Month: August 2022

Olson takes home 2022 Briarwood Amateur, Johnson & Brooks claim division titles

Jon Olson (right) claimed his first win of the season with a comeback victory at the 2022  Briarwood Amateur. Down three shots heading into the final round, Olson began his chase at the first-round leader, Andrew Huseman.

Following the front nine, Olson was able to get within two shots of the lead. Olson played the following five holes at an astounding four-under par to grab the solo lead by three-shots. Bogeys on 15 and 16 put Olson and Huseman in a tie going into the penultimate hole. 

Both competitors matched each other with pars on 17, but Olson was able to pull away and secure his first title of the 2022 season with a birdie on the 18th hole. 

Jack Winkel and Willis Gaer concluded their weekend in a tie for third place at two-under par. Winkel held second place after a first round 67, but a 75 on the last day set him back. Gaer carded rounds of 72 and 70 to finish inside the top-three. 

John Burgett, Connor Peck and Ethan Mechling all share fifth place honors with 143 totals. Peck and Mechling posted rounds of 71 and 72 to earn top-five placements. Burgett recorded a 70 in round one and followed it up with a 73 during the final round. 

With rounds of 68 and 70, the Briarwood member, Bill Johnson, took home the Senior Division title over the 2005 Iowa Amateur Champion, Brian Verduyn. Johnson recorded only three bogeys to his nine birdies to grab victory. 

Bret Taylor earned a solo third place finish with a 143 total. Taylor carded rounds of 69 and 74 and was five-shots out of first place. Dave Gaer, Jason Thornbrugh and Kirk Macumber tied for fourth place with 144 tallies. 

The 2022 Iowa Super Senior Champion, Bob Brooks, has now won titles in back-to-back tournaments. Brooks was recently crowned champion at Ames Golf and Country Club and followed it up with a dominating win in the Super Senior Division at Briarwood. 

Brooks went low this weekend, carding rounds of 64 and 67 to earn an eight-shot victory. With 13 birdies and one eagle for the weekend, nobody was catching Brooks. 

Joel Yunek took second place honors with a five-under tally. Yunek carded rounds of 68 and 71 this weekend. Scott Hornstein rounded out the top-three at four-under par. Rob Christensen tied with Jeff Marner for fourth place.

Open Division
1. Jon Olson 68-70=138
2. Andrew Huseman 65-74=139
T3. Jack Winkel 67-75=142
T3. Willis Gaer 72-70=142
T5. John Burgett 70-73=143
T5. Connor Peck 71-72=143
T5. Ethan Mechling 71-72=143

Senior Division
1. Bill Johnson 68-70=138
2. Brian Verduyn 69-70=139
3. Bret Taylor 69-74=143
T4. Dave Gaer 75-69=144
T4. Jason Thornbrugh 70-74=144
T4. Kirk Macumber 71-73=144

Super Senior Division
1. Bob Brooks 64-67=131
2. Joel Yunek 68-71=139
3. Scott Hornstein 71-69=140
T4. Rob Christensen 73-72=145
T4. Jeff Marner 71-74=145

Five to represent Iowa at U.S. Senior Amateur

Five Iowans are set to tee it up at the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship this week. There are only seven states that have more qualifiers than Iowa this year. The prestigious championship is being played at The Kittansett Club (above) in Marion, Massachusetts from August 27 – September 1. 

Gene Elliott will look to defend his title after dealing with injuries this summer. Last year, Elliott defeated the No. 9 seed, Jerry Gunthorpe, in the final round to claim the 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

Currently, Elliott ranks as the second best senior amateur according to World Amateur Golf Rankings. He also finds himself ranked inside the top-500 for amateurs in the world. 

Mike McCoy, your 2023 United States Walker Cup Captain, has his eyes set on completing the same feat Elliott accomplished last year. McCoy dominated the field overseas at the 2022 British Senior Amateur Championship earlier this summer, and looks to keep that momentum going.

During last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, McCoy fell in the Round of 32 to Elliott. As the fourth ranked senior amateur according to WAGR, McCoy’s expectations are at an all-time high. 

Recently crowned as the 44th Iowa Senior Amateur Champion, Joe Palmer is set play alongside his fellow Iowans this week. Known for his match play performances, Palmer will likely make some noise in Massachusetts. 

