Blog 97, 2/5/11 - Vikings Finish 17th in Hawaii, Aerotech at PGA Merchandise Show.

Viking's Coach Steve Card
The Vikings beat two Division I teams and the other Division II team in the field at the 21st Annual Ameri Ari Invitational this week, shooting a 13-over 301 in yesterday's final round to complete the three rounds on 885 (+21) and come in 17th out of 20. Leading the team was junior Nick Varelia whose disappointing three-over 75 on Friday saw him drop from an overnight tie for 21st into a tie for 41st on level-par 216. "Nick had a great tournament," said coach Steve Card. "He was disappointed with his finish, but he played very solid throughout."
Former UW Husky Dylan Goodwin finished strongly with a one-under 71 that saw him climb from a tie for 99th into a tie for 80th. Xavier Dailly, so often the team's No. 1 player, had a 71 in the second round but never really got going, shooting 78 in round three and winding up 85th on seven-over 223. Sam Ayotte closed with a 77 to post 226 and finish T93, and Sandy Vaughn shot a 79 to finish 103rd on 229.
"Overall, it was a great experience for us to compete in a very talent-rich tournament," said Card. "Our players learned a tremendous amount and while we didn't play our best, the preparation should help us for the rest of the spring. We're way ahead of where we're normally at this time of year."
Oklahoma State, the nation's top-ranked college team, won the tournament on 34-under 830, while three players tied for individual honors on 13-under 203 - Oregon's Daniel Miernicki who had opened with a course record 62, UCLA's Patrick Cantlay - a semi-finalist at last year's US Amateur Championship, and Texas's Bobby Hudson who was the only player with three sub-70 rounds.
For full scores, click here.

Chris Hilleary
It's been a good week for Bellingham-based Aerotech Golf Shafts. CEO Chris Hilleary reports he had a very successful PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, and this week another player on the PGA Tour is playing well after switching to the SteelFiber shaft.
In Orlando, Aerotech wasn't an official exhibitor/vendor with floor space in the main concourse, but Hilleary took the opportunity to meet with customers and media, spend some time with Matt Kuchar who was the leading money winner on last year's PGA Tour with the SteelFiber in his irons, and play some golf. On the Monday and Tuesday, Hilleary teed it up at the Nick Faldo-designed Bella Colina with executives from club manufacturer Miura Golf which recommends the SteelFiber for its beautifully-crafted blades and cavity backs. Former Golf Channel presenter Adam Barr, now the president of Miura, was part of the group.
On Wednesday, Hilleary played with a customer who flew in from Hong Kong, then on Thursday sat down in the Bridgestone booth with Matt Kuchar who not only finished last season the top money earner on the PGA Tour, but also played on the US Ryder Cup team, and won the Vardon Trophy for low-scoring average, a prize he picked up on the Thursday morning when he officially opened the show.
"Although we'd spoken dozens of times on the phone, I'd never actually met Matt before," says Hilleary. "It was great to meet him at last and congratulate him on such a fantastic year. And he said how important the SteelFiber had been for his game."
Kuchar also mentioned that a fellow PGA Tour player, who had experienced some wrist issues, recently asked him if he could have a go with his irons. The other player enjoyd hitting them so much, he immediately asked the fitters in the Callaway van to build a set of irons with the SteelFiber shaft. He put them in play this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where he opened with a six-under 65.
Protocol prevents Hilleary from naming the player, but there's nothing to stop me from telling you it's Cameron Beckman, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. And when he and Kuchar finish one and two on this year's money list, Hilleary might be persuaded to take a booth at the PGA Show. "I've gotten away with not having an official booth so far," he says. "But I don't know how much longer I can hold out. The SteelFiber is really beginning to establish itself on the PGA Tour, so this year we're looking forward to getting a flood of requests."

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