Former Wildcat Matt Van Cleave wins Missouri Amateur
Van Cleave, a May 2005 K-State grad, carded a three-round total of 6-under 201 to finish five strokes better than defending champion B.J. Curry of Sedalia and Tim Homes of Springfield.
A birdie on No. 13 started a run of three birdies in five holes that help Van Cleave sew up the win.
On the 16th hole, Van Cleave hit a 7-iron four feet from the cup for a birdie, then lofted in a sand wedge from 10 feet away to birdie 17.
“Anytime you’re close to winning, you automatically kind of tighten up,” Van Cleave told the Kansas City Star. “This was the first time my body has reacted in a positive way.”
Because of rain Tuesday, the championship was shortened to three rounds. Van Cleave and many other golfers were forced to play 36 holes Thursday.
However, than may have ultimately benefited Van Cleave, who routinely played 36 holes during the opening day of college tournaments while at K-State.
“When I play 18 holes, most days I’m just getting warmed up, feeling like I’m ready to go again,” Van Cleave added in his post-tournament interview with the Star. “It’s an advantage having played college golf, understanding the mental toughness it was going to take.”
Van Cleave, who was tapped as both a first team All-Big 12 performer on the links and in the class room this spring, won the 2005 Matlock Invitational and the 2003 Purina Classic as a collegian. However, this was his first big victory on the amateur circuit. He will turn pro this fall and try to make the Nationwide Tour at the tour’s qualifying school.
“I was sitting there thinking: This is my last chance to win a state amateur,’ ” Van Cleave told the Star. “To be able to come through like I did, it’s a great feeling.”
The victory is the fifth state amateur title won by a Wildcat since the opening of Colbert Hills as Van Cleave joins Matt Williams (2001 Kansas), A.J. Elgert (2003 & 2004 Nebraska) and Ben Kern (2004 Arizona) as a state medalist.
Liberty Hills Country Club
1. MATT VAN CLEAVE, MARYVILLE, Mo., 68-68-65--201
2. BJ CURRY, SEDALIA, Mo., 69-70-67--206
TIM HOLMES, SPRINGFIELD, Mo., 67-68-71--206
4. SKIP BERKMEYER, ST. LOUIS, Mo., 67-68-72--207
5. BRIAN HASKELL,
6. TYLER SHELTON, KANSAS CITY, Mo., 70-68-72--210
8. DAVID JOHNSON, ST LOUIS, Mo., 72-68-72--212
JAMES GODWIN, POPLAR BLUFF,
10. GREGORY LOTECKIE, RAYMORE,
KENT PHILLIPS, CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., 68-68-77--213
SHAWN JASPER, MARTHASVILLE,