As a senior amateur, Palmer ranks inside the top-15 according to WAGR. With momentum coming off a come-back victory at the Iowa Senior Amateur Championship, Palmer looks forward to more competition. 

Jon Brown, the ‘youngster’ of the group, is set to compete in the first U.S. Senior Amateur Championship he is eligible for. Brown cracked the top-25 age-eligible points leaders in WAGR and will be the youngest player in the field. Coming off his 13th career Des Moines Men’s City Championship victory, Brown has some positive momentum as he heads into next week. 

Qualifying out of Hyperion Field Club, in Johnston, was the Ankeny native, Curtis Holck. With two victories on the year coming at the IGA Four-Ball and The Classic in Marshalltown, Holck could make a run this week. 

The format for the championship includes a 36-hole stroke play qualifier to decide the 64-player match play bracket. The last senior standing will be crowned the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur Champion.

Palmer wins fourth career Iowa Senior Amateur, Brooks claims Super Senior title

The 2021 IGA Senior Player of the Year, Joe Palmer (above), broke through with his first IGA victory of the season. Palmer stormed up the leaderboard to claim the 44th Iowa Senior Amateur Championship after a first round 73 set him back. 

“It is not easy with 36 holes when you are eight shots back,” Palmer said. “Sean (Davis), who put the 66 on there, is a really steady player. I did not think he was going to come back to us, but I had no choice but to try to dig in and get something done.”

That’s what Palmer did.

Back-to-back rounds of 66 put Palmer ahead of the second-round leaders, Sean Davis, of Council Bluffs, and Bret Taylor, of Booneville.

“Fortunately, on day two, I got it to where I was in striking distance,” said Palmer. “Today I got off to a good start and unfortunately for them they did not have their best ball striking days. Then it was a whole new ball game.”

Heading into the week of the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, Palmer did not shy away from teeing it up at this week. Now going into the prestigious championship, Palmer will have a boost of confidence.

“Fortunately, I won a few years back when we went to Eugene, Oregon for the U.S. Senior Amateur,” Palmer said. “I had won at Des Moines Golf and Country Club and flew out the next morning. I really wanted to go in playing, I like the competition. It is hard to replace that.”

Davis played his final round at three-over par, giving him a solo second place finish. Taylor carded a four-over 75 to take home third place with a two-under three-day tally.

Dave Gaer and the 2022 Herman Sani Tournament Senior Champion, Jay Gregory, played consistent golf this week and round out the top-five in the Senior Division. Gaer placed fourth at one-under par for the tournament and Gregory finished at one-over par. 

Bob Brooks (right) was able to hang on and claim the Super Senior Division title. Brooks was two-shots back after day one but flipped the switch and stayed away from the big numbers as he finished out his week.

“I stayed away from the big number, that was the key,” Brooks said. “Some of my poor shots, I recovered really well. If you hit a fairway, you had a good chance for a birdie. I hit a lot of fairways and only missed two greens today.”

Brooks was in a good spot with his game this week. Driving the ball well, hitting solid approach shots and making putts. It all seemed to flow.

“They say drive for show, putt for dough,” Brooks said. “I always say, ‘You can’t putt for dough if you don’t drive for show.’ A big part of my game is locating the pin from the tee box and trying to hit a specific area.”

Even though Brooks was playing with the leaders, he stayed focused on his own game. A couple mistakes resulted in dropped shots, but Brooks was able to battle back and recover. At the turn, Brooks started to feel the confidence rise. 

“I knew if I just hit the ball the way I did the last few days, I would be okay,” Brooks said. “I almost had a hole in one on my third hole. It was three inches from just past the pin. It got me into a comfortable zone. Once I made the turn, I peaked at the leaderboard and said to myself, ‘just keep hitting fairways,’ and that is what I did.”

Jim Butler and Rob Christensen tied for second place. Both Butler and Christensen had solid weeks after a pair of 215 totals. A three-way tie for fourth place concludes our top-five. Rick Gorbell, Joel Yunek and Steve Kahler posted four-over par for the week. 

You can follow Palmer as he takes on The Kittansett Club the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship with his fellow Iowans, Curtis Holck, Jon Brown, Gene Elliott and the 2023 Walker Cup Captain, Mike McCoy.

