Old Warson Cup 25th Anniversary
More than 25 years ago, the best amateurs in the greater Metropolitan St. Louis area came together for the first time to battle in head-to-head matches. When this match play championship first began in 1996, it was called the Taylor Cup, and was played at Boone Valley Golf Club. Then, in 2003 the championship was moved to Old Warson Country Club, and was simply known as the Metropolitan Match Play Championship. After years of hosting, Old Warson Country Club agreed to be the permanent host of the match play championship in 2012, and subsequently, in 2014, the championship was officially named the Old Warson Cup. The sterling silver cup, lifted by the champions, was actually a donation made by the membership of Old Warson, and remains in its permanent home in the trophy room at the Club at all times.
Sixteen triumphant men have etched their name on this tale of continuing history. Five of which managed to beat the opposition more than once. The first Champion of the Match Play Championship in 1996 was Don Bliss, who would come back to win his second and third titles in 2000 and 2004. The first back-to-back Champion came in 1997 and 1998, when Jim Holtgrieve fought his way to victory. Other back-to-back Champions were Skip Berkemeyer, Justin Bryant (2011, 2012), and Sam Migdal (2016, 2017). Tied with Don Bliss with three victories is Sam Migdal, who returned to the winners circle in 2021. The most decorated Match Play Champion and arguably the most dominant competitor in this championship is Skip Berkemeyer. Not only did Skip have back-to-back victories in 2001 and 2002, he became the only person to three-peat with his wins in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Even in the years he did not hoist the trophy, Berkemeyer was a dominant force with seven runner-up finishes.
Each year brings a new mix of competitors. Some are returning with experience they hope to guide them to the top, while others dream of making a splash with their rookie debuts. Here is the 2023 Championship field:
Justin Bryant is no stranger to the Old Warson Cup and sits as the 6th seed in this year’s competition. A two-time past champion, Bryant knows the feeling of lifting the trophy well. Last year, he put together rounds of 69-73-70 to finish tied for third in the Metropolitan Amateur. It has been a while since Bryant has played in the Old Warson Cup, but he is back and ready to add his name to the trophy for a third time. Justin will face off with Ryan Schuenke in the Round of 16.
Brad Carpenter will come into the Old Warson Cup in the number 5 seeded spot. Carpenter finished the Metropolitan Amateur tied for 11th, but went on later that month to win the Missouri Mid-Amateur. Last year, Brad finally broke through the quarter finals and into the semi-finals. He is looking to make it to the top and hoist the trophy at the end of the weekend. Brad will go head-to-head with Max Kreikemeier in the first round.
Ryan Eckelkamp is the player sitting in the 9 seed position. Eckelkamp filled his schedule last summer with golf. He put up a strong season and found himself in the mix often. He finished tied for 4th in the Normandie Amateur, and rounded out his season by qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Tony Gumper. Eckelkamp has never made it past the Round of 16 in the Old Warson Cup, and is looking to change that this year. Ryan will battle Sam Migdal in his first match.
Tony Gumper comes into the Old Warson Cup as the top seeded player in the championship. Gumper put up an impressive performance last season with three wins: East Side Amateur, Southern Illinois Amatuer, and Normandie Amateur. Tony also qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Ryan Eckelkamp. With his successful season, he was just shy of being Player of the Year. Gumper is looking to put together a better run and redeem himself from last year’s Cup performance, where he lost out in the first round to the eventual champion, Alex Locke. Tony will face Joel Sylven in the first round.
Shawn Jasper may be the 10th seed, but he knows what it takes to play well. Jasper came out swinging in the Metropolitan Amateur last summer, finishing tied for third with Justin Bryant. The former Old Warson Cup Champion hasn’t played in the competition in a few years, but he is back and ready to find his name on the trophy once more. Shawn will take on Chris Kovach in the Round of 16.
Chris Kovach sits as the number 7 seed. Kovach’s best finish in 2022 was solo 2nd in the Normandie Amateur. Kovach is an experienced Old Warson Cup contender. Putting up his best finish in the championship last year, he lost in the quarter finals to the eventual winner Alex Locke. Chris is ready to push through to the finals in 2023. Chris will be playing Shawn Jasper in his first match.
Max Kreikemeier is coming into the competition in the 12 seeded spot. Kreikemeier is a Missouri State University Golfer, and is coming off of a Tunica National Intercollegiate individual title win just a few weeks ago. This will be Max’s third go at the Old Warson Cup, making it to the quarter finals last year. He is hoping to continue to improve his Cup performance and make it further this year. Max will face Brad Carpenter in the Round of 16.
Jason Landry finds himself in the number 13 seed. Landry may not have finished in the positions he wanted to last season with a tied for 29th in the Metropolitan Amateur, but he finds himself back on the Old Warson Cup roster. For the last 2 years, Landry has made his way through the competition and into a runner-up finish. He is looking to break through once again and finally come out on top with the win. Jason will have the task of battling Drew Pranger in the opening round.
Tyler Linenbroker is the number 14 seed in this year’s championship. Linenbroker made waves in last year’s Metropolitan Amateur when he fired a six-under par in the first round. He finished the Amateur tied for 3rd with Shawn Jasper. A skilled golfer, Linenbroker is hoping to make waves once again during his rookie debut in the Old Warson Cup this year. Tyler will take on Ryan Sullivan in the Round of 16.
