Cameron Davis and Curtis Luck each shot 3-under 68s and Australia tied the 72-hole scoring record in winning their fourth World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) at the par-71, 6,771-yard/6,187-meter Mayakoba El Camaleon Golf Club. The Australians won by 19 strokes to claim the Eisenhower Trophy for the first time since 1996.
“It’s great for the game of golf back home,” said Australian captain Matt Cutler. “It started two years ago when the women won the Espirito Santo (Trophy). We got a taste of competing and winning internationally. They executed the plan perfectly this week. They had a determination to get it done.”
The Australians, who also won World Amateur Team titles in 1958 and 1966, posted a record score of 38-under-par 534, tying the total established by the USA in 2014. Their victory margin was the third-largest in championship history.
England won the silver medal at 553, behind a final-round 6-under 136. Austria and Ireland shared the bronze medal and were one stroke back at 554.
Australia’s Davis, the lone player in the field to shoot all four rounds in the 60s despite the hot and humid conditions, turned in the lowest individual score at 17-under 269. He birdied three consecutive holes on the inward nine and had six during the final round.
“This is by far the best I have played in such a big tournament,” said Davis, who finished second in both the Asia-Pacific Amateur and Australian Amateur last year. “It was just an honor to be in this tournament in the first place and representing my country, but to come away with a win is pretty special.”
Luck, the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion, followed Friday’s sparkling 9-under 63 at the par-72, 6,888-yard/6,386-meter Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club with six birdies and three bogeys during his fourth round. He finished at 15-under overall after posting two non-counting scores in the opening two rounds, as only two of the three-man team scores are used toward the total each day.
“We came out with a pretty good strategy around both courses,” said Luck, who also captured this year’s Western Australian Open and is No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™. “We did a really good job in the practice rounds of setting out where the pins would be and fortunately we pretty much got them all right. We did things extremely professionally.”
England registered its best finish in a WATC after tying for sixth in 2006 and 2014. Alfie Plant, who won the 2016 Lytham Trophy and was last year’s English Amateur runner-up, fired a 5-under 66 and holed a 9-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th to vault his team into second place. Jamie Bower added a 1-under 70.
“Once I knew I had to make the putt for birdie, I just went through my routine to make sure you make the best putt you can, and it just went in,” said Plant, who made seven birdies on the day. “It’s been a great week, we’ve recorded our highest finish in the event as a team, and I’m playing good golf as well. It’s great to get up on the stage for a medal.”
Added English captain Kevin Tucker, “We’re absolutely delighted, the good thing is that all three players have contributed twice. Alfie’s done a great job with the two low scores, and Jamie and Scott (Gregory) have both produced twice. It’s the first time England has medalled, we’re over the moon.”
Austria also earned a medal for the first time as their best performance was tie for fifth in 2002. Matthias Schwab, who is No. 5 in the WAGR™, birdied the last three holes for a 4-under 67, while teammate Markus Maukner chipped in with a 70. Schwab set up his birdie at No. 16 with a 7-iron, struck a 54-degree sand wedge to within 15 feet at the next hole and sank a 10-foot putt at No. 18.
“My two teammates had the same goals, just try to shoot the best they can,” said Schwab, who tied for third at this year’s NCAA Championship as a member of the Vanderbilt University team. “Everyone brought their A game or close to their A game, and that’s reason enough for us to be in the top four. The goal is to make a medal or at least fight for one.”
Ireland slipped from second into a tie for third due to the squad’s difficulties on the final hole, but still captured their first WATC medal. Jack Hume, a member of the winning 2015 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team, was bitten by a double bogey after earlier making six consecutive birdies on the outward nine. Hume settled for a 3-under 69. Stuart Grehan, who had a 1-over 72, and Paul McBride, who had a non-counting 73, made bogeys on the closing hole.
Victor Hovland fired a 6-under 65, the lowest round of the championship at Mayakoba El Camaleon, and playing captain Kristoffer Ventura added a 71 as Norway was fifth at 17-under 555. The team’s previous best finish was a tie for sixth in 2012.
