US Open Local Qualifying Notables

matt at 115th us open qualifier
Making birdie on the 10th after lipping out for a double-eagle – that kind of day for Matt van Niekerk

Notables making some birdie putts

You can read about it here.

Locust Hill C.C. member Adam Condello fired a 2-under 69 at the U.S. Open local qualifier Monday at Mendon Golf Club, but fell one shot short of the cutline to make sectionals.

Only two spots were available to the 42 players who competed Monday. Gavin Hall blazed an 8-under 63 on his home track to grab one ticket for U.S. Open Sectionals. Danny Kim snared the other with birdies on 15 and 16 to complete one of the craziest rounds of 68 you’ll ever see.

Condello had a nice par save on 14 and rolled in a 30-footer on 16 for birdie to reach 2-under. He did outduel Luke Graboyes in a playoff for the Sectionals alternate spot.

Graboyes’ 69 was highlighted by a long eagle putt on 10 and a short birdie on 12. The sophomore at Cornell goes home with an excellent experience, but otherwise empty handed.

Among the others at qualifying Monday, Cobblestone Creek Head Pro Neil Reidy had an up and down day playing beside Hall. Reidy hit a deft pitch at the par-5 10th to set up an easy birdie. He rolled in another bird at 13 and made a nice putt to save par at 16. Reidy hovered around par all day but said “it feels like I’m shooting a million” next to Hall.

Another Locust Hill member, Matt Van Niekerk finished in 3-over 74, but had birdies on both the par-5 10th and 16th. The Allendale Columbia grad is just finishing his sophomore year at the U of R. 

Ridgemont CC member Curran O’Brien got to watch the wild Kim round up close in the day’s final pairing. O’Brien struggled much of the day, but finished strong with a par save at 16 and a long birdie roll at 18.

Rounding out the final group was southern Ontario native Sean O’Hara who punctuated an otherwise forgettable round with an impressive birdie at 17.


Top Division III Freshman of Northeast America in 2014


GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 2014 Division III All-Freshmen Team has been named by the GCAA. The six member team is composed of one golfer from each of the six regions in Division III. The All-Freshmen Team includes Matt van Niekerk of Rochester (Northeast), Carnegie Mellon’s George Qian (Mid-Atlantic), Tanner Gross of Guilford (Southeast), Hope’s Winton Munch (Great Lakes), Joey Dreier of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Central) and Scrheiner’s Matt McClung (West). Members of the All-Freshmen Team are eligible for the Phil Mickelson Award presented by the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation as the most outstanding freshman in Division III men’s golf. The Mickelson Award will be presented Friday, May 17 following the final round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships.

Division III All-Freshmen Team

Northeast – Matt van Niekerk, Rochester
Mid-Atlantic – George Qian, Carnegie Mellon
South – Tanner Gross, Guilford
Great Lakes – Winton Munch, Hope
Central – Joey Dreier, Wisconsin-Eau Claire
West – Matt McClung, Schreiner


UAA and Liberty League “Performer of the Week”


Matt van Niekerk was named Performer of the Week for both the Liberty League and the UAA. van Niekerk lost a playoff for medalist honors on Sunday in the NYU-Manhattanville Invitational. He finished with a two-over 144 (72-72) in the 66-player field. He lost the playoff to a player from team champions Williams. Rochester finished 3rd out of 12 teams. van Niekerk also tied for 5th at last week’s Hershey cup. UR finished 8th overall.

Van Niekerk is RunnerUp at NYU Invitational


Final Scores

BLOOMFIELD, NJ- Freshman Matt van Niekerk fired a one-over 72 on his way to a runner up finish at the NYU/Manhattanville Spring Invitational on Sunday, helping the Yellowjackets capture third place in the 12 team field.
Van Niekerk reached a playoff after a two day score of 144 (+2) but fell in that playoff to Grant Raffel of Williams College who shot 73 on Sunday after an even par round of 71 on Saturday.

Rochester as a team shot four strokes better on day two, compiling a four-man score of 301 on Sunday ending with a 606 total for the two day tournament.  Williams took home the team title with a score of 590 and Middlebury was second with a 591.

Besides van Niekerk’s runner up finish, senior Nick Palladino ended tied for 19th with a two day 152 after a 76 on Sunday.  Jona Scott also carded a 76 on Sunday ending with a 154 score for the tournament, good for T25th.

Sophomore Dominick Schumacher shot 77 on day two along with senior Will Mallia as the other UR scorers.  Schumacher ended T31st with a 156 score and Mallia was T45th.

Playing as an individual, sophomore G.W. VanderZwaag shot 78 on Sunday and was T27th with his two day total of 155.

