Jefferson City, MO March 10th The 102nd playing the Missouri Amateur Championship will return to one of the state's most storied country clubs when top amateurs make their way to St. Joseph Country Club in June. Alden Swift (1904), Richard Bockenkamp (1922), Glen Oatman (1937), Warren Riepen (1948), Tom Watson (1967) and Jimmy Jackson (1976) are among past Missouri Amateur Champions that won't be in the field in June. And if the Missouri Golf Association's wish comes true, the 1988 champion, Don Bliss, will make another run at history in an attempt to add to his 4 Missouri Amateur titles.
The Missouri Golf Association Board of Directors announced golf carts will be permitted to be used by players during the match play portion of the competition. Until this year, players were allowed to use golf carts during the 36-hole stroke play qualifying but were relegated to walking once they qualified for match play. In what becomes a very long and physically demanding week for the player advancing through the match play bracket, the opportunity to use a golf cart provides a second wind of sorts, It came down to a decision to give our top players the opportunity to stay as competitive as possible for as long as possible, said Executive Director, Scott Hovis. We've been fortunate to have attracted the best field in amateur golf to this championship year in and year out. We hope the convenience of carts being available throughout the week makes it easier for our quality mid amateur and senior amateur players continue their participation.
Just last year, four-time Missouri Amateur Champion, Don Bliss advanced deep into the match play competition before losing to eventual runner-up Skip Berkmeyer in the round of 16. Two-time Missouri Amateur Champion, Jim Holtgrieve, also advance to the match play portion of the championship before losing to Brian Scott in the round of 32. Holtgrieve and Bliss are a combined 82-31 throughout their career in this event.
It isn't just the tenured past champions this decision is targeted to impacting. The majority of our participants throughout the year are mid amateurs and senior amateurs, said Hovis. It's in the best interest of the Association to serve these players in a way to encourage their participation. That being said, Hovis is clear to acknowledge the decision to allow golf carts during the match play portion of the competition will be evaluated again next year, we consider this a trial in 2009 and will always listen to the feedback of our players and member clubs.
About theMissouriGolf Association (MGA)-The Missouri Golf Association is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the best interests and true spirit of the game of golf throughout the State ofMissouri.Dating back to 1905; MGA Directors have devoted their time and effort to advance the great game of golf in all corners of the state.The MGA conducts several statewide championships each year. These include the Senior Series, Father/Son, Senior Four-Ball, Amateur, Junior Amateur, Junior Amateur Match Play, Amateur Stroke Play, Ozark Junior Challenge Cup Matches, Four-Ball, Senior Amateur, Mid-Amateur, Junior Team and the Hieronymus Cup Match. These events are open to all amateur golfers inMissouriwho meet eligibility requirements.
The MGA, in conjunction with the USGA, offers theGHIN (Golf Handicap and Information network) Member Service, which is used by over 250 golf courses in the State ofMissouri. GHIN currently services 65 State and Regional Golf Associations with over two million golfers. This national network enables golfers of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis.The MGA is authorized to rate and measure golf courses statewide in accordance with USGA guidelines. This service is available to member clubs and courses