Iowa Open – Iowa, USA

Nick played in the Iowa Open which is a professional tournament between the 25th and 27th August 2017.  The 54 hole tournament was played at Blue Top Ridge in Riverside, Iowa.

Nick finished as the top amateur tied for sixth on 9 under.  The winner was Nyasha Mauchaza from Florida who had a total of 14 under for the three rounds.  The next amateur finished on 7 under in tenth place.

In Nick’s own words…

My preparation leading into both the Herman Sani and Iowa Open was good.  I knew there was a good chance that they wouldn’t provide us with yardage books so I took the initiative to go and out and make my own.  That worked really well and I was more comfortable in the practice rounds taking my time to map out the greens.

I was really pleased with six solid rounds in professional events and it showed me I am able to post good scores with proper course management and a better understanding of my tendencies under pressure or when things aren’t going according to plan.

I thought my swing was a tad off in the Iowa Open but I didn’t let that put me into my usual downward spiral where I over analyse everything.  My play was solid and I made minimal mistakes – I was rarely short sided and I took my medicine when required and didn’t bite off more than I could chew off the tee.

Nyasha Mauchaza wins the 84th Iowa Open Golf Tournament

The Des Moines Regsiter, 27 August 2017

Nyasha Mauchaza’s first-round 65 probably felt like a good omen at the 84th Iowa Open in Riverside. But thanks to a so-so 70 on Saturday, the Florida native had to replicate that performance Sunday to take home the title.

Mauchaza nearly did just that, carding a 5-under 67 on the final day at the Blue Top Ridge Golf Course to narrowly win the tournament and the $25,000 prize. His 14-under total for the event was followed by Nathan Yankovich, at 13-under, Chase Hanna, at 12-under, Brad Hopfinger, at 11-under, and John Gullberg, at 10-under, which rounds out the top five. 

Needless to say, there was little room for error for Mauchaza, who used six third-round birdies to seal the win.

Notable Iowa ties in the open include a couple of amateurs: Former Iowa State golfer Nick Voke finished sixth, at 9-under, while Jeff Swegle, who golfs for Stanford but is from West Des Moines, tied for 11th, at 7-under.

Albia’s Darin Fisher tied for 11th as well. Fellow pro Jeffery Schmid of Iowa City took 14th place.

Blue Top Ridge Golf Course

Blue Top Ridge Golf Course is part of the Riverside Casino and Resort in Iowa.  It was designed by golfcourse architect Rees Jones and completed in 2009.


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Herman Sani Tournament – Iowa, USA

Nick played in the 68th Herman Sani Tournament between the 11th and 13th August 2017 at the Echo Valley Country Club.  The Herman Sani is a 54 hole strokeplay tournament open to both professionals and amateurs and there is also a seniors division for over 50’s.  All entrants must be Iowa Golf Association members or have significant ties to Iowa, for example playing or having played college golf in Iowa.

Nick won the tournament with a total of 204 or 9 under.  His Iowa State and NZ team mate, Denzel Ieremia came runner up on 6 under.

Iowa State Golf Association

NORWALK, IA (August 13, 2017) – You would expect a Cyclone to storm back.

New Zealand’s Nick Voke, who just completed his eligibility at Iowa State University this spring, stormed back to win the 68th Herman Sani Tournament at Echo Valley Country Club.

Voke, who posted an impressive 66 (-5) in the final round, shot 204 (-9) over the three-day event to win by three over former teammate Denzel Ieremia.

“I struck the ball pretty well all week,” Voke said. “I did a little bit of work before today’s round trying to get the speed of the greens.”

Voke admitted that he didn’t even play a practice round, let alone have any prior experience at EVCC.

“I walked the course before round one,” Voke said. “I had a good game plan and was able to come away with (the win).”

Voke birdied three of the last four holes to pull away.

“I was able to make a nice putt on #17,” Voke said. “Then I made a seven-footer on #18 to finish.”

In the Senior Division Joe Palmer, who won the Senior Division in 2013, made birdie on the last hole to take home the title by a shot over Curtis Holck and Rob Dickerman.

