The 2010 Clinton Riverboat Days Amateur Golf Tournament will be played this weekend, but it will be played on a different stage.
This will be the 27th RBD tournament to be contested over the Clinton Country Club at the Oaks 18-hole layout, the former Valley Oaks Golf Club.
“There are few changes in the course,” said Country Club pro Matt Lewis, in his seventh year at the club. “The most noticeable change the switching of the front and back nines. The back nine is now the front nine (and the front nine is now the back nine).”
Talking recently, Lewis said: “I am unsure of how many entries we might receive. We used to receive most of the entries in the first month they were accepted; now most of them come in during the last three to four weeks before the meet.
“The first thing I did when hearing of the course sale was to call Bill Dickens (executive director of the Iowa Golf Association),” he said. “I wanted to secure this point event for Clinton and told him it would be continued on the same June dates that it has in the past.”
Dickens said, “The Riverboat Days Amateur has been an IGA sanctioned event for 25 years, and we are very pleased that it will remain as a mainstay event in Eastern Iowa for our player of the year competition.”
Kyle Bermel, a former University of Northern Iowa golfer, and Dean Cavanaugh both shot 215 in the open division a year ago, forcing a playoff. Bermel shot par on the first playoff hole to defeat Cavanaugh. Matt Steddom and Chad McCarty tied for third with 218s.
“It was tough going into a playoff last year,” Cavanaugh said Sunday. “I was three-up with three (holes) to go. He shot a birdie and an eagle, sending it into the playoff.”
Bermel is now playing professional golf and will not be defending his title, making it a wide-open event.
“Does that mean it is automatically mine?” Cavanaugh said laughingly. “It will be interesting to see how scores will be at Valley Oaks. Its layout is more wide open and more wide open greens. There are not so many trees to hit, so you can play a little bit more errant and there will probably be more three-putt greens.
“I haven’t been playing as much (as I should have), but I have a new driver and have been hitting the ball well. I thought of switching to the senior division but then decided to stay in the open division. My goal is to be the oldest golfer to win the Riverboat Days Amateur.
“Other contenders could be Chris Klahn (1999 champion) from Clinton and Chad McCarty (winner in 2007 and 1998),” Cavanaugh said. “Klahn, Kurt Fier, Paul Niedermeyer and I are all club members, and I think we might have a little advantage, perhaps two or three strokes, knowing the course. It will be interesting.”
Other winners back include Sam Aossey (1990, 1997) of Cedar Rapids and former Clintonian Randy Trine (2000) of Burlington.
Flight winners last year included Isaac Davis, Thomas Payne, Ryan Gaul, Reid Petersen and Tyler Swanson (2003 champion). Jim Butler was first in the senior’s division, with Ron Huckfeldt and Del Miller taking flight honors.
The first Riverboat Days Amateur golf tournament was played in 1984, an 18-hole affair won by Dr. Steve Vorheis, who shot 4 under par on the former 6,348-yard Clinton Country Club course on Harrison Drive. Vorheis had 34s on both the front and back nines to beat Kevin DeNike of Bettendorf by two stroke.
Flight winners in the first RDA were Dr. Jim Cherveny, Gene Rosendale, Doug Tremblath, John Lehmkuhl and Gary Bowers.
After present PGA (Professional Golfer’s Association) member Todd Hamilton of Oquawka, Ill., captured three titles in a row, Vorheis came back to the top in 1988.
“Unfortunately I will not be able to participate in this (year’s) tournament,” Vorheis said. “I have played in almost every one, but this year there is a schedule conflict.
“My (Iowa City) high school class had its 40th reunion last year and three members were unable to attend. Without knowing this year’s (RBD) dates we set up our own reunion this weekend in Sioux City. I will miss playing in it.”
This is a 54-hole tournament with a 36-hole qualifying portion. After 36 holes on Friday and Saturday, the field in the regular division will be cut to 104 players, with the low 32 players and ties playing in the championship flight.
The remaining players will be assigned to five flights. The senior division will be cut to the low 40 players and ties. A golfer must be 50 years old or older to participate in the senior division. Play will start at approximately 7 o’clock Friday morning.