LARCHWOOD, Iowa — Brad Nurski led his Missouri squad during this year's Midwest Cup, played at the brand new Grand Falls Resort in Larchwood, Iowa. The defending champion and 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up fired 65 on day one and continued stellar play with rounds of 70 and 66 in the final two rounds to close out a ten-shot win.
The team captured a ten-stroke victory, as well, aided by a second-place individual finish from Steve Groom to build upon Nurski's play. Illinois took second place and defending champions Minnesota grabbed third with a strong final day.
First-round leader Chris Long of South Dakota will walk away from the event with a course record to his name. Shooting 64 on Friday, Long shattered the previous record of 71. In fact, seven players shot lower than 71 in the first round. Long, along with Jeff Meyerink and Jesse Talcott, led South Dakota to a fifth place finish. The trio posted 1-under over the three days and tied for eighth individually.
Another notable performance came out of the South Dakota squad as one of two senior members, 65-year-old Mike Brummer, came within a stroke of shooting his age on Sunday. Brummer improved as the week went on, lowering his score by seven shots each day, culminating in a spectacular six-under round on the final day.
Tournament Director Eric Hjortness called this year's event a huge success, citing a number of key elements that came together to produce a high quality event.
First, Hjortness noted the lack of tournament conflicts — meaning the majority of teams were able to bring their "A" teams due to this year's week not coinciding with any of the eight state's state amateur championships.
The closest they came to having an issue was Nebraska, who finished their final state amateur round at Indian Creek Country Club on Friday — round one of the Midwest Cup. Still, Nebraska's top three players put together an impressive showing. Ryan Nietfeldt placed fifth at 3-under 213, Matt Carsey tied for sixth at 2-under 214, while Patrick Duffy tied for eighth at 1-under.
Second, Hjortness addressed the remarkable condition of the golf course — in top shape since opening in the spring of this year. The Rees Jones design reaches over 7,000 yards, and with the heat of the summer beating down, the course remained in fantastic shape.
Thirdly, with seven of the states having recently completed their state amateur championships, players were properly prepared. In fact, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all conducted their respective amateur championships less than two weeks before, meaning their players were at or near the peak of their summer golf game.
The Midwest Cup heads in 2016 to one of the founding golf clubs of the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association — St. Joseph Country Club in Missouri. The home course of the two-time reigning champion Nurski, this A.W. Tillinghast-designed course is regarded as one of the toughest "short" courses in all of the Midwest. Tipping out at just under 6,600 yards, the track features six par-3s, with half of them measuring over 200 yards.
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