Van Sickle wins second Pennsylvania Open Championship
Aug. 13, 2008
SPRING HOUSE, Pa. -- Mike Van Sickle, a senior at Marquette University, successfully defended his Pennsylvania Open Championship at Old York Road Country Club, rallying from a four-stroke deficit Wednesday.
Van Sickle becomes the first golfer to win the officially named Robert L. Fryer Memorial Open Championship in back-to-back years since John Weitzel accomplished the feat in 1955 and 1956, and the first-ever amateur player to do so.
"Honestly, I really don't know how I should feel, since I'm the first to have done it," said Van Sickle. "Obviously, I'm really excited. The state Open really means a lot to me. It's becoming one of my favorite events to play."
Van Sickle remained consistent during Wednesday's final round. He surged early including an eagle on the par-5 hole nine, and survived a triple bogey on the par-3 hole 12, to finish at four-under-par 209 (71-69-69) and win the event by a single stroke.
Dan Walters, a mini-tour professional who led at six-under following the second round, carded a 75 on Wednesday thus opening the door for Van Sickle.
"I knew if played well today I would have a good chance," said Van Sickle. "I was four strokes back, but only four strokes back from one guy. It's easier to overcome one person than it is two or three others. I go out there every round to shot as good a number as I can."
Van Sickle is on a torrid pace this summer. His recent successes have included top-three finishes at such prestigious events as the Porter Cup (3rd) and Southern Amateur (T-2nd). The results are a full trophy case and a climb to No. 14 in the world amateur ranking.
"I put a good amount of time into my short game," Van Sickle said. "My chipping is getting to the point now where it's adequate. I had some key up-and-downs this summer, which kept me in some tournaments. My course management is also to the point where I know my game, I know what risks I can take and which risks are not worth the reward."
With all his momentum and battled-tested experience, Van Sickle is now headed to Pinehurst, N.C., site of the 2008 U.S. Amateur Championship. The U.S. Amateur is regarded as the top amateur golf tournament in the United States.
Former U.S. Amateur champions include Bobby Jones (five times), Jack Nicklaus (twice), Tiger Woods (three times, consecutively) and Arnold Palmer (once).
Photo by Martin D. Emeno, Jr.
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