Nick Westrich (Central Missouri photo)
Missouri crowned a new men’s amateur champion this past weekend.
Central Missouri redshirt sophomore Nick Westrich weaved his way through six days of golf to climb his way to the top of the proverbial Missouri golf mountain.
Qualifying as a 5-seed, Westrich felt good early in the tournament despite not having played much since the quarantine began.
“I played a match with my friends the week before the Mo-Am,” Westrich told AmateurGolf.com. “My putter, we were just not getting along very well. I just grinded on my putting the last few days before the tournament.”
Happy with his swing, Westrich found that the course suited his eye and his game to near perfection. Working on his putter prior to the tournament proved valuable as Westrich said that he made putts when needed to and rolled it well over the course of the week.
“I shot a bogey-free 4-under and that was the best round of the day,” Westrich said. “That’s when I knew I could do something special that week.”
Something special was, in fact, brewing for Westrich. Advancing to the championship round via wins of 5 & 4, 2 & 1, 1 up (thru 19), 4 & 3, and 2 & 1, Westrich caught back up with a recently made friend, Missouri State signee, Maxwell Kreikemeier. Westrich and Kerikemeier met on Monday as they played the qualifying rounds together.
“We played the first two rounds together in stroke play and we actually became pretty good friends spending that much time together,” said Westrich. “We were both pulling for each other to get that far.”
The championship match swung back and forth through the first 11 holes with neither pulling away. All square through 11, Westrich began to strike.
“On the back nine I got a few up on him and stayed there,” Westrich said. “I felt comfortable and just kept pushing.”
Taking a 3 up lead to the 19th hole, Westrich gave one back to start the final 18. Kreikemeier kept sticking with Westrich but could not keep up for long as Westrich took a 4 up lead on No. 30, clinching the championship on hole 32 for a 5 & 4 victory.
Although the win is great, Westrich is already looking forward to the upcoming collegiate season.
“We were the No. 2 ranked team in Division II and the No. 18 ranked team overall [last season]”, Westrich said. “We kind of have a chip on our shoulder next year to prove something.”
ABOUT THE Missouri Amateur
36 holes of stroke play qualifying to determine 64
players for match play. Entries are open to male
amateur golfers who are current members of the
play at clubs who are members of the Missouri Golf
Association with a certified handicap index of not
than nine (9.0) on the USGA men’s handicap
Non-exempt players must pre-qualify.
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