Palmer finished at 210 (-3) for the event.

Echo Valley Country Club

Echo Valley Country Club is a family owned, family orientated private golf and country club located just 10 minutes from downtown Des Moines.

Echo Valley Country Club was founded by two of Des Moines’ most prominent businessmen of the 1960s, E.C. “Eddie” Coppola and Hy Diamond. They shared a dream of providing a first-class country club with an inclusive atmosphere welcoming to any who wished to join. The dream of Echo Valley stood in stark contrast to the exclusionary policies of some area clubs at the time.

The land on which Echo Valley was built had been used by Coppola to raise quarter horses. Edward L. Packard of LaSalle, IL designed the 18 holes which now comprise the Vale and Creek courses and construction began in 1967. The Clubhouse was designed by James Paxon Architects, with interior designer Kenneth Melton providing the very chic interior design, with included orange shag carpets. Don’t worry–the carpet has since been replaced and much of the Clubhouse was redesigned in an extensive 1994 renovation and subsequent 2007 facelift.

In an August 30, 1970 article about the Club’s opening titled “Something for Everyone,” The Des Moines Register observed, “It appears that nothing has been left out in Des Moines’ newest addition to the country club scene, Echo Valley Country Club.” We believe this remains true today.



Who was Herman Sani?

BY DAVE ELBERT, Columnist, Friday, July 24, 2015 6:00 AM

 Herman Sani, the namesake of an Iowa signature golf tournament, was an early 20th-century businessman who saved Hyperion Field Club from bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

Nearly 80 years later, three Coppola brothers led by Echo Valley Country Club owner Mike Coppola are, if not saving, at least reinvigorating the Herman Sani Tournament’s scholarship fund with a $250,000 contribution.

The Coppolas’ contribution, announced this week by Iowa Golf Association director Bill Dickens, creates a new base of strength for the Herman Sani Scholarship Fund, which has been creating opportunities for college-bound Iowans since 1958.

You don’t have to be a golfer to receive one of the fund’s four annual $2,000-a-year grants for up to four years. But many recipients have been, including local pro J.D. Turner, who received the inaugural award in 1958, and PGA player Steve Spray.

Turner was one Golf Digest’s Top 50 Golf Instructors and for many years was the club pro at Des Moines Golf and Country Club. Spray played on the PGA Tour during the 1960s and ’70s. Both early recipients later won the Herman Sani Tournament — Spray in 1972 and Turner in 1974 and 1984.   

To appreciate the generosity of brothers Mike, Arthur and Ed Coppola, it helps to know the background of Sani and the tournament that was created at Hyperion to honor him 65 years ago.   

Sani became an Iowa golf legend, not because of his athletic skill, but because of the dramatic way in which he saved one of central Iowa’s earliest golf courses and because of his efforts to help young people.

Local golf historian Bill Reed wrote that Sani was born in Italy on July 12, 1884, the son of Eugenio Sani, a schoolteacher who immigrated to Des Moines in 1892. 

Young Sani was a newsboy, shined shoes and sold programs at the ballpark, according to Reed. Later, he studied civil engineering and worked for the city street department, eventually becoming the chief inspector. 

In 1916, Sani went to work for a paving company that laid a brick road to Camp Dodge during the months leading up to U.S. involvement in World War I. Later, he owned the company.

Sani loved to play golf and was an early member of Hyperion Field Club, which opened its golf course in 1910.

In 1926, he helped plant trees along Hyperion’s fairways. According to Reed, Sani’s engineering background “allowed him to build, rebuild and make golf course improvements all over Iowa.”

Sani was also an early officer of the Iowa Golf Association, serving as secretary-treasurer beginning in 1926.

During the Great Depression, Hyperion fell behind on its property tax payments and in 1936 was to be sold for back taxes, Reed wrote. 

“Herman Sani showed up and paid the past due taxes,” the historian wrote. “Then he reportedly tore up the bill on the Polk County Courthouse steps. There was no record of him being reimbursed.”