Rochester’s next tournament will be the Notre Dame Invitational at Oak Hill C.C. next Monday and Tuesday.  The 6-team field will feature five Division I schools and UR.


Matt receives Conference Award


University of Rochester has athletes receiving recognition from both the Liberty League and the UAA for their performances this past week.

The Liberty League honored a total of 5 athletes this week from golf, softball, women’s lacrosse, and baseball. Matt van Niekerk received the Rookie of the Week for golf. van Niekerk finished in a tie for 5th place individually out of 85 golfers at the 15-team Hershey Cup in Hershey, PA. On Sunday, he fired a four-over 75, the fifth-lowest individual round of the afternoon. He finished with a two-day total of 152 (+10), which was 9 strokes off the title.

In softball both Tiffany White and Nina Korn were honored. White was honored as the Rookie of the Week. She went 4-5 with 4 RBIs and two runs scored on the day as Rochester swept St. Lawrence on Saturday. Korn received honor roll recognition this week. In the sweep against St. Lawrence she went 3-7 with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI’s. Korn hit her 29th career homer in the first game and raised her RBI total to 129.

Elizabeth Watson, of women’s lacrosse, received honor roll recognition. Over the weekend the team went 1-1. Watson scored three goals, collected 8 ground balls, caused 6 turnovers, and won 3 draw controls.

For baseball, Dan Warren was recognized by both the Liberty League and the UAA. Warren received Pitcher of the Week from the UAA and had honor roll recognition from the Liberty League. He pitched his second straight CG shutout on Saturday, throwing 7 innings, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 RPI hitters. With a winning score of 12-0 Warren’s record moves to 3-0 on the year. He has yet to allow an earned run in 24 innings pitched

The best result for UR at the Hershey Cup, PA


HERSHEY, PA- Playing through a steady rain for most of the round, the University of Rochester golf team struggled on day two, firing a 2nd round score of 322 to finish in 8th place at the Hershey Cup Tournament at Hershey C.C.

Leading the way for Rochester was freshman Matt van Niekerk who carded a second round 75 (+4) to finish in a tie for 5th place with a two day total of 152. After finding the water hazard on the first hole, Matt showed real determination and grit fighting back against all the elements and recording lowest  back-9 score of 35 for the day.

Number one seeded senior Nick Palladino shot 82 and finished in a tie for 11th,  Jona Scott’s 82 along with Will Mallia’s 83 counted towards Rochester’s score.  Sophomore G.W. VanderZwaag rode a strong first round to finish in T-46th with a 164 two day total.

The Yellowjackets shot 10 strokes worse than the first round 312 from Sunday, placing in the middle of the 15 team field.
McDaniel College was impressive on Monday, shooting a 300, six strokes better than the next closest team to take the team title with a two-day score of 606.  St. John Fisher was second and Allegheny was third.

McDaniel’s Alex Kane took home medalist honors after shooting the only under par round of the tournament, a 70 (-1) on Monday to finish with a combined score of 143 for the two days.  Allegheny’s Oliver White (149) and James Lasher (150) finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Dom Schumacher was 11th after a day two 80 playing as an individual.  Joe Malone finished in 71st place for UR.

The Yellowjackets look to rebound next weekend at the NYU/Manhattanville Invitational on April 12th and 13th.


Matt’s 69 (-3) brings low round of the tournament & 1st Team All-UAA honors


3/9-10, 2014
ORLANDO, FL- The University of Rochester improved its team score by nine shots on day 2, but it wasn’t enough to rally past Emory University on Monday at the UAA Championships.

Rochester as a team shot a 291 on Monday, topping the score of 300 from Sunday’s first round, but Emory also improved its score on day 2 to win by a combined nine shots over 2nd place UR (582-591).

Yellowjacket freshman Matt van Niekerk fired a 2nd round 69 (-3) which proved to be the low round of the tournament among all players and ended in a tie for 2nd with a 2-day 144 (E). The runner-up finish earns the freshman 1st Team All-UAA honors.

Senior Nick Palladino, looking for a fourth straight UAA individual title, was denied that record by ending in 6th place with a 2-day 147 (+3). On Monday, Palladino shot 73 which was 4th best on the day.

Will Mallia, another UR senior was the third Rochester scorer, shooting his second straight 74 for a tournament total of 148 (+4) for a 7th place finish. Both Mallia and Palladino earn 2nd Team All-UAA honors for the top-10 finishes.

Freshman Jona Scott carded a 2nd round 75 to round out UR’s Monday scoring. Scott ended T-12th with a 2-day score of 152 (+8). Sophomore G.W. VanderZwaag was the other golfer in UR’s lineup. He finished with a Monday 77.

