SIOUX CITY – Adam Fields kick-started what turned out to be a historic season on the Siouxland golf scene with a victory at the Tri-State Masters last May.
Fields, a Bishop Heelan and Wayne State College graduate now residing in Council Bluffs, Iowa, went on to win both the Interstate and River-Cade Amateurs -- two more of the Sioux City ‘major’ tournaments – in succession.
The only thing that kept the talented Pottawattamie County sheriff’s deputy from having a shot at completing a Grand Slam was the fact that because he doesn’t live in Sioux City, he wasn’t eligible to compete in the Men’s City Championship.
Nonetheless, Fields put together a string of success not seen in these parts in some 20 years, when current Green Valley head pro Nick Wanderscheid was tearing up the local amateur circuit.
Fields will be among the field of 112 players taking part in the unique tournament staged on three different courses in three separate states beginning on Friday at The Bluffs in Vermillion, South Dakota.
The 31-year-old, though, is thanking his lucky stars that he’s even able to return to his hometown this weekend.
On Feb. 16, Fields pulled over a suspected drunken driver on I-29 North. While he was standing on the driver’s side of the vehicle, a FedEx semi driver, who had fallen asleep at the wheel, slammed into his cruiser, causing debris from the crash to hit Fields.
“Luckily he didn’t hit me but some debris came off my car and hit me in my lower calf muscle,” Fields said. “So I was hung up for a month and a whole other month for physical therapy. I was on light duty for a long time.
“I’m definitely a little behind (in golf) where I should be this time of year, but I’m more than thankful to be here. It was a pretty long road to get back. I was in crutches and a boot for probably a month and it was something else.”
In a story published by Omaha TV station KETV just after the accident, Fields said the semi couldn’t have missed him by more than a couple feet at the most.
“The way it was positioned, the way we’re trained to position our cars, I really do think that it saved my life, and at that point in time, maybe the driver woke up. He at least kept his car straight,” Fields told KETV. “I’m just very fortunate the Lord was watching over me.”
At first, Fields wasn’t sure he would be able to play golf by the time the Tri-State Masters rolled around. He underwent what he called super aggressive physical therapy to push along recovery on his left leg.
“I was just very fortunate in a lot of ways and glad that we can be complaining about golf,” Fields said. “It was extremely traumatic for me. I’m very thankful to be coming up there and we’re looking forward to competing on Friday.”
The biggest change on the docket this year for the Tri-State Masters, which incidentally is one of the point tournaments used to determine the Iowa Amateur of the Year, is the move to Vermillion for the opening round.
“I’m very excited and appreciative the The Bluffs will be the host of the 15th Tri-State Masters,” tournament director Scott Harmelink said. “Head professional Rusty Jensen and his staff have been so accommodating. I’ve heard from several of my friends that have played practice rounds lately that the course is in fantastic shape and hitting fairways will be critical to shoot a low score.”
The second round will once again be contested at Covington Links in South Sioux City on Saturday. Sioux City’s Green Valley Golf Club is the site of the final round Sunday.
“Thank you to the maintenance staff at all three golf courses for their efforts in preparing for the Tri-State,” Harmelink said. “I also want to thank Dakota Dunes for hosting the first round of this event for the past five years.”
Fields, who said the key to his win last year was that he played better at Covington (1-under 70) than he has in the past.
“The summer of 2017 was the first year I can remember that I didn’t win a tournament, so I was pretty motivated that winter going into 2018,” Fields said. “It was hard for me to figure out the Tri-State for a long time because I never played well at Covington, it doesn’t fit my eye. To shoot 70 for me there last year was very satisfying.”
Fields, by the way, has selected popular Sioux City eatery Sneaky’s Chicken to prepare the traditional Masters dinner at Green Valley Sunday. Fields calls Sneaky’s “the best chicken ever.”
Besides Fields, four other past champions are in the field, including three-time winners Ayron Corporon and Nick Dreckman, along with 2010 winner Tyler DeJong, a former teammate of Fields at Wayne State, and 2017 champ Chris Rager.
Jeff Donaldson will defend his title in the Senior division, which also includes perennial contender Sam Prue, among others.
The tournament will be flighted after Saturday’s round at Covington. The Open championship flight will play the gold tees (7,100 yards) at Green Valley Sunday, while all other Open flights will play from the blue tees and the Seniors (50-over) the white tees.