Following an abbreviated format tournament in Florida in 1968, the National Association of Insurance Agents (now Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America) established and promoted the First Annual American Pro-Youth Classic at Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind. The field included 135 entries from 18 states. The 1968 Florida event champion Eddie Pearce was exempted to the finals and competed against 59 other juniors who survived a 36-hole cut. The 17-year-old Pearce proved he deserved the exemption in a separate 36-hole championship. He rallied from a five-stroke deficit to win the tournament with a 75-69-144 total, even par for the Robert Trent Jones design at Otter Creek. Dan Sikes won the professional division of the tournament with a 68—67—135 total. Ken Venture recorded the pro’s best round with a closing-day 66. The opportunity for juniors to play with PGA Tour professionals was a first in national tournament competition and was the keynote for the tournament’s productive future.
1970Twin Hills Golf & Country Club – Oklahoma City, OK
The 2nd Annual American Pro-Youth Classic was held at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in windy Oklahoma City, OK., where 150 juniors and 21 professionals battled gusty winds that prevented any junior from posting a sub-par 18-hole score. Only nine professionals were able to break par. The success of the 1969 tournament and the work of Independent Insurance Agents to broaden the base of the tournament quickly paid off, with juniors from 29 states entering the field. Steve Scrafford, a 17-year-old from Edinboro, Pa., posted a non-spectacular but consistent 76—75—151 on Twin Hills’ windblown course to claim the championship by one stroke. Scrafford had survived the 36-hole cut by a single stroke to join 63 players and 21 PGA professionals in the final two rounds. Dave Stockton closed out a win in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa on Sunday, and then joined the professional division of the Pro-Youth tournament on Monday and Tuesday. Stockton, still jubilant over his PGA Championship victory, finished dead last carding a 154 in the professional division. Even so, Stockton took time to offer ample guidance and advice to the juniors. His approach to participation set a precedent that flourished throughout the years in which the professionals took part in the tournament. Orville Moody secured the professional title with a 4 under-par total of 140.
1971Craig Hill Country Club – Rochester, New York
The tournament’s name changed to the Insurance Youth Classic. Heavy rain at Craig Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., resulted in the cancellation of the opening round of the finals, reducing the championship event to 18 holes and increasing the pressure on the 60 juniors surviving the 36-hole cut of 159. Bob Burton of Everett, Wash., posted the lowest 18-hole round during qualifying with a 2-under-par 70. The 17-year-old came back with a 72 in the abbreviated championship finals to win the 1971title. Joseph Colliatie III of Wichita, Kan., and Cary Karlson of Greenville, Miss., tied for second place, a stroke off Burton’s pace. Qualifying medalist Gus Sylvan II of Columbia, S.C., tied for fifth place with a 3-over-par 75. Hubert Green’s 3-under-par 69 edged Lee Elder and Dick Lutz in the tournament’s professional division.
1972Crestview Country Club – Wichita, Kansas
The 4th Annual Insurance Youth Classic returned to the Midwest in 1972, with Crestview Country Club of Wichita, Kan., the host site. Larry Galloway of Columbus, Ohio, garnered medalist honors with an even-par 144 to lead a field of 63 that made the cut of 159 or better. The qualifiers joined 21 PGA Tour professionals for two rounds of championship play. Bob Rosburg won the professional division of the competition with a 9-under-par 135, while Johnny Elam, a 17year-old from Wake Forest, N.C., took a one-stroke win in the junior division. Elam shot an opening round 71 for the best round of the championship, but his second-round 77 allowed Geoff Patterson of Orange, Cal., and Joe Lupe Jr. of Canton, Miss., to close to within one stroke at the close of play.
1973 Westfield Country Club—Westfield Center, Ohio
As the IYC reached the five-year milestone, qualifying tournaments were held in 36 states and a field of 150 national finalists gathered at Westfield Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio, for the national finals. The winner was Curt McMaster of San Jose, Calif., the Golden State’s first-ever IYC champion. McMaster rallied from five strokes back to win the championship, posting a 4-under-par 68 and setting a record for the tournament’s biggest come-from-behind victory. Rod Funseth scorched the field of 20 professionals with an 11-under-par 133.
