Huseman wins his third FD Am title in four years
Thanks to pristine play through the first 36 holes of the 74th annual Fort Dodge Amateur golf tournament, Andrew Huseman found himself in a peculiar position for the event’s first-ever championship round on Sunday evening.
Leading by an almost-unfathomable 10 strokes, the ink was ostensibly drying on Huseman’s third title since 2019 in the Open division. Yet the grandson of Fort Dodge Senior High Hall of Fame icon Dutch Huseman and son of long-time Fort Dodge chiropractor Bill Huseman didn’t treat the final nine holes as a victory lap.
There was still a title to officially seal.
The Ankeny Centennial graduate kept his nose to the grindstone and did what he needed down the stretch, sealing a seven-shot win over Willis Gaer of Des Moines. Meanwhile, Sean Davis of Council Bluffs (Senior) and Carroll’s Jim Madsen (Super Senior) broke through with inaugural victories at the Fort Dodge Country Club.
Huseman’s stellar regulation rounds set the stage for an anti-climactic finish. The 27-year-old former Indian Hills and Arkansas State team member carded a 7-under par 65 on Saturday, then combated capricious northwest winds and dry, table-top greens for a three-under 68 Sunday morning.
A double-digit lead on Gaer and Nate McCoy made everything seem like a foregone conclusion, but Huseman stayed disciplined and tapped into lingering emotions from last June, when he was caught from behind by good friend and eventual 2021 FD Am champ Connor Peck — who trailed Huseman by nine with 18 to go.
“I just didn’t want to be too complacent,” said Huseman, who grew up playing the FDCC in the summer while staying in town with Dutch and his grandmother, Joyce. “You typically don’t have a 10-shot lead in a situation like that, so it was kind of different territory. I wanted to post a respectable number and get the job done.
“I had to grind my way through it for sure, and try to get back into rhythm after a long layoff (before the championship nine). But I’m happy with what I did through the first 36. I’ve played a lot of rounds and a lot of (FD Ams), but I’d say that’s the best course management I’ve ever had here (in a tournament) — especially considering I didn’t necessarily have my A-game.”
Huseman, who has now placed in the Top-3 here seven times in his career, had birdies at 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14 and 15 on Saturday, bogeying only No. 13. He then went bogey-free and birdied 6, 7 and 18 to start Sunday.
A 37 was more than enough on the championship side. Gaer and McCoy both carded one-under 34s to place second and third, respectively. Logan Schweinefus’s three-under 32 moved him into fourth.
Huseman is only the third golfer in the history of the event to win three crowns, joining Tom Chapman Jr. (four: 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974) and Mike McCoy (three: 1993, 1994 and 2000).
“I’m definitely honored to even be considered in the same category as some of the (multi-time titleists),” said Huseman, who lives in Ankeny. “I was motivated to get the title back after what happened last year, which left a bad taste in my mouth — especially here at the Country Club.
“I felt like I got a couple bounces that were ‘home-course’ breaks (this weekend), too. Every time that I happened, I would just look up (skyward) and smile. I’ve never hid the fact that this one means more to me because of my family and all the history I have here. I know he (Grandpa Dutch) was with me and is proudly looking down on me right now.”
Davis will always remember his FD Am debut. The southwest Iowa golfer decided to come to Fort Dodge after “hearing nothing but good things about the course and this tournament.”
The trip didn’t disappoint.
“Honestly, this is one of the best tracks in Iowa,” said Davis, who is in his second year on the Iowa senior amateur circuit. “I was really impressed.
“I’ve been playing pretty well so far this year, and was fortunate enough to win (the Carroll Amateur), so I thought I’d come give this a try. The course really dried out (on Sunday) and showed its teeth. It got a lot more difficult.”
Davis turned in rounds of 72 and 75, finishing a single stroke ahead of Humboldt High School graduate and Johnston resident Jeff Panek (76-72–148).
Like Davis, Madsen was a first-timer in the Super Senior bracket and recent Carroll Am gold medalist. The Audubon native had played in the FD Am once almost 50 years ago, then decided to return in 2022 to see how he would stack up against the field.
“I moved away from Iowa and gave up golf, but we came back (to Carroll) a few years ago and I started playing competitively again,” Madsen said. “The group (of players on the Iowa senior amateur circuit) is just incredible. It’s like a fraternity; very tight-knit and supportive of each other. It’s great to be a part of it.”
Madsen (73-79–152) edged Mason City’s Joel Yunek — a Lake City High School graduate and five-time FD Am senior champ — by one shot. Dave Sergeant of Fort Dodge was third at 154, followed by Gowrie’s Tom Schill (155).
“I was so impressed by this course and the tournament,” Madsen said. “It was in great condition, and everything was very organized and well-run. We all greatly appreciate it. As the son of a former (course superintendent), I don’t take any of this for granted.