Much of the golf world will be focused on two nationally prominent events taking place at opposite ends of the state this June 6-8.
The Champions Tour will host the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops June 6-8 at the renamed Buffalo Ridge course and at the iconic Top of the Rock par three venue. The tournament will be played at the “big” course, Buffalo Ridge, and Top of the Rock on Friday and Saturday and the full field will compete at The Top of the Rock course on Sunday.Buy Tickets
The Top of the Rock, designed by Jack Nicklaus, will be the first par three course to host a PGA Tour event. The range at Top of the Rock was designed by Arnold Palmer and the putting green by Missouri native Tom Watson. Nicklaus and Watson have committed to play in the event, as have Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and a host of Champions Tour stars. The event, relocating from Savannah, GA, was won in 2013 by the team of Jeff Sluman and Brad Faxon. Watch Video Interview below.
That same weekend, June 6-8, the iconic St. Louis Country Club will host the 38th playing of the biennial Curtis Cup matches between amateur squads from the US and Great Britain & Ireland. St. Louisan Ellen Port, the defending Senior Women’s Amateur Champion, will captain the US squad made up of eight college players.
The amateurs will play for a total of 20 points—6 in foursomes (alternate shot), 6 in fourball, and 8 singles matches on Sunday. The GB&I team holds the Cup by virtue of their 10.5-9.5 victory in 2012 in Nairn, Scotland. Watch Video Interview below.
The Watson Challenge, moved to June 13-15 because of Watson’s participation in the Champions Tour event, will be at the Watson-designed Country Club of Loch Lloyd. Watson will defend the title he won last year with a five stoke victory over Milburn pro Sean Dougherty.
“Loch Lloyd will be another excellent test,” Watson said. “It has a links feel to it in that you start out at number one and don’t return to the clubhouse until 18. I look forward to the best players in Kansas City tackling the course this year.”
After a 33-year absence, the 107th Missouri Amateur returns to the West Course at Norwood Hills CC in north St. Louis. Prior to 1981, a win by outgoing Walker Cup Captain Jim Holtgrieve over Denny Moore, the state am was hosted by Norwood Hills in 1938 and 1931.
Defending Champion Joey Johnson, a sophomore at Missouri State, will be back to defend the title he won in the finals over Mizzou standout Ryan Zech. There are a host of players gunning to unseat him, including Richard “Skip” Berkmeyer, a long-time Norwood member and loser to Zech in the round of 8 last year, who probably has the most “local” knowledge of the course and the sometimes baffling green speeds.
We’re guessing Drew Stoltz of Scottsdale, AZ will be back at CC of St. Albans this July 10-12 to defend his Metropolitan Open title. He’s currently playing in his home state in the All American Gateway Tour and has cashed in five of six events and won just north of $8,000. Last July at St. Albans he took home the Jimmy Manion Trophy and $13,500 with a come-from-behind one stroke win over Shawn Jasper and Chris Thomson at four-under 206. The field will again be mostly professionals competing for the significant prize money offered by The Metropolitan and their title sponsor, Plaza Motors.
Zac Dittmer of Liberty claimed the 23rd Kansas City Amateur Championship last year with a convincing five shot win over runners-up Travis Mays and Cy Moritz. This year’s event, again contested at Shoal Creek, will be held July 11-13.
Written by Jim Vastyan, publisher for The Missouri Golf Post.