Senior Division
1. Joe Palmer 73-66-66=205
2. Sean Davis 65-71-74=210
3. Bret Taylor 70-66-75=211
4. Dave Gaer 72-71-69=212
5. Jay Gregory 71-71-72=214

Super Senior Division
Bob Brooks 72-69-70=211
T2. Jim Butler 74-70-71=215
T2. Rob Christensen 72-73-70=215
T4. Rick Gorbell 75-71-71=217
T4. Joel Yunek 71-72-74=217
T4. Steve Kahler 73-71-73=217

Taylor joins Davis at top of 44th Iowa Senior Amateur leaderboard, Brooks paces Super Seniors

Bret Taylor (above) joins the first-round leader, Sean Davis, at the top of the leaderboard. Taylor held a two-shot lead going into his last three holes, but an untimely tee shot on seven and a three putt on nine sent him back into a tie with Davis.

“It was a little disappointing to three-putt the last hole” Taylor said. “I also holed out from 72 yards, so I can’t complain.”

With five birdies and a hole-out for eagle on the day, Taylor was pleased with his round. 

“I have struggled this year, so it is nice to piece together some rounds and hit some good shots,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s first Iowa Senior Amateur Championship appearance came at Ames Golf and Country Club back in 2015. Having past experience along with a strong history of playing well in the Joe August tournament each year, Taylor is overflowing with confidence. 

“I play the Joe August every year,” Taylor said. “Ron Peterson and I have had a lot of success here. I know the course and I am confident on the course.”

Knowing the task ahead of him, Taylor does not want to get ahead of himself. 

“You can’t get ahead of yourself,” Taylor said. “That is probably the best way to play. I did a good job of not getting ahead of myself and I absolutely have to do that tomorrow.”

Davis carded an even round today to keep his name at the top. Three birdies and three bogeys kept Davis from increasing his first-round lead. 

The 2021 Senior Player of the Year, Joe Palmer, is back into contention after tying Taylor for the low round of the day. After a bogey on hole 12, Palmer caught fire. Going six-under in the following nine holes pushed Palmer into third place. 

Dave Cunningham was one shot away from joining Palmer and Taylor. Cunningham had a clean scorecard and knocked in four birdies to finish his day in fourth place. Jay Gregory and Jay Slings will go into the final round in a tie for fifth place at even-par.

Bob Brooks (right) takes the lead in the Super Senior Division after a two-under round of 69 Tuesday afternoon. Brooks began the day with two bogeys in his first three holes but turned it around quickly with back-to-back birdies on four and five. 

To finish the day, Brooks made birdie on 13 and 16 to close out his day two shots ahead of second place. Joel Yunek, of Mason City, finished in solo second after a one-over round of 72 during the morning wave. 

Steve Kahler and Jim Butler made moves today, getting back inside the top-three. Kahler ended his day at even par and Butler carded a one-under round. Rob Christensen rounded out the top-five with a 145 two-round tally. 

The final round of the 44th Iowa Senior Amateur Championship will take place Wednesday morning. Find out which senior and super senior will be crowned the champion at Ames Golf and Country Club using our live scoring feature. 

Senior Division
T1. Bret Taylor 70-66=136
T1. Sean Davis 65-71=136
3. Joe Palmer 73-66=139
4. Dave Cunningham 73-67=140
T5. Jay Slings 67-75=142
T5. Jay Gregory 71-71=142

Super Senior Division
1. Bob Brooks 72-69=141
2. Joel Yunek 71-72=143
T3. Jim Butler 74-70=144
T3. Steve Kahler 73-71=144
T3. Rob Christensen 74-70=144

IGA Announces Plans to Construct Hall of Fame, Museum, Junior Golf Center

Click here to make a recurring donation to the project
Click here to make a one-time donation to the project

August 22, 2022 – RICK BROWN

Iowa is the home of global golf champions and captains.  Titles brought home by Iowans include the Masters, (British) Open Championship, U.S. Open, U.S. Mid-Amateur, U.S. Senior Amateur and many other significant global events.  Iowa can simultaneously claim the most 9-hole courses in the U.S. as well as being home to the captains of next year’s Ryder Cup team and Walker Cup teams.

What we lack is our own centralized place to organize, support, and celebrate the excellence that is Iowa Golf.  The Iowa Golf Association Foundation – led by lead donor Michael Coppola – has been working quietly over the past 9 months to rectify that.

