Srixon Australian Amateur champion Matt Stieger.
Queenslander Daniel Nisbet and New South Wales’ Mathew Stieger have been disqualified from the Western Amateur following the completion of the fourth and final round of the stroke-play qualifying at the Exmoor Country Club near Chicago.
Nisbet, who had produced an excellent final round of 67 to finish in 6th position and assure himself of qualifying for the ’Sweet Sixteen’ to advance to the Match Play phase, went out and caddied for Stieger who was involved in a playoff amongst eight players for one of the final six places after he had finished on the cut mark.
According to the rule sheet for the event players still competing in the event are not allowed to caddie for a player still in the field. The rule reads; “Players that have been eliminated (missed the cut or lost a match) from the tournament are allowed to caddie for a player still in the field. Players still competing for the Championship are not allowed to caddie for another player in the field. Penalty: Disqualification of both players.”
It was a bitter blow for both players given the importance of the Western Amateur as a lead up to the US Amateur and because of its own status in US golf. Both players were playing well enough to have potentially done well in the match play phase.
Stieger had produced the round of the week in the morning when his round of 64 left him in a share of second position although his afternoon round of 75 would eventually cost both he and Nisbet dearly. Stieger dropped three shots in his last two holes which meant he faced the playoff.
Stieger was playing the fourth extra hole and competing for the one final spot when the infringement was noticed.
None of the other Australians in the large field made it through to the final sixteen who will play off for the Western Amateur title.