It was smooth sailing for Coralville’s Charlie Hoyle’s final round as he captured the 121st Iowa Amateur Championship title at Glen Oaks Country Club. At the very least, that’s what it looked like as he rolled in a bomb of a putt on his finishing hole to clench his six-stroke victory in fashion.
Hoyle (pictured above) never checked the leaderboard.
“Looking at the leaderboard won’t change anything,” Hoyle believed.
The Lytham, England native admitted that he had a sense that he had a few strokes of cushion.
“It was really hot, but there weren’t many people out there,” Hoyle confided, smiling. There’s more than one way to get a feel for the standings.
With one bogey on the front and four birdies on the back, Hoyle was never in danger of losing his position. He was propelled by a tournament-low second round (-7) 64 where he birdied #17, the hardest hole on the course, and finished birdie, eagle on #8 and #9. Hoyle finished the tournament at an even (-13) 200.
His biggest focus throughout the day? Staying fed and hydrated. “I couldn’t drink enough water today,” he said. Temperatures in the high 90s and unrelenting humidity that pushed the “feels like” well above 100, created a mental battlefield of its own. Several spectators resorted to finding shelter in the clubhouse due to the heat. There was some added strategy, though. While some players turned to rain gloves, Hoyle’s rotation of four gloves helped him to keep a grip on the club. It pays to be prepared.
After a slow one-over par first nine, a great birdie on #10 kickstarted Hoyle’s round. He pulled his driver into the left fairway bunker. 107 yards to the pin, he stuck it to eight feet, and found his first birdie of the round. More than anything, it was his terrific putting that set him apart from the field.
The biggest threat to Hoyle was, happily for Hoyle, one of his newest additions to the Hawkeye golf team, Cedar Falls’ Maxwell Tjoa. The previous IGA Boys’ Player of the Year and rising Iowa freshman showcased his ability in a leading pack saturated with collegiate golfers. Tjoa, who finished second at (-7) 206, was followed by Cedar Falls’ Owen Sawyer (soon to be Cyclone freshman) in third, Norwalk’s Dennis Bull and Waverly’s Hogan Hansen (rising Hawkeye sophomore) tied for fourth, and Ames’ Zach May (rising Cyclone sophomore) in sixth.
“I wasn’t really watching [the leaderboard],” Tjoa shared after the round, “I was just aiming at pins, really acting like I had nothing to lose.”
A competitive mindset considering that he entered the final round sitting at third place. Regardless, it paid off as four birdies and two bogeys carried him to a (-2) 69 and the runner-up title.
Tjoa entered the tournament with confidence, having played Glen Oaks several times in the past and always performing well. A strong short game and solid iron play were the keys to his success.
“I didn’t miss a lot of greens, and when I did I was able to get up and down,” Tjoa said. “With his go-for-it mentality, he focused on getting every putt to the hole and “giving [himself] a chance.”
It was a good day for the Hawkeyes.