“I must do everything I can, financially and otherwise, to make this happen,” said Coppola, a Des Moines real estate developer and owner of Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk.

Fundraising is under way for Golf House Iowa, a building that will be home to the Iowa Golf Association and all its programs, as well as the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. The building will be owned by the Iowa Golf Association Foundation, the IGA’s 501(c)(3).

Coppola has donated $1 million to the project. Golf House Iowa will be built on land that Coppola has also donated, overlooking the 9th green of Echo Valley’s Creek Course.

Coppola’s generous gift is a major piece of the fundraising goal, which was recently raised to $5 million due to increased construction costs. Well over half of that total has been raised so far.

“We want to inspire others to get involved,” said Coppola, who is helping lead the fundraising initiative.  “We’re attempting to build a platform that I believe is going to take Iowa golf, and more importantly, the programs to the next level.”

Chad Pitts, executive director of the Iowa Golf Association, said that Golf House Iowa is important for many reasons.

“It’s operationally and philosophically strategic for the IGA and our Foundation to have a permanent home,” Pitts said. “But we’re really doing this for our community of Iowa golfers. Golf in Iowa and around the world has been experiencing positive growth and we need to create a space that supports both current and future participation.  Golf positively impacts quality of life, education, and economic development and that’s good for everyone in the state.”

Golf House Iowa would be much more than just offices. It will also include a golf simulator, indoor and outdoor putting greens and multipurpose meeting rooms that would be used by grow the game initiatives like First Tee and Youth on Course.

The Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association will also have offices in the building. So will the IGA Foundation, which promotes golf and preserves history through many programs including the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, the Herman Sani and Ann Griffel Scholarships and the Youth on Course program. The Sani and Griffel scholarships award $42,000 annually.

The new facility would house the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, which will celebrate the game’s past and serve as motivation for the future. In addition to Coppola’s gift, the early contributions of some Hall of Fame members have really jump started this project.

“The family of the late Joe Brown, Mike McCoy, Gene Elliott , Jim Carney, and many others made significant gifts early on,” Pitts said. “Without their financial support and participation, we would not be where we are today. It’s a testament to their appreciation for the game of golf that they would step up and contribute in the fashion that they did.”

Pitts said that the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame would give its members a place where their collective legacies would be honored in permanent fashion.

Golf is the game of a lifetime. And those donating to Golf House Iowa would be helping set the table for future generations to appreciate Iowa’s rich golf history and enjoy the game for years to come.

Why is Golf House Iowa so important?

“With every mission, and every business, you need a platform,” Coppola said. “And for the IGA, Golf House Iowa will be the platform for everything it does.”

This is not the first time the future of the game has prospered from Coppola’s generosity. The Sani Scholarship fund, which is financed by donations and a percentage of entry fees from selected statewide tournaments, was struggling to find enough money to endow those scholarships.

Coppola was approached around 2013 about making a donation to keep the scholarships – $2,000 a year for four years – up and running. Coppola attended a Sani Scholarship dinner, and was deeply impressed with the award winners. He did some research on Sani, who purchased Hyperion Field Club in 1936 for back taxes and gave it back to the membership. Sani was also the first executive director of the IGA and served in that role on a volunteer basis for more than 30 years.

“I thought, “Man, this is a great story,’ ” Coppola recalled. “I talked to my brothers (Arthur and Edward) and we decided to do it. The kids were inspirational. And the Sani story just took me over the edge. I said, “It’s perfect, we’ll do it.’ ”

The Coppola brothers donated $250,000 to help endow the Sani Scholarship in 2015.

“Sometimes you know it’s something you’ve got to do, and sometimes you’re not sure,” Michael said. “Well, I knew it was something we needed to do.”

Witnessing the Sani Scholarship winners in person, and hearing their stories, was the driving force behind Coppola’s decision to lend a helping hand.

“What inspired me to get involved wasn’t just the IGA,” Coppola said. “It was more about seeing the great work that was being done through the scholarship fund the IGA administers and being in the room when those kids received their awards. It was easy to see that somebody was doing something right. And when I gave the money to the scholarship I had zero concern whether or not my money would be spent wisely. Because I could see the results right in front of my eyes. That’s where I wanted my money to go.”

Golf House Iowa has been talked about for years, and often greeted by detours like the recession in 2008 and COVID-19 in 2020.