Four UR individuals also competed at the UAA Championships with freshman Joe Malone being tops among those players with a 2nd day 78 for a total score of 155. Sophomore Dom Schumacher led all individual participants with a Monday 76 and ended 22nd. Two others, Rafael Baez (26th) and Sean Hickey (27th) also hit the course for Rochester.

Rochester now has two weeks off before returning to the course for the McDaniel Spring Invitational on March 29-30 in Abbottstown, PA.


“Rookie of the Week”


9/22-29, 2013
St. Lawrence, Canton, NY – The University of Rochester earned a slew of conference awards from both the Liberty League and University Athletic Association for a fantastic weekend on the athletic fields.

Leading the way was senior golfer Nick Palladino who was named both Liberty League and UAA Golfer of the Week. Palladino was excellent in helping the Yellowjackets capture the team title in the Liberty League Fall Qualifer. Palladino shot a 10-under score of 134 including a career best round of 66 during Saturday’s first round. Rochester won the team crown by 12 strokes over RPI with a team score of 581.

Freshman teammate Matt van Niekerk earned accolades from the Liberty League as well, earning Rookie of the Week honors for his 8th place finish after a two day score of 149 (+5). Both van Niekerk and Palladino earned spots on the All-League teams for their finishes.

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van Niekerk overcame the 5-stroke deficit to day 2’s leader Gavin Hall by the 14th hole on day 3


Pittsford, NY – Rochester golf enthusiasts saw new talent emerge during the prestigious 2013 RDGA Championship.

Trailing by 5 strokes to day 2’s leader Gavin Hall, the 2013 All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year’s Matthew van Niekerk needed a further surge to close the gap and stay in contention.

van Niekerk overcame the 5-stroke deficit to Gavin Hall by the 14th hole on day 3, but stumbled on 15, 16 and 17 only to see his hard earned work disappear.

As a relative newcomer to competitive play, van Niekerk played in his first 4-day men’s event at this year’s RDGA Championship. “I ran out of steam at the end of the tournament, but have gained tremendous experience this week. It was an honor to have the opportunity to play against some of the most talented players in our region.” said van Niekerk, who will attend the University of Rochester in the Fall of 2013.

“A special thanks for Coach Dan Wesley of the University of Rochester YellowJackets Mens Golf Team, who took time out of his busy schedule and show up during the fourth and final round!”

van Niekerk made eight birdies to match Gavin Hall’s second day 69


Pittsford, NY – Gavin Hall has a golf swing, and a golf game, that is the envy of quite possibly every player who is competing this week in the RDGA John H. Ryan Jr. Memorial Championship.

Yet Thursday morning, on the heels of shooting a first-round 71 to tie for the lead in the 83rd annual district championship, Hall was up bright and early and on the practice range tinkering because in golf, it’s never good enough.

“I had a great range session,” Hall said Thursday afternoon after completing a 3-under-par second round of 69 at Irondequoit Country Club that vaulted him into a commanding five-stroke lead over Larry Sand and Matt van Niekerk.

“I wasn’t hitting it great (Wednesday), I was grinding,” Hall continued. “So I was up pretty early and I found a little something before the round and started hitting it well.”

What Hall found was that by strengthening his grip just a tad, he was striking the ball more solidly, and it certainly came to fruition on the front nine when he made four birdies for an outgoing 32.

“I talked to my coach, Joe Lusardi, and I was trying to get back my old feel and went back to when I was 15 and had that grip,” said the 18-year-old, who sits at 4-under 140 at the halfway point. “Little changes here and there are good things for me.”

After making three pars in the incoming nine, Hall hit a speed bump when he three-putted 13 and then missed the fairway at 14, hit his approach into a bunker, and made a second straight bogey.

And then came a nearly three-hour weather delay where the players were unable to play, despite no rain falling, because lightning was persistent in the area.

“I kind of like a delay when I’m playing bad because you can regroup and re-focus and get back into the round,” said Hall, who sure had to deal with delays when he played in the U.S. Open at Merion last month. “Last week at Hilton Head I had a delay every day, so I got a little taste of that and we’re getting pretty used to it this summer with all the thunderstorms we’ve had.”

When play resumed, Hall parred 15, bogeyed 17, and birdied 16 and 18.

“I’m just excited to be in good position for the weekend,” said Hall, who plays out of the Country Club of Mendon. “The course is only going to get tougher from here on out so I have to keep striking it well and make some putts.”

Sand, playing on his home course, had an equal opportunity kind of day as he made seven pars, six bogeys and five birdies for a 73 that put him at 1-over 145. van Niekerk, who had a first-round 76, matched Hall’s second day 69 as he made eight birdies.

Because of the lengthy mid-day delay, the second round will have to be completed Friday morning, and following a cut to the low 40 scores and ties, the third round will commence probably around mid-morning.