BARRY POE: Interstate Amateur kicks off busy month of golf in Siouxland
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BARRY POE: Interstate Amateur kicks off busy month of golf in Siouxland

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Barry Poe

Poe

SIOUX CITY -- A busy month of golf begins this weekend with the second Siouxland ‘major’ of the season, the 82nd Interstate Amateur at Two Rivers Golf Club.

A talented field of 90 will converge on the tree-lined course formally known as the Sioux City Boat Club, which hosted the first two installments of what was then known as the Ben Hogan Dakota Dunes Open in the early 1990s.

The 36-hole event begins with the opening round on Saturday and concludes with the final 18 holes Sunday.

“I am anticipating a great tournament on a course that’s in great shape,” Two Rivers head pro and tournament director Rodd Slater said. “It’s a little wet out here right now, but we’ve got a great field and I expect it to be a heck of a tournament.”

Adam Fields, a deputy sheriff from Council Bluffs, Iowa, will return to defend his title. The Sioux City Bishop Heelan and Wayne State College graduate won three of the four majors last year and finished second in the recently completed Tri-State Masters a couple of weeks ago.

Another past champion in the field is Nick Dreckman of Le Mars, Iowa, already a winner earlier this spring at the Elk Point Early Bird. Dreckman, in fact, won his third Interstate title two years ago.

Fields made a birdie on the first hole of sudden death last year to defeat Cody Holck, a Morningside College player from Ankeny, Iowa. Holck fired a 66 in the final round to force the extra hole.

Speaking of Morningside College, another of Coach Todd Sapp’s talented linksters, Tyler Danke, came from behind to win the Tri-State Masters. Danke, an East High grad, was the only player to break par on a cold and windy Sunday at Green Valley, shooting 70 to overtake Fields for his first career victory.

Danke, however, won’t be able to play this weekend because of work commitments. He has, though, grabbed the top spot in the Sioux City Journal Siouxland Player of the Year point standings as the Tri-State triumph was worth 400 points, giving Danke 465 on the young season to 280 for Fields and 270 for Colin Mitchell, who played in the final group at the Tri-State Masters. Dreckman (230) and Tyson Bodlak (200) round out the top five.

The Interstate Amateur returned to its roots, so to speak, last year with the two-day 36-hole format. For years, it was played on Saturday and Sunday and covered 45 holes, but prior to last season it was a Sunday-only 27-hole tournament.

Slater reports that nearly half of the Northwestern College golf team has entered, as well as 2018 Northwestern graduate Justin Kraft, who has finished near the top of the leaderboard the last couple of years.

Brock Murphy of Tea Area, the reigning South Dakota Class A high school state champion, will also tee it up.

Veterans Jeff Donaldson and Bill Mathers also can’t be counted out. Each has enjoyed success in the popular Siouxland Senior Open, which by the way will be held Friday, June 7 at Two Rivers.

Donaldson, the owner of Sun Valley Golf Course in Sioux City, was a longtime member at Two Rivers and a past winner of both the River-Cade and Men’s City championship. Mathers won the Senior Division of the Tri-State Masters in sudden death over Scott Wieck.

The Interstate will be worth double points in the Player of the Year race and is the first of four points events on the schedule this month.

Cherokee Golf Course will host the 85th annual Sioux Valley Match Play – Iowa’s oldest match-play event – June 15 and 16. A new twist this year rewards POY points for players in both the championship and first flight at Cherokee.

The Ridge Mid-Summer is June 22 at Sioux Center, Iowa, while the Whispering Creek Invitational will be played June 29-30 in Sioux City. Both events include Senior Divisions and Whispering Creek is a double points tournament.

You can circle July 26-28 on your calendar as The Ridge will be the proud host of the prestigious Iowa Amateur, the flagship event of the Iowa Golf Association. Read more about this tournament in the future.

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