Action at the Am
Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Colin Pearson became just the third player in Fort Dodge Amateur history to limbo the 200 barrier for the 54-hole event this past weekend.
Pearson’s 14-under par total of 199 tied the mark first established by Eagle Grove’s Jason Knutzon in 1998, then matched by Chad McCarty of Tiffin in 2006. Knutzon later became a professional and regular on the Asian Tour. McCarty has been widely regarded as one of the best amateurs in the state for years.
In other words, Pearson has reached rarefied air. Remember, the FD Am is a nut even Zach Johnson couldn’t crack in 1997 when he let the back nine get the best of him at the Fort Dodge Country Club while trying to protect a late lead.
To put that score in proper perspective, Cory Braunschweig finished a distant second at seven-under 206. That number would have been good enough to win all but 11 of the fully completed FD Am titles since the tournament went to 54 holes nearly six full decades ago.
Braunschweig’s 2013 total was actually seven shots better than his 1996 effort, which made him a back-to-back FD Am champion at the time. Braunschweig also carded a 64 on Saturday, which tied Chris Emanuel (1997), Knutzon (1998) and Chris Vandell (1999) for the lowest 18-hole round ever at the tournament until Pearson shattered it with a 62 a few hours later.
Yes, nothing could derail Pearson, the two-time defending city tournament king who seems to be following in the footsteps of local dominance previously displayed by Braunschweig and Kevin Ault – both ex-Dodgers themselves.
Pearson’s aggregate score was impressive enough, but his double-eagle at the par-five 15th on Saturday was an unprecedented feat in the rich and storied tradition of this tournament. There have been 66 Fort Dodge Amateurs featuring approximately 12,000 golfers, which equates to around 500,000 total holes played. Eagles and even hole-in-ones are an annual occurrence, but an ”albatross” – three-under par on one hole – is more unique than seeing the bird itself.
According to varying sources, the rough odds of recording an albatross range from a million-to-1 all the way to six million-to-1. There were just 56 recorded double-eagles on the PGA Tour from 1983 through 2003.
So it was quite a weekend of action at the state’s second oldest amateur, which first teed off in 1948. Unfortunately, for the second straight year, the Iowa Golf Association scheduled the start of the state match play tournament for Monday in Iowa City. That forced many prior FD Am regulars – players like J.D. Anderson, Mike McCoy, Kirby Pettitt, Jeff Panek and McCarty – to choose between the two events, and again decreased the number of FD Am participants by about 30 percent.
Expect that to change in 2014. If the IGA doesn’t move state match play to a different date, the FD Am should and will find a better weekend. As one of the state’s premier point events with a track record of nearly seven decades, it deserves better treatment. Show the ol’ gal some respect already.
Eric Pratt is Sports Editor at The Messenger. He may be reached afternoons and evenings at 1-800-622-6613, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org