The top amateur golfers in the state, including St. Joseph, will convene next week for the 111th Annual Missouri Amateur Championship at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau.
That field includes two-time champion Brad Nurski, the fourth St. Joseph player to claim the title of the state’s top amateur golfer.
Because of those who won it before him — including Alden Swift, Don Smith, Warren Riepen from his hometown — it’s his favorite event of the year.
“All the names on the trophy. You’ve got Tom Watson, Payne Stewart, Skip Berkmeyer — my buddy — the names are endless,” Nurski said. “Anytime you can put you name on any kind of trophy, it’s special.”
Four others will represent St. Joe beginning with Tuesday’s stroke play, including 2006 runner-up Brian Haskell, 2018 Class 2 champion Brooks Jungbluth, Western assistant Ryan Hand and three-time Class 2 runner-up Hank Lierz.
The Bishop LeBlond senior-to-be earned an automatic qualification with his Junior Match Play title in 2017. Lierz lost in the Round of 64 match play last year but took away valuable experiences.
“Last year was definitely a very fun experience here at my home course. This year, I’m just gonna try and get a good seed going into match play,” Lierz said. “It’s all the best players in your home state. You wanna rank yourself high up there with the other players, especially Brad Nurski. It would be fun to make it deep into match play.”
Maryville’s Matthew Twaddle also is among the competitors.
Nurski defeated 2016 champion Sam Migdal last year 2 up after falling behind by one after 33 of the 36 holes.
Nurski chipped in for birdie to bring the match to all square on hole 34. Nurski went ahead on hole 35 with a par and birdied the final hole to win his second Missouri Amateur Championship.
Going for his third trophy in the tournament, he knows what separates the winners at the end of the grueling six-day event.
“The want, the will, the fight, hard work and sacrifice from you and your family. I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on that. My wife puts up with me and doesn’t like it when I don’t come home with something to show for it,” Nurski said with a grin.
Nurski’s title defense begins with a 1:32 p.m. tee time Tuesday.