“We went down many paths the last several years, and the deal didn’t get the inertia it needed,” Coppola said. “The lights were on, but no one was moving the needle.” Initially, Coppola offered land for the project. Then he added a $500,000 donation.“I said, “Now let’s raise some cash. I’ll help.’ ”

Coppola has since doubled his contribution to $1 million, and volunteered his time to help raise the remaining money.

Golf House Iowa’s doors will be open to everyone, with a mission of growing the game of golf.

“The union of Golf House Iowa and Echo Valley made perfect sense to me,” Coppola said. “This must happen.”

The Sani and Griffel scholarship winners also motivate Coppola to help make Golf House Iowa a reality.

“The level of excellence they have is inspirational,” Coppola said. “That’s why I’m here. And they’re inspirational for those who aspire to be just like them. This platform (Golf House Iowa) is going to celebrate those past, present and future participants in this game. It  isn’t just a game. It’s more about your life. It’s a way to enrich your life.”

Coppola looks into the future and sees a day when McCoy, one of Iowa’s greatest amateur players, sits in a meeting room at Golf House Iowa and talks to a group of youngsters about what the game of golf has done for him.

“It’s about enriching lives through golf,” Coppola said. “How do we change a life through the game? And it might not even be on a golf course. Twenty-five years later, a kid is going to say, “Mr. McCoy talked to me about what the game did for him. And one thing he said really got to me.’ ”

As a golfer Coppola isn’t motivated by how many rounds he plays in a year. It’s more about the canvas that golf provides.

“When you walk among golfers you can see what it does for them,” he said.

“It’s about how many times I touch certain moments out there. Different things happen that allow me to learn, to create, to do all the things that are fun to me. It’s about seeing something in a richer perspective than what it currently is. How would a kid learn something they wouldn’t potentially learn? That’s what you can do for a kid. That inspires me.”

Coppola sees Golf House Iowa as a way for the Iowa Golf Association to grow and expand its programs.

‘“If you watch them up close and personal, you can see they do some really good work here and they don’t blow their horn,” Coppola said. “I want them to blow their horn. I want more kids to know there is a path through this game. And Golf House Iowa is going to be the sanctuary.”

The bottom line for Coppola is this: Golf House Iowa is a perfect way to grow the game for the future, a legacy that will continue to give for generations. Youth will be served. “You can see that they make me feel good about writing a check,” Coppola said. “Not the bricks and mortar.”

For more information and to see renderings, videos, etc on the project click here.

Click here to make a recurring donation to the project
Click here to make a one-time donation to the project

Davis sets the pace at 44th Iowa Senior Amateur, Miller leads Super Seniors

Sean Davis, of Council Bluffs is the round one leader at the 44th Iowa Senior Amateur Championship, held at Ames Golf and Country Club. Davis had it rolling in round one, knocking in seven birdies en route to a six-under round.

“I just played real solid all the way around,” said Davis. “As the day went on the greens got a little dryer and faster. They were in great shape and the staff did a great job.”

Going into moving day with a two-shot lead can be uncomfortable at times, but not for Davis. 

“This resembles the back nine at my home course Council Bluffs Country Club,” Davis said. “I feel real comfortable out here.”

Ankeny’s, Jay Slings, sits two-back of Davis after a four-under round of 67. Slings made five birdies to only one lone bogey. Currently, Slings holds second place by three-shots over Booneville’s, Bret Taylor. 

Taylor joined Davis and Slings as the only three players under-par in the Senior Division. Taylor tallied four birdies, but three bogeys set him back. Ron Peterson and the recent Herman Sani Tournament Senior Champion, Jay Gregory, finish the top-five at even-par. 

Terry Miller, of Fort Dodge, leads the way in the Super Senior Division with a one-shot lead over Mason City’s, Joel Yunek. Miller carded a one-under round of 70 that included four birdies to only three bogeys. 

Yunek holds on to solo second place after parring the course. Yunek’s consistent round places him in great position to chase the lead. Bob Brooks and Rob Christensen finished tied for third place at one-over par. 

Steve Kahler, David Studer and the Super Senior Match Play Champion, Tom Norton, round out the top-five at two-over par. The competitors in the three-way tie for fifth are only three-back from Miller.

