Richard Gorbell (left) and Joe Palmer took home the big honors at the Senior Match Play at Veenker on Saturday
MAY 30, 2020 – Joe Palmer, of West Des Moines, won his fourth IGA Senior Match Play Championship on Saturday afternoon after a 3 & 2 defeat of Tom Schill, of Gowrie, in the final match at Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames. Palmer joins Gene Elliott as the only four-time champions of the event.
Richard Gorbell, of Cedar Falls, won his first IGA Super-Senior championship when he defeated defending champion Steve Kahler, of Marion, in 19 holes. Gorbell did it with a birdie on the first extra hole.
Palmer and Schill’s championship match got off to a fast start – fast as in time and not necessarily quality of golf. The two played the first 8 holes in 60 minutes before being slowed by some public groups of golfers on 9. Palmer had managed to secure a 1 up lead thru those fast first eight holes.
“We were going too fast and I think our golf kind of suffered”, said Schill.
When forced to take a bit of extra time is when Palmer took control. He won that 9th hole to go 2 up, then won 10 and 11 as well. His tee shot on the tough uphill par-3 11th was a thing of beauty. Palmer landed it just past the hole and it ran out to the back of edge of the green. That’s where the natural slope of the green took over and the ball slowly trickled back toward the hole, settling about 4 feet away for a birdie.
Schill tried to swing the momentum with wins at 12 and 14, but another beautiful iron shot on the par-3 13th by Palmer threw a speed bump in the middle of Schill’s comeback plan. The back and forth across holes 11 thru 14 left Palmer at 3 up heading to the 15th tee.
The two would tie the 15th after a nifty up and down from Palmer, then tie the 16th, giving Palmer his fourth crown.
In the Super-Senior championship match defending champion Kahler nearly pulled off the repeat but Gorbell was just a bit too much down the stretch.
Kahler held a 1 up lead thru 14 holes but Gorbell would birdie the difficult 15th and 16th holes to take a 1 up lead heading into 17. After a tie there the two went to the last where a subpar pitch shot from Gorbell led to Kahler’s par being enough to send it to extra holes.
The two went to the back 9 for extra holes and it seemed as though Kahler would have the advantage after the tee shots because Gorbell’s ball settled in the right trees. But a terrific recovery shot left Gorbell with about 50 yards into the hole which he would say later “was basically the same shot I just messed up on 18”.
He didn’t mess it up this time. He flew his sand wedge to about 10 feet short of the hole, leaving a terrific look at birdie. After Kahler failed on his birdie chip Gorbell stepped up and drained it for the win.
In the President’s Bracket Brian Persson, of Elk Run Heights, defeated Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Mike McCoy, of Norwalk, 1 up. Other flight winners included Tim Greteman, of West Des Moines, (First Flight), Greg Kramer, of Urbandale, (Second Flight) and Richard Jones, of Fort Dodge (Third Flight).