The spoils were dispersed generously on Sunday as the Quad-City Amateur Tour golf season came to a close.
In addition to the Tour Championship winners — Jack Vercautren in championship flight and Kirk Trede winning his first title on the senior side — being crowned, six others walked away with season-long chase honors.
Ben Peters wrapped up Player of the Year honors in the Championship Flight, earning his sixth season-long points chase title and second in a row. Dave Waugh had all but secured the Senior Player of the Year honor coming into the Tour Championship and his runner-up finish put the finishing touches on that crown. It was his second senior honor, the other coming in 2010.
In addition, Vercautren also won the men's student-athlete scholarship chase, beating Anthony Ruthey (Riverdale High School/Southern Illinois-Edwardsville) and Noah Hogue (Aurora University). Vercautren (College of DuPage) earned the $2,500 scholarship as Ruthey earned $1,000 and Hogue $500.
Moline's Megan Medinger, a senior-to-be at Bradley, was a runaway women's student-athlete division winner, but wasn't sure if she would be able to accept the $750 or if it would have to go to the school's golf program.
“I didn't even know about the scholarship,” said Medinger, who added that she had been in contact with the school's compliance officer this weekend when she found out about the scholarship. “It's still an honor to get it.”
She beat out Davenport North alum McKenzie O'Brien ($250), now at Eastern Illinois, for the top honor.
The weekend, though, belonged to Vercautren, a sophomore-to-be from Naperville who has extensive family in the Quad-Cities. The 19-year-old followed his opening 3-under 68 with a 3-over 74 at Oakwood Country Club in the QCAm Tour season finale. His second-best Sunday championship round score was more than enough to outdistance Hogue (72-72—144) by two strokes.
Peters (72-75—147) finished in a three-way tie for third with Adam White (70-77—147) and Ruthey (72-75—147) to round out the top five.
On the Senior side, Trede (73-77—150) and Waugh (75-76—151) admitted to playing hot-potato with the weekend crown and neither doing a great job of finishing it off on Sunday's inward nine. However, it was Trede who finally found a way to win one as he had given away a few previous 18-hole leads.
Vercautren, too, was searching for a way to win in his second QCAm Tour event in as many weeks as he was coming off an 'A' flight victory at the Short Hills Am.
“I had a two-way miss going with the driver all day and wasn't finding too many fairways,” Vercautren said. “It was a lot of scrambling.”
Which, he apparently did fairly well as he minimized the damage of four bogeys with a birdie on the par-5 13th.
Vercautren admitted he had only seen Oakwood once before this weekend. “I played it once four years ago when me and my buddies came down to play it. I couldn't remember too much about it.”
While not familiar with Oakwood, Vercatutren is very familiar with the Quad-Cities and found out about the QCAm Tour while visiting his grandparents in East Moline. His parents – Jennifer Bailey and Mike Vercautren – are from the area along with plenty of family from both sides. Mike is superintendent at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook. His uncle, Jeff, is superintendent at Rich Harvest Farms.
Yes, golf runs in the family.
“There are a lot of superintendents in our family,” Jack said. “That's exactly what I want to study and what my brother is studying.”
That line of the golf industry, though, may take a back seat if he continues playing so well. Jack finished second in the IHSA Class 3A state championship as a senior at Neuqua Valley and played No. 1 at College of DuPage last season where he won four tournament title as he logged top 10 places in all 10 events. His plans now focus on playing.
“After this second year at College of DuPage, I hope to find myself at a Division I college – or at least a four-year university playing golf and then seeing where it goes from there,” he said.
As for next year, he hopes to be back in the Quad-Cities and again playing some QCAm Tour events.
“I'll definitely come back for the next couple of years,” Vercautren said. “I like it a lot and it's convenient. My grandpa loves watching it and it's easy for him to make the short little drive to these courses. He loves watching me play. Yeah, I'll get back in again.”