Northeast Amateur – Rhode Island, USA

Nick played in the prestigious Northeast Amateur from the 21st to the 24th June.  He had another strong showing finishing in a tie for 8th at 3 under with rounds of 63, 72, 70 and 68.  The winner, Colin Morikawa finished on 11 under.

The tournament was played on the Wannamoiset Country Club in Rhode Island.

In Nick's own words………..

I drove the ball amazingly well this week – I hit 75% of fairways and didn't have any wasted shots off the tee which is huge. I did a great job managing my emotions and staying in a good frame of mind. This was demonstrated when I went through a stretch of 58 holes with only two birdies. I kept assuring myself that I don't have to play perfect to complete and that my game is good enough – I kept telling myself that I am only one shot away from playing great.

My putting let me down again this week and I battled to commit to my feels. Overall I didn't feel I played that well so was very pleased to come away tied for 8th. There were some tremendous improvements in my driving, however everything else felt a bit sloppy so I look forward to the next two weeks practice and preparation for the next tournament.

Nick was the clubhouse leader after the first round – check out the Day 1 highlights videos and news story here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AHz8CuUk9c4&feature=youtu.be

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Fudjv-m-4vo

New Zealand's Nick Voke (Iowa State '17) Leads After Round 1 (http://www.northeastamateur.com/news)

EAST PROVIDENCE _ Nick Voke is on a hot streak these days, and his strong play continued Wednesday in the first round of the 56th Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett Country Club.

Voke, a recent graduate of Iowa State who hails from New Zealand, led an onslaught on par at the old Donald Ross-designed course, posting a 6-under 63. He had seven birdies, three of them deuces on par-3s.

He needed all of them to be in the lead by himself. Collin Morikawa, a first-team All-American at the University of California and member of the United States Palmer Cup team, was second with a 64 that included an eagle when he spun his approach from 92 yards back into the cup on the 391-yard, par-four 11th.

Another All-American, Scottie Scheffler of Texas, followed up his low amateur performance at the U.S. Open last week by tying for third at 4-under 65. Clemson All-American Doc Redman and Vanderbilt star Theo Humphrey also had 65s. Reigning Rhode Island Amateur champion Davis Chatfield, a Wannamoisett member, was the low area player with a 67.

In all, 35 of the 92 starters shot par or better. The majority of the low scores were posted early on when the winds were light and the greens softer than usual because of rain on Tuesday. Voke was among those in the early wave who took advantage. He came in on a roll, having finished third at last week’s Sunnehanna Amateur, one stroke out of a playoff for the title. That followed a first-place finish in the Texas Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

"It was a good day,’’ Voke said. “I got off to a pretty hot start. I holed a putt on the first hole and chipped in on the third, so I was 2-under quick,’’ he said. He birdied 11, 12, 13 and 15 to make it a special round.

I was feeling good and my game is in a good spot,’’ he said.

Voke, who tied for fifth at the Northeast two years ago, is delaying turning pro for two reasons. He wants to play the amateur circuit for a final summer and he also is taking time to do an internship. A kinesiology major, he is interested in a possible career as a chiropractor. He has arranged to do an internship with a chiropractor later this summer.

Morikawa also picked up where he left off last week. He lost the Sunnehanna title in a playoff. The resident of La Canada Flintridge, Cal., has moved to third in the world amateur rankings after earlier being number one.

Another highlight of the opening day was that it also included what is believed to be a first in the Northeast’s 56-year history, and a first in the more than century old Wannamoisett annals, as well.

Ben Wolcott, a junior at the University of Mississippi, made back-to-back eagles on 16 and 17. He had been 4-over through 15, including a pair of double bogeys earlier on the back nine. But he holed out a wedge from 135 yards on the par-4 16th, then reached the green from 282 yards on the par-5 17th. His shot ended four feet from the hole and he made that one, too. So, in the span of two holes he went from 4-over to even.

His feat was unheard of previously because Wannamoisett has only one par-5. The 17th annually gives up some eagles. But few eagles are made elsewhere, so having eagles on back-to-back holes simply is unheard of.

"I know it’s never been done in the Northeast,’’ said Bill Lunnie, the former director of the Northeast and a long time Wannamoisett member. "And I don’t think it’s ever been done at this course.’’

Scheffler was among the others putting himself in good position after the first day. The University of Texas All-American, who turned 20 on Wednesday, was a late arrival. He had travel issues after finishing as low amateur in last week’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. He did not arrive until midnight Monday at the home of the Conley family, his hosts for the last four years.

"I kind of slept in Tuesday,’’ he said. He did limited prep work but was back in stride well enough to record six birdies and two bogeys for an opening 65.

Scheffler spoke about the difference going from the 7,800-yard Open to the 6,700-yard Northeast.

"There it’s long and open,’’ he said. "Here it’s all about precision.’’

Auburn star Jacob Solomon provided another highlight with an ace on the third hole. 

"It was 144 yards dead into the wind,’’ Solomon said. “It was playing more like 160, so I hit eight iron.’’

"With the pin way back, it was as tough as that hole plays,’’ said Brad Valois, the four-time Rhode Island Amateur champion who was his playing partner. "It hit about a foot behind the hole and spun back in.’’

"That’s a memory,’’ Solomon said. Solomon finished with a 66 that also included birds on each of the last two holes.
The stroke average for the day was 70.6. No records are kept in that department, but that is thought to be the lowest one-day number in tournament history.

Northeast Amateur History

The Northeast Amateur Invitational is considered a ‘major’ in amateur golf, and is ranked #4 of the U.S. amateur golf events of more than 700 events ranked by the R&A World Amateur Ranking List. It is the only 72 hole amateur event played in twosomes, and has been given the name of “Masters of Amateur Golf” by a noted senior golf writer. The tournament began in 1962 and was played as a 54 hole event until 1968. Currently the tournament is conducted over 72 holes of stroke play, with a cut after 54 holes. The field consists of top amateur players throughout the world and is limited to 90 players, by invitation only. 

Past champions have included Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald, Hal Sutton, Ben Crenshaw and Anthony Kim.

Wannamoisett Country Club

Wannamoisett Country Club is home to one of the finest golf courses in the United States. The Donald Ross designed par 69 masterpiece has been ranked as one of the Top 50 courses in the nation by Golf Magazine, Golfweek and Golf Digest. In addition, Links Magazine voted Wannamoisett one of "The 100 Most Prestigious Golf Clubs in the World". Wannamoisett hosted the PGA Championship in 1931 and welcomes the world's best amateur golfers to the annual Northeast Amateur Invitational.

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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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