The second round of the 44th Iowa Senior Amateur Championship will start Tuesday morning morning. Follow the seniors using our live scoring feature as they look to put pressure on the leaders, Davis and Miller.

Senior Division
1. Sean Davis -6 65
2. Jay Slings -4 67
3. Bret Taylor -1 70
T4. Ron Peterson E 71
T4. Jay Gregory E 71

Super Senior Division
Terry Miller -1 70
Joel Yunek E 71
T3. Bob Brooks +1 72
T3. Rob Christensen +1 72
T5. Steve Kahler +2 73
T5. Tom Norton +2 73
T5. David Studer +2 73

Irv Warren Memorial GC wins, Smith defends title at Elmcrest CC

Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course overthrew Echo Valley Country Club as the 61st IGA Women’s Club Team champions and Leanne Smith (above left) defends her title at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. 

Smith fired a four-under round of 66 to earn back-to-back titles. Five birdies and one eagle gave Smith a three-shot lead over her IGA Four-Ball partner, Julie Buerman. Buerman carded a 69 to finish second in the Gross Division.

With a two-over tally, the side of Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course was able to slide by the defending champions at Echo Valley Country Club by one shot. Lindsay Burry led her squad with a three-over round. 

Rose Kubesheski finished second on the team with a 75 total. Kubesheski’s Four-Ball partner, Margene Grady, added a 78 to the team’s total while Kelly Nelson tacked on an efficient round of 79.

Sunnyside Country Club won the Net Division with a 10-under total. Their team finished with a 200 total with Renea Freidman leading the way with a 67. The side of Sunnyside Country Club topped St. Andrews second group by one shot. 

Amy Olberding (above right) was crowned the individual Net Division champion with a four-under round of 66. Olberding broke out of the three-way tie for second place to win by one shot. Mary Hoefle, Renea Friedman and Cindy Reinertsen concluded their day in a tie for second. 

On August 22, the Iowa Golf Association holds the Iowa Senior Amateur at Ames Golf and Country Club. Follow the seniors using our live scoring feature as they battle for this year’s crown.

Gross Division
Irv Warren Memorial GC +2 212
Echo Valley CC +3 213
Elmcrest CC +5 215
Sunnyside CC +7 217
St. Andrews-2 +8 218

Individual Gross Division
Leanne Smith -4 66
Julie Buerman -1 69
Amy Olberding E 70
Erin Schaffer E 70
Renea Friedman E 70

Net Division
Sunnyside CC -10 200
St. Andrews-2 -9 201
Hyperion Field Club -4 206
Irv Warren Memorial GC -4 206
Echo Valley CC -4 206

Individual Net Division
Amy Olberding -4 66
Mary Hoefle -3 67
Renea Friedman -3 67
Cindy Reinertsen -3 67
Lisa Zbylicki -2 68

Fisher plays steady, wins 73rd Herman Sani Tournament

Professional, Darin Fisher (above), finished out with 10-straight pars to seal the deal and win the 73rd Herman Sani Tournament on Sunday, held at Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk.

The first round gave the (now) two-time Herman Sani Tournament champion zero fits as he put together a bogey-free, three-under round of 68. That momentum changed as the second round came around the corner.

“I started off with bogey on the first hole during my second round, so I said, ‘I guess today was going to be one of those where you throw in a few bogeys and make a few birdies’,” Fisher said.

Fisher recorded three bogeys and five birdies to finished tied for the lead going into the final round.

On Fisher’s opening nine, he opened with a one-under 34 to give him a four-shot lead over the low-amateur, Connor Peck. As the two competitors made the turn, Connor found himself two-back after two more birdies on 10 and 13. 

As Fisher approached the 16th hole, he was left with a ‘knee-knocker’ to save his par. The putt hit the back of the cup and fell, leaving Fisher with a two-shot lead with two holes to play.

“That putt was big,” Fisher said. “I was totally fooled on the downhill part of that putt, but I told myself, ‘You’re going to make this, you’re going to make this,’ and I stayed positive, and I just rolled that thing in.”

With pars on 17 and 18, Fisher claimed his second Herman Sani Tournament title.

“This tournament is so great,” Fisher said. “There are so many great players in this event. I won at Hyperion before and so it is great to know now that my game travels here. I love winning events that Chad (Pitts) and his staff run. I am just really proud.”

