Wilson's Birthday Present to Remember

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO -- For the first time since Jason Schultz won it in 1995, the Missouri Golf Amateur Championship belongs to a Columbia native.

Nick Wilson started playing golf when he was 8 years old. He played at Hickman High School, William Woods, and then Mizzou. But he'll never forget the week he celebrated his 23rd birthday by winning the Missouri Amateur Championship.

The trophy has 105 years of history, and now it includes Columbia's Nick Wilson. Nick's father, Mike Wilson, said, "It's the pinnacle in golf in the state of Missouri. It's the most prestigious tournament that there is. You win the Missouri Amateur, it's a lifetime golf achievement." Nick told us, "I know I've always been a little bit of an underdog. I've always thought I could play with the guys that are a little bit above me."

And those people include his Mizzou teammate, Jace Long, the golfer Wilson credits with raising his game... and the golfer he knocked out in the tournament's quarterfinals. Nick said, "We were all square going to 17 and we gave each other a fistbump and said, 'whatever happens, happens'. We both smiled at each other and went to the next hole."

Wilson wore the same yellow bucket hat most of the tournament, and he didn't shave all week. Nick ignored his father's request: "He goes, 'Nick, I'd really like you to shave.' I go, Dad I'm going to have to veto that. I'm really superstitious."

Mike Wilson said, "He was doing whatever he wanted to do with a golf ball. He would hit it here with a draw or here with a cut, low, high. It was just automatic and that's what I saw for two days caddying." Nick's dad caddied for his son. He did great reading the greens, but needs some work with ironing. Nick commented, "They've been in my bag wadded up and about five minutes later he said, 'Nick, you're not wearing those shorts. I just burned a hole through them'." His dad joked, "That hotel iron gave me a little trouble. I looked down and was like, we might be going to the pro shop to buy some new shorts before this round."

Call it memorable, call it special, but for Dad... don't call it fun. Mike shared with us, "Honestly it was not a lot of fun until it was over. I was stressed... had a hard time breathing the last four holes. Trying not to think about him becoming the Missouri Amateur Champion." Nick added, "I don't know who was happier... me or my dad. He couldn't stop smiling... I couldn't stop smiling. It was really, really special." Mike had always had faith in his son, "What you're seeing now is what I always knew he was capable of. You just gotta get it in the hole, and he's doing that now."

Although Wilson is out of college eligibility, he says he will finish out his Mizzou degree next year before he turns pro.

Wilson's hot streak continued later in the week as he made his first ever hole in one on June 30th at the 8th hole at Jefferson City Country Club.