1974Alpine Country Club – Cranston, Rhode Island
It was another record-breaking year for the IYC, as a field of 150 juniors was drawn from qualifying tournaments held in 40 states. With the cut at 156, 60 players made the finals, with 16 players competing for the last six spots in a playoff that lasted five holes. It wasn’t that close on the final day of the tournament, however, as 17-year-old Rod Nuckolls of Wichita, Kan., tied a IYC record with a final round of 4-under-par 67 and a 36-hole total of 137 for an eight-stroke win over Matt Seitz of Ellsworth, KN.Nuckolls’ margin of victory remains the largest in tournament history.Forrest Fezler steamed through an 8-under-par 63 in professional competition, but still managed only third place. Grier Jones fired a second-day 64 for a 36-hole total of 131, setting the mark for low professional score.
1975Eisenhower Golf Course – Colorado Springs,CO
At 15 years of age, Bobby Clampett, of Carmel, Calif., shot an even-par 144 to capture the 36-hole championship. Destined to be a future record holder at the IYC and a star in the collegiate and professional ranks, Clampett used the best round of the championship, a 1-under-par 71 on the final day, to power his way to a four-stroke win over runners-up Mike McGee of Middleton, Ohio, and Charles Green of Spokane, Wash. The Colorado Springs event also marked the first time a past IYC junior champion returned to the tournament to compete as a professional. Eddie Pearce, winner of the 1969 tournament, was among the 20 professionals who competed with the juniors. Pearce ended up with a 16th-place tie as Grier Jones became the first and only two-time winner of the competition’s professional division. Jones carded a 5-under-par 139 to take the title.
1976Reston Country Club – Reston, Virginia
The format of the IYC changed in 1976, with the 36-hole qualifying play incorporated with the 36-hole championship event to form a 72-hole tournament. The cut to a smaller field for the final two rounds continued, with 60 players advancing past 36 holes after a cut of 155. With rain forcing cancellation of the third round, Bob Tway, a 17-year-old from Marietta, Ga., defeated Jeff Goettman of Springfield, Ohio, on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the title. Defending champion Bobby Clampett lost his bid to become the first two-time IYC winner when he bogeyed the final two holes to finish third, a stroke behind Tway and Goettman. The 7th annual IYC also marked the emergence of the Robert Trent Jones Cup, named after the famed golf course architect. Andy North captured the one-day professional competition with
a 4-under-par 67. Two-time defending champion Grier Jones finished with a 73.
1977Silverado Country Club – Napa, California
Deep in the heart of California wine country, 17-year-old Mark Taylor of Rockford, Ill., posted a 4-over-par 292 for victory in the 8th annual IYC at Silverado Country Club in Napa, Calif. Taylor grabbed the third-round lead and then held on with a 2 over-par 74 in the final round for a three-stroke win over James Gallagher of Marion, Ind. Mike West of Burlington, N.C., led after one round, but posted a third-round 80 and finished in fourth place at 297. Larry Ziegler, the IYC’s greatest friend among the professionals, won the PGA touring stars division with a 7-under-par 65. There were 22 professionals in the field.
1978Silver Lake Country Club – Orland Park, Illinois
More than 38,000 juniors, the largest IYC qualifying field in tournament history, worked their way through local and state qualifying tournaments to produce a field of 160 for the 9th annual IYC championship. A gangly, 6-foot, 2-inch, 160-pound high school basketball forward, 17-year-old Larry Gosewehr of Frankfort, Ind., battled his way to victory. Gosewehr shared the lead at the halfway mark, held a four-stroke edge after 54 holes and then posted a final-round 74 for a 286 total and a 2-stroke win. John Given of Carmi, Ill. finished second at even-par 288. The pro title went to Bob Gilder at 8-under-par 136. The professional field included former IYC juniors Fuzzy Zoeller (140), Peter Jacobsen (141) and Morris Hatalsky (145).