Peck (right) made a run at the overall title, but late bogeys altered his plans and sent him to a playoff with Anthony Ruthey for the low-amateur title. 

“I made five on 17 and five on 18 so I felt like I gave away two at the end,” Peck said. “It worked out in the end; Anthony and I had a good playoff.”

Peck won the fourth playoff hole to seal the victory and conclude an impressive week. 

Defending champion, Jay Gregory does it again in the Senior Division. Knocking off the Norwalk native and 2021 IGA Senior Player of the Year, Joe Palmer, for the second straight year is a feat in itself. 

“This win is special,” Gregory said. “I look forward to coming back next year and trying to three-peat.”

Gregory’s scores were about as consistent as they could get, tallying rounds of 71, 70 and a final 70 to keep the trophy in his possession. 

“There so many good players,” Gregory said. “Playing in any IGA tournament is tough. I was hitting the ball well all week and I finally made some putts today; I was kind of struggling the last two days.”

Palmer finished one shot back of Gregory (right) at one-under par for the week. Early bogeys on the card left Palmer hanging on as Gregory jumped out of the gate with three birdies on his first nine holes. 

Jeff Collett, the 2022 IGA Match Play Champion, took third place. Collett ended his tournament run with a six-over total and a 74 on the final day. The 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier, Curtis Holck, was the fourth-place finisher at seven-over par.

Wrapping up the Senior Division’s top-five was the 2023 Walker Cup Captain, Mike McCoy, and former Iowa Amateur Champion, Brian Verduyn. The two historic Iowa golfers carded eight-over tallies for the week.

The 2021 Super Senior Player of the Year, Pat Ryan, marches to the finish line in an impressive fashion. Ryan was down five shots after round one, but dug deep and fought to claim the Super Senior Division title. 

“I wanted to win this more than any other tournament,” Ryan said. “Thanks to the Iowa Golf Association and Echo Valley Country Club, this place was fantastic. It means a lot to me.”

A birdie on the 16th and a par on his 17th hole gave Ryan (right) the two stroke lead over the runner-up finisher, Robert Pomerantz. Ryan had been searching for a lead all week and for it to appear just in time showed the strength Ryan brought to the table. 

Rob Christensen took third place after tying Tom Schill for the low round of the day. Christensen carded a 71 to sneak back into contention. Joel Yunek and Jim Madsen round out the top-five with an 11-over tally. 

The 61st IGA Women’s Club Team Championship begins today. Follow our live scoring feature and find out which club shines the brightest at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. 

Open Division
1. Darin Fisher 68-69-70=207
T2. Connor Peck 69-72-69=210
T2. Anthony Ruthey 67-72-71=210
T2. Matthew Walker 68-74-68=210
5. Matthew Jennings 67-74-70=211

Amateur Division
1. Connor Peck 69-72-69=210 *Won Playoff*
2. Anthony Ruthey 67-72-71=210
T3. Nate McCoy 72-73-67=212
T3. Sam Vertanen 71-67-74=212
5. Ian Meyer 66-77-70=213

Senior Division
1. Jay Gregory 71-70-70=211
2. Joe Palmer 71-68-73=212
3. Jeff Collett 72-73-74=219
4. Curtis Holck 72-70-78=220
T5. Mike McCoy 71-75-75=221
T5. Brian Verduyn 74-70-77=221

Super Senior Division
1. Pat Ryan 76-70-73=219
2. Robert Pomerantz 75-73-72=220
3. Rob Christensen 76-74-71=221
T4. Joel Yunek 73-75-76=224
T4. Jim Madsen 72-72-80=224

Fisher takes lead into final round of 73rd Herman Sani Tournament

Making a charge was the name of the game on Saturday as Darin Fisher (above) took the lead after round two of the 73rd Herman Sani Tournament at Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk. 

After carding a bogey free 68 in round one, Fisher had a little more adversity during his second run at Echo Valley Country Club. Three bogeys jumped at Fisher. He fought back by tacking on five birdies to take a one-shot lead into the final round. 

Sam Vertanen was red-hot during his round today. With a four-under front-nine, Vertanen had it going early. Two more birdies were added to Vertanen’s card to start his back-nine, but finished his final four holes at two-over par.

