Sunnehana 

Nick played in the Sunnehanna Amateur from the 14th to the 17th June – this was his first post college tournament. 

The Sunnehanna Amateur, officially the Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions, is a men’s amateur golf tournament.  Founded in 1954, it is hosted annually at the Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States. It is considered to be one of the top amateur golf tournaments held in the United States and is classified as a Category A event by the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The Sunnehanna Amateur is played in stroke play format; 72 holes (four rounds) held over four days. Many current and former PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Walker Cup and Ryder Cup players have competed in the tournament. Tiger Woods played in the tournament twice, finishing 5th in 1992 and tied for 12th in 1993.

Nick finished in a tie for 3rd at 12 under – 1 behind the eventual tournament winner Braden Thornberry who won in a playoff against Colin Morikawa.  He had rounds of 65, 70, 65 and 68.  He had a disappointing three putt on the last which cost him the tournament.

In Nick’s own words…..

I hit the ball really well this week and had good control over my emotions.  I devised a really good pre tournament goal I will keep with me for a long time – I have been struggling with my mindset heading into a tournament – outsome versus process and didn’t really know what to focus on.  I now understand that I should be heading into each round with the goal of simply finding my best, whatever that is for the day.  It takes away the outcome measurements and pressures and puts all the emphasis on staying gritty and shooting the best score I can for the day.

My putting wasn’t the greatest this past week – not bad at all but not good enough.  Five out of my eleven bogey’s were from three putts which needs to improve.  My chipping wasn’t bad either but I didn’t give myself many opportunities – on average I missed three greens in regulation per round and most of them were into bunkers.  Short game sharpening up is on the horizon this coming week : )

Sunnehanna Amateur Foundation Incorporated
Sunnehanna Amateur Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2015. The primary purpose of the Sunnehanna Amateur Foundation, Inc. is the promotion of a national and international amateur golf competition, Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament, held annually in Johnstown, PA. The tournament invites players who have participated in the Walker Cup, NCAA, USGA Amateur Events, and players who rank in the top 150 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Amateur Rankings. Also invited are top rank juniors and champions of other major amateur tournaments. In addition, the Sunnehanna Amateur conducts a 18 hole qualifier, which the top four players earn a spot in the Sunnehanna Amateur. The tournament is a 72 hole event played over four days. The Sunnehanna Amateur is a designated point tournament and players can earn points which count toward the Golfweek/Sagarin Amateur Ranking.

Second, the Sunnehanna Amateur will sponsor youth educational activities, such as an instructional golf clinic for children in the Greater Johnstown area. The players who are participating in the Sunnehanna Amateur will conduct basic instructions on the golf swing. Each child will receive a hat for participating at the clinic. In addition, children who have played in junior events or on high school golf teams will play with one of the participants in the Junior-Amateur tournament.

This year’s contributions will aid the Johnstown Backpack Project, an effort of nine local organizations working together to ensure that children do not go hungry over the weekend. Volunteers pack bags full of ready-to-eat meals that reach more than 350 children in the Johnstown area every weekend during the school year. 

The Course at Sunnehanna Country Club

The golf course at Sunnehanna is a terrific example of an Albert W. Tillinghast design. Perched on a hilltop, the course meanders 360 degrees around the clubhouse. The greens are basically small in size, well bunkered, requiring accurate iron play. The ball needs to be placed below the pin to produce the best chance for a birdie. Fairway bunkers generally are only on one side of the fairway, which is a typical Tillinghast characteristic.

Like many of its brethren designed in the early 1920’s, the course has evolved over time. Built prior to the advent of central watering systems, Sunnehanna was designed to play bump and run shots. The course when playing as designed, plays hard and fast with shots meant to be played short of the greens. This accounts for the open entrance to the greens. The course was relatively free of trees. 

In 1956, in response to the success of the Sunnehanna Amateur and the growing influence of parkland golf, Sunnehanna would also change. New trees were added throughout the course, specifically mentioned in tournament notes were 50 trees on the right of number 6 and  number 11, to name a few. 

Sunnehanna is truly a great golf course that has withstood the test of time. The club has recently begun the reconstruction of the fairway and greenside bunkers to return them to their originally intended design. Greens, which had also shrunk, have been brought back to their original size. These subtle changes have resulted in a more aesthetically interesting and demanding course. It is a layout that members and the best players in amateur golf recognize as a terrific test of golf, which is fair and challenging at the same time. 

With these relatively minor changes performed on the course, the scoring average for the Amateur field has changed very little in the 47-year history of the Sunnehanna Amateur. 

The average score over all the years has been 74.09 for 18 holes. A round of golf played on the beautiful course can rarely be described as a “good walk spoiled”.


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About SUNGRL

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.
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