From June 4th-June 6th, the Amateur Players Tour held its first Match Play event at the historic Victoria National Golf Club in Evansville, Indiana. Home of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Tour Championship for the next 10 years, Victoria National is considered one of the top golf facilities in the United States – ranking the #1 Private Club in Indiana and #43 in the nation by Golf Digest. 8 players were treated to a first-class, all-inclusive experience that included golf, lodging, and all food and beverage. Players were split into two pods based on similar handicaps and played for over $3,000 in prizes. The format was net match play, with players getting 80% of their handicap. Each Pod played a 3 match round-robin, with the top 2 players advancing to the semifinals on Sunday.
The first matches kicked off on Friday afternoon with Matt Miller (Charlotte) besting Matt Minder (St. Louis) 5&3, while Steve Reigle (Nashville) knocked off recent APT Pacific Classic champion Dillon Patterson (Rocky Mountain). In Pod B, Steve Minder (St. Louis) bested Chris Huge (Myrtle Beach) 5&4, while Joe Smolira (Nashville) beat Wayne Bishop (Carolina Triad) 1 up.
Saturday presented perfect weather for the 8 contestants who were competing for 4 spots in the semifinals. In the Pod A morning matches, Matt Minder defeated Dillon Patterson 5&3 while Matt Miller used a hot putter to earn a 7&6 victory over Steve Reigle. In Pod B, Chris Huge defeated Wayne Bishop (4&3) while Steve Minder and Joe Smolira halved their match.
In the afternoon, an elimination match between Matt Minder and Steve Reigle was well played, but Minder was able to make a few more putts and edge Steve Reigle 2up to advance to the semifinals. Matt Miller continued his stellar play, earning a 3 up victory over Dillon Patterson. In Pod B, Chris Huge punched his ticket to the semifinals with a 1up victory over Joe Smolira. Steve Minder and Wayne Bishop had a back and forth match that ended all square.
On Sunday morning, the semifinals were set – (1) Matt Miller vs. (4) Chris Huge and (2) Steve Minder vs. (3) Matt Minder. Matt Miller kept a hot putter going on Sunday morning, using some key par saves to earn a 5 and 3 victory to advance to Sunday afternoon’s final. In the family grudge match, Matt Minder lost the first hole but never looked back after that, birdieing the last 2 holes to earn a 7&6 victory over his dad.
In the third place match, Steve Minder and Chris Huge battled back and forth on the tough Victoria National Golf Club. Steve Minder took a one-up lead coming into 18, and then won hole 18 to earn a 2-shot victory.
In the championship match, Matt Miller and Matt Minder had a rematch from the opening round on Friday afternoon. This time, Minder used birdies on 5,8, and 12 to pick up holes on Miller and earn a 5&4 victory and the 1st annual APT Match Play title.
1st – Matt Minder (St. Louis) - $750
2nd – Matt Miller (Charlotte) - $600
3rd – Steve Minder (St. Louis) - $500
4th – Chris Huge (Myrtle Beach) - $400
5th – Steve Reigle (Nashville) - $275
5th – Dillon Patterson (Rocky Mountain) - $275
5th – Joe Smolira (Nashville) - $275
5th – Wayne Bishop (Carolina Triad) - $275