“I’m pretty satisfied, said Hovland, who carded a bogey-free round. “I knew we had to try and shoot some low scores out there to try and win a medal. It was a good time to contribute a score to the team. It means a lot for us to do well.”
New Zealand and the USA tied for sixth at 557. Ryan Chisnall, of New Zealand, shot a 68 after scoring in the mid-70s in the first three rounds, while teammate Luke Toomey had a 70. Chisnall, who was the co-medalist at the 2015 Amateur Championship at Carnoustie, holed birdie putts of 25- and 20-feet at Nos. 16 and 17, respectively.
“We really wanted to get on the podium this week, so the last three holes were really important,” said Chisnall, who finished third at the Mexican Amateur in May. “It was very pleasing for me. It’s a big event and very important for our nation.”
The USA struggled to an even-par 142 and failed to medal in this championship for the first time since 1998 when the team was seventh. Brad Dalke, last month’s U.S. Amateur runner-up, had a 70, while Stanford University All-American Maverick McNealy shot a 72. Scottie Scheffler, a junior at the University of Texas, posted a non-counting 73.
“It was a difficult day for all of them,” said USA captain Paul Caruso. “I guess it is unusual that that happens and all three of them did not have their best today.”
Poland was eighth for its first top-10 WATC finish. Adrian Meronk, who is a playing captain, carded a 69, his third round in the 60s during the championship. Mateuz Gradecki had a 72. The two players, who were teammates at East Tennessee State University, competed in their third WATC together.
Mexico, the host nation, tied for 16th at 564. Alvaro Ortiz, a junior at the University of Arkansas, and Isidro Benitez, each shot an even-par 71.
Twenty-six of the 71 teams had 72-hole scores under par. The field recorded 35 sub-par individual counted scores in the fourth round.
The WATC is a biennial international amateur competition conducted by the International Golf Federation (IGF), which comprises 147 national governing bodies in 141 countries and 22 professional members.
The competition, which is being held for the 30th time, is rotated among three geographic zones: Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe-Africa. This year’s event is being hosted by the Mexican Golf Federation. The teams will play for the Eisenhower Trophy.
The IGF is the international federation for golf for the International Olympic Committee and conducted the 2016 Olympic golf competition in Rio de Janeiro. In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day total (72-hole) is the team’s score for the championship.
The 2018 World Amateur Team Championship will be played 5-8 Sept. at Carton House Golf Club in Maynooth, Ireland, approximately 30 miles from Dublin.
For more information see http://www.igfgolf.org
Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Club
The Mayakoba course was designed by Greg Norman’s design company and opened in 2006. The only PGA sanctioned event is held here in November each year. Just like the chameleon from which the course takes its name, this Riveria Maya layout winds its way in two large 9 hole loops through an ever changing landscape of thick tropical jungle and mangrove forest, with a number of man made lagoons and canals coming into play on all but three of the holes. There are also a number of subterranean caves (called denotes) incorporated into the course design.
The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is a PGA Tour golf tournament which was played for the first time in the week of February 19–25, 2007. It is the first PGA Tour event to be played in Mexico this century.
From 2007–2012, it was an alternate event played the same week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and a counting event for the FedEx Cup, but like other alternate events it only counted for half points. In 2008, the prize fund was US$3.5 million (with a first prize of $630,000), making it the richest golf tournament in Mexico. Fred Funk won the inaugural 2007 event at the age of 50 years, 257 days, making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event in 32 years. Graeme McDowall of Northern Ireland won the event in November 2015.
Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club
Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club is a gorgeous course designed by P.B. Dye and was ranked by Golfweek Magazine as top 16 Caribbean & Mexico Courses in 2012. Home of the Canadian Tour and host site of the PGA Tour Monday Qualifier. It was opened in 2005.
Playa Paraiso Golf Course characterised by its vertical movement and distinctive natural rockwork making this course a true and one of a kind in the Mexican Riviera Maya.