The tournament that carries his name was created in 1950 and quickly became “one of the cornerstones of Iowa golf,” said IGA’s Dickens. “It’s one of the few with open competition between amateurs and professionals,” he added. 

The Sani Tournament was always played at Hyperion until a scheduling problem caused it to move in 2013 to Echo Valley Country Club, which now rotates with Hyperion as host of the event. 

The new venue exposed the Coppolas to the Sani history, and the scholarship fund captured their interest. The fund had suffered from a lack of interest, and the IGA launched an endowment drive two years ago. 

“The Coppolas’ generosity is a giant step toward fully endowing our scholarships,” Joe Kehoe, president of the IGA Foundation, said in a news release announcing the family’s gift.

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Western Amateur Championship – Illinois, USA

The Western Amateur has been a prestigious national tournament since its founding in 1899. Many of the great names in golf have won the Western Amateur. Many more have competed in the championship but were unable to conquer the gruelling test that is the Western Amateur.

156 invited players come from across the globe to play one of the toughest formats in amateur golf. They play 18 holes of individual stroke play on the Tuesday and Wednesday after which the field is cut to the low 44 scores and ties. Those remaining play 36 holes of individual stroke play on Thursday to determine the low 16 finishers. The "Sweet Sixteen" then compete in Match Play on Friday and Saturday to determine the champion.

The Western Amateurs' Sweet Sixteen have tuned out to be quite an elite group in the golf world. Over the years, Sweet Sixteen members have accomplished the following….

  • 22 major championships since 2000
  • 15 PGA Tour Player of the Year awards since 1990
  • 4 FedEx Cup titles
  • 13 events on the 2014-15 PGA Tour Schedule
  • 5 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year awards since 1990
  • 9 participants in the 2015 Presidents Cup
  • 7 of the top 20 on the PGA Tour career money list
  • 11 of the last 20 US Amateur Champions

Nick was invited to play in this tournament which was held between the 31st of July and the 5th August at the Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.

Nick and his former Iowa State teammate Ruben Sondjaja made the "Sweet Sixteen" finishing tied for 3rd on 11 under after 72 holes. Nick played Dylan Perry first up and won the match 5 and 4. Unfortunately Ruben got beaten by Derek Bard – if he had progressed to the next round he would have been playing Nick. Nick then played Derek and unfortunately went down 2 and 1. Derek would then lose in his semi final match to the eventful winner Norman Xiong who had also finished at the top of the leaderboard after 72 holes.

In Nicks own words……….

The coolest thing about my week at the Western Amateur was my mindset. I entered the event with minimal swing thoughts and progressively played more and more freely as the week went on. My mindset was more about seeing how good I could play imperfectly rather than my usual attitude of seeing how close to perfect I could play. This was evident in my quarterfinal match against Derek Bard – I snap hooked a 2 iron into a tree and it kicked into the fairway. Instead of being annoyed with my second shot on a par five and trying to figure out what went wrong, I got up to the ball and hit a low nipper wedge to 9 feet and drained the putt for a birdie. I didn't care how I made the birdie, I cared that I made the birdie.

I hit 79% of my fairways. As the week went on my driving did get more and more scrappy but I managed it well and went to my go to shots when things weren't going so well or when I was under pressure. All in all it was a successful week and I have a good action plan for the next few weeks in terms of working on the inconsistent or not as mentally strong and resilient parts of my game.


Playing in the Pro-Am

Skokie Country Club

Skokie Country Club is a private country club in Glencoe, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Founded in 1897, it features a 7091-yard 18-hole course.

In 1843, President John Tyler granted, through purchase, a large tract of land to a man named Marcus Gormley. In 1897 a piece of the property was purchased by a group of Chicago businessmen who had come together to form a golf club.

The land stood atop a ridge and overlooked a broad oak savannah plain and in the distance, a wetland area. This portion, known as the “Skokie”, probably got its name from a Potawatomi Indian word for swamp or marsh. From this came “The Links of Skokie Country Club”.

There have been 4 course layouts here.