Sam Migdal comes into the Old Warson Cup as the number 8 seed. Highlighting his game last year, Migdal was the runner-up in the Missouri Amateur Championship. As no stranger to the Old Warson Cup, he comes into the competition this year with the knowledge of what it takes to win. Migdal is a three time Champion in this event. After a disappointing loss in the first round last year, he is ready to make a comeback to win the title for a fourth time. Sam will be facing Ryan Eckelkamp in his first match.
Chad Niezing sits in the number 2 seeded position after a successful 2023 season. Niezing led the player of the year standings for part of the season last year, showing his talent with a third place finish in the Normandie Amateur and making his way to the winners circle in the Metropolitan Four-Ball with partner Chris Dale. Niezing also reigned supreme when he won the Missouri Amateur last year. Chad is an experienced Old Warson Cup player, reaching every stage except the final match over the years. He is gearing up for another run and hopes to be in the final match on Sunday. Chad will play Kyle Szesniak in the first round.
Drew Pranger finds himself in the number 4 seed for this year's championship. Pranger is the reigning Metropolitan Amateur Champion after putting up scores of 70-69-68 to win by three-strokes and become the first player to win the Amateur Championship three times. He is no stranger to the Old Warson Cup and was triumphant in 2018. Pranger did not play in the championship last year, but he is confident his game can lead him to adding his name to the trophy once again. Drew will face Jason Landry in the opening round.
Ryan Schuenke comes into the competition as the 11th seed. Schuenke worked hard last season, finishing solo 6th in the East Side Amateur, tied for 6th in the Metropolitan Four-Ball Championship, and tied for 7th in the Normandie Amateur. Making his Old Warson Cup debut, Schuenke is hoping to make a splash and take down the experienced opposition. Ryan will take on Justin Bryant in the first round.
Ryan Sullivan, the number 3 seed, played quite a bit of golf last summer. The returning Old Warson Cup competitor fought his way to a fourth place finish in the Metropolitan Four-Ball - with partner Tony Gumper - and into a solo second place finish in the Metropolitan Amateur. Sullivan’s success doesn’t stop there, as he also qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur. After losing out in the quarter final last year, Sullivan is ready to kick his skills into gear to take it to the top this year. Ryan will battle Tyler Linenbroker in the Round of 16.
Joel Sylven finds himself sitting in the number 16 seeded spot. Sylven is a University of Missouri - St Louis golfer. He is the 2022 NCAA Division II Champion. In the Metropolitan Amateur last year, he finished solo 20th. A talented golfer, Sylven is a rookie in this year’s Old Warson Cup. He is hoping to create chaos as the lowest seed by defeating the competition, capturing the title in his first run. Joel will face the number 1 seed, Tony Gumper, in the first match.
Kyle Szcesniak is coming into the Old Warson Cup as the 15th seed. Last season, Szcesniak fought to the finish with his solo 28th finish in the Metropolitan Amateur. He did find himself tied for second in the Metropolitan Four-Ball Championship with partner Curtis Brokenbrow. As new blood in the competition, Szcesniak is looking to shake up the opposition and move his way into the winners circle. Kyle will come head-to-head with Chad Niezing in the first round.
In 2022, the Old Warson Cup introduced a Senior Division to reflect the increasing talent in the area. This year’s Senior Old Warson Cup field are all returning participants:
Buddy Allen comes into the championship as the number 2 seed. Allen is the defending Senior Champion. He played a lot of golf last summer, and fared well. Allen found himself finishing solo second in the Southern Illinois Senior Amateur, and victorious in the Metropolitan Four-Ball with partner Brian Lovett. Allen also qualified and then made it through to the Match-Play portion of the U.S. Senior Amateur. He is hoping to repeat last year’s victory in the Old Warson Cup to take home the trophy again. Buddy will battle Paul Neeman in the first round.
David Bremer finds himself as the 4 seed. Bremer had a good season last year. He put together a year with a solo 2nd finish in the East Side Amateur, tied for 5th in the Metropolitan Senior Amateur, and tied for 7th in the Normandie Amateur Senior Division. Bremer is looking to upset the opposition and add his name to the list of Champions. David will go head-to-head with Brian Lovett for his first match.
Brian Lovett proudly sits as the number 1 seed in the Senior Division of the Old Warson Cup. Lovett played incredible golf last season, earning the Player of the Year title. He showed dominance by being the Champion of the Metropolitan Senior Amateur, Southern Illinois Senior Amateur, Normandie Senior Amatuer, and the Metropolitan Senior Four-Ball with partner Buddy Allen. Lovett is experienced in the Old Warson Cup, and was the runner-up in the inaugural Senior Division. He hopes to win the title this year. Brian will take on David Bremer in the first match.
Paul Neeman comes into the championship in the 3 seed position. Last year, Neeman began his season with a win in the East Side Amateur Senior Division, four-strokes ahead of the competition. He finished the Metropolitan Senior Amateur tied for 10th. Neeman knows he will face steep competition, but is hopeful to make it to the final match this year. Paul will face off against Buddy Allen in the first round.
Play will begin starting at 7:30am on Saturday morning, and will conclude on Sunday.
For the full pairings sheet, click here .