The first, designed by a member, had 9 holes. All that remains today is the small pond on No.18 and the routing of No. 8.

In 1904, the members hired Thomas Bendelow to design an 18 hole course. An acclaimed architect in his day, it should be noted that he also designed Medinah No. 3 and Olympia Fields Nos. 1 and 2.

Skokie is known as a “Donald Ross Course”. The legendary designer came to Skokie in 1914. With his signature “fore bunkers” 20 to 30 yards short of the green, lofted shots to mounded greens were promoted.

In 1922 Skokie was chosen to host the U. S. Open. Called the “National Open” at the time, a first-ever admission fee of $1 was charged. With the best golfers of the day including Walter Hagen, John Black and Bobby Jones, it drew 15,000 spectators, the largest crowd in Open history to that point.

A 20-year-old former caddie named Gene Sarazen won the tournament with a birdie 4 on the par 5 18th hole.

At the Skokie Centennial in 1997, Mr. Sarazen stood on the 18th green to address the membership. Standing on the terrace, on the slope down from the clubhouse and extending out to the putting green were most of the club’s 300 members. They were dressed in formal attire to pay homage and listen to the man who had meant so much to Skokie Country Club and who had become a legend in the history of the game. Emotion was palpable.

With the sunset at his back, Mr. Sarazen stood up to the microphone, “My grandfather won the U.S. Open here in 1922.” When the laughter passed, the 95-year old champion continued -“Boy, the trees sure have grown!

In 1938, the Club acquired land adjacent to the lagoons in the southwest “footprint” of the course. That land and real estate transactions in the north section enabled a substantial reworking. The architectural team of William Langford and Theodore Moreau were hired. Fresh from their “masterpiece” at Lawsonia Links in Green Lake, Wisconsin, they redesigned much of the layout with respect paid to the integrity of Mr. Ross’s intentions. With the exception of some modifications by the firm of Rees Jones in 1981, the current course is much as Langford and Moreau left it in the late 1930’s.

In 1999, the membership overwhelmingly approved the engagement of Mr. Ron Prichard to update the course. His extensive experience as a Donald Ross disciple was impressive and work began immediately. Mr. Prichard redesigned the greens and bunkers to the original Ross specifications and oversaw the removal of trees of poor or insignificant value. The result is classic Donald Ross.

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Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship – Kansas, USA

Nick played in the 114th Trans-Mississippi Championship between the 10th and 13th July. The tournament was held at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. The format was 72 holes of strokeplay – the starting field of 144 players will be reduced to 54 after the second round.

Unfortunately it wasn't Nick's week and he missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 76. The winner was Cameron Champ from California on 9 under.

Cameron Champ played in the US Open in June and along with Scottie Scheffler (another amateur playing in the Trans-Miss) and they were the only two amateurs to make the cut. Scottie Scheffler won the Low Amateur medal and finished in a tie for 27th.

In Nick's own words…..

I hit a lot of quality golf shots but overall I was inefficient and my putter was cold. I just couldn't get the momentum going and sloppy mistakes crept in. However, my attitude remained good throughout and I didn't give up. I continued to plug along with everything I had. It reminded me of something Jay Carter (my NZ coach) once told me – we always see everyone playing well on TV and think that's what professional golf is all about but in reality it is more about the days when you're not firing on all cylinders but you continue fighting with everything you have.

Trans-Miss History

The Trans-Mississippi Amateur or Trans-Miss Amateur has been played annually since 1901. It is played at a different course each year – the courses are all located near or west of the Mississippi River. From 1987 to 2009, the field was limited to mid-amateurs (age 25 or greater). From its inception through to and including the 2009 event it was played in two parts, a 36 hole stroke play competition to determine a 64 player field for the match play competition. Beginning in 2010, it is a 54 hole stroke play tournament with no age restrictions on entry.

Past winners include Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Bryson DeChambeau who has turned pro in the last couple of years.

Prairie Dunes Country Club

Tom Watson described Prairie Dunes as "A little bit of Scotland in the land of Oz. Sunflowers instead of heather, oceans of grain instead of the sea. But, like Scotland, be prepared because the wind always blows." When they say Oz they are referring to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is swept from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado.

It is unusual to find a links style course in the centre of the USA where there is no seaside.

Emerson Carey, founder of Carey Salt Company, was an avid golfer and had travelled the world with his family, playing top ranked courses in the early 1900s including Scotland in the 1920s. Carey and his four sons became a staple in the Hutchinson golf community, contributing to the development of several courses in the area. In 1935 the Carey family commissioned architectural genius Perry Maxwell (Southern Hills, Colonial Country Club, redesign of Pine Valley and Augusta National) to design a masterpiece. Thus, the idea of Prairie Dunes was born.

Maxwell's response to the 480 acre canvas for his masterpiece, "there are 118 holes here, all I have to do is eliminate 100".

Thus, construction began on Prairie Dunes. The course was molded from the Kansas land using 18 horses and mules, Fresno scrapers and wheelbarrows. The only mechanised equipment used were Model T and Model A Fords which were used to bring the workers to site. Greens and fairways came to life by teams dragging plows and scoops, while roots of native grass and weeds were removed by hand one wheelbarrow at a time. In true Kansas fashion, a tornado swept across the site, forcing men into a bunker for protection. Despite the elements, Prairie Dunes opened the first 9 holes on the 13th September 1937. Twenty years later in 1957, The Dunes opened the second 9 holes, designed by Perry Maxwell's son.

Prairie Dunes had held the Trans-Miss five times prior to 2017.

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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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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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Nick Voke Golf moving forward……..

The last four years at Iowa State University have simply been incredible.  The improvement in my golf game throughout my time in college has been surpassed only by the development of my character – the life lessons, experiences and memories will be with me forever. Having just recently graduated though, I now look forward to the next phase of my life where I will pursue my dream as a touring professional.

The next four to twelve months are going to be very exciting!  Although the options and possibilites are endless, there is a substantial amount of uncertainty when considering which professional tour to join and where to base myself.  Bearing in mind some of the restrictions I will soon encounter – I will try and lay out a simplifed version of my plan here.

 I believe that from a development perspective, Iowa State is the best place for me to base myself in the short-term. The coaches, facilities and competition combine to provide an environment I can’t immediately replicate by myself anywhere else.  Therefore, I will be staying on campus until December 2017.  In order for me to maintain a student visa and some financial aid, I am competing an Internship at a local Chiropractor that the athletic department utilises.  This great opportunity to work alongside Dr. Feil allows me the freedom I need to compete and train at a world-class level while also furthering my academic interests in the ‘real-world’.

 In terms of my upcoming golf – I will be playing a full summer schedule of amateur golf here in the USA while also completing some hours for my Chiropractoric internship. The events are below…

1. Sunnehanna Amateur​ – ​Pennyslvania​ – 14th to 17th June ​

2. North-East Amatuer​​ – Rhode Island​​ – 21st to 24th June 

3. Trans-Miss Amateur​​ – Kansas​ – 10th to 13th July ​​

4. Western Amateur​​ – Illinios​​​ – 31st July to 5th August 

5. US Amatuer​​​ – California​ – 14th to 21st August​

My first attempt at securing status on a professional circuit will be in October 2017 on the US Web.com tour (stepping stone to the US PGA Tour).  I will be competing in the QualifyingSschool as an amateur.  The details are below:

Pre-qualifying​ ​Exempt Status

1st Stage ​​- Arbor Links – Nebraska​​​ – 3rd to 6th October 

2nd Stage – TPC Craig Ranch – Texas​ – 7th to 11th November 

Final Stage​ – Whirlwind Golf Club – Arizona​​ – 7th to 11th December

I will also be competing in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in late October at Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand.  This event takes place in between the 1st and 2nd stage of the web.com qualifying school.  I have come close in previous years and have a good shot at winning this year – the winner receives an invitation to the 2018 Masters.

Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship​ ​- Royal Wellington Golf Club – New Zealand – 21st to 24th October

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