Paired together for the first two rounds seemed to help Logan Barnes and Anthony Ruthey as they will head into the final round in a tie for third place. Barnes was our solo leader at seven-under par, but two double bogeys on his 15th hole and 17th hole set him back.

Ruthey played his front-nine at one-over par and carded an even back-nine to finish with a 72 on the day. Matthew Jennings, a fellow professional to Fisher, tied for fifth place with Connor Peck and Parker Oleson at one-under par.

The 2021 Senior Player of the Year, Joe Palmer, holds a two-shot lead over defending champion, Jay Gregory. Palmer posted a three-under round that included four birdies and on lone bogey on the twelfth hole. 

Jay Gregory kept himself in contention with a one-under round. Gregory began his day at two-over par through his first twelve holes, but three birdies in his final six holes pushed him back towards the top.

Recent U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier, Curtis Holck, finished his second round in third place. Holck totaled four birdies en route to a one-under round of 70. Brian Verduyn found himself five back of Palmer but crept back inside the top-five after tying Gregory and Holck at one-under par today.

The 2022 IGA Senior Match Play Champion, Jeff Collett is inside the top-five at three-over par for the tournament. Don’t count him out as he knows how to go low quickly. 

A new leader appears in the Super Senior Division. Jim Madsen fired back-to-back rounds of 72 to grab the lead by two shots over the 2021 Super Senior Player of the Year, Pat Ryan. 

On his final nine, Madsen caught fire, knocking in five birdies. The late hot streak was met with a double bogey on his final hole, but the 2021 runner-up will head into the final round with the lead.

Ryan carded the low round of the day with a one-under 70. Stranded on the right side of the seventh hole, Ryan punched out to five feet and with excitement, drained the birdie. 

Robert Pomerantz and Joel Yunek finished in a tie for third place with 148 tallies. Rob Christensen rounds out the top-five after a 74 in today’s round. Christensen will head into the final round with a 150 total.

The final round of the 73rd Herman Sani Tournament begins Sunday morning. Keep up with the action using our live scoring feature and find out who will be crowned the Herman Sani Tournament champion in all divisions.

Open Division
1. Darin Fisher 68-69=137
2. Sam Vertanen 71-67=138
T3. Anthony Ruthey 67-72=139
T3. Logan Barnes 66-73=139
T5. Matthew Jennings 67-74=141
T5. Connor Peck 69-72=141
T5. Parker Oleson 74-67=141

Amateur Division
Sam Vertanen 71-67=138
T2. Anthony Ruthey 67-72=139
T2. Logan Barnes 66-73=139
T4. Connor Peck 69-72=141
T4. Parker Oleson 74-67=141

Senior Division
1. Joe Palmer 71-68=139
2. Jay Gregory 71-70=141
3. Curtis Holck 72-70=142
4. Brian Verduyn 74-70=144
5. Jeff Collett 72-73=145

Super Senior Division
1. Jim Madsen 72-72=144
2. Pat Ryan 76-70=146
T3. Robert Pomerantz 75-73=148
T3. Joel Yunek 73-75=148
Rob Christensen 76-74=150

Two share lead at 73rd Herman Sani Tournament

After round one of the 73rd Herman Sani Tournament, two amateurs, Ian Meyer and Logan Barnes (above), lead the way, both with five-under rounds. 

The early morning tee-times favored our two leaders.

One-under going into his final nine holes, Meyer knew he needed to make something happen. Four birdies to close out his bogey-free, first round score, gave Meyer a tie for the lead alongside Barnes.  

Barnes couldn’t seem to keep the birdies off his scorecard. Eight birdies to only three bogeys gave Barnes a one-shot advantage going into the second round.  

A three-way tie for third place between Ethan Mechling, Anthony Ruthey and the Pro Division leader, Matthew Jennings rounds out the top-five. Those three competitors will head into the second round one shot off the lead at four-under. 

Three of the top seniors in Iowa lead the Senior Division. The 2023 Walker Cup Captain, Mike McCoy, carded an early morning round of 71, only to watch Joe Palmer and Jay Gregory tie him in their afternoon rounds. 

This year’s Senior Match Play champion, Jeff Collett, finished in a three-way tie with the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier, Curtis Holck, and Kris Greenfield. All three competitors recorded one-over rounds and sit one shot below the leaders.

Defending champion, Bill Tank, holds a one-shot lead in the Super Senior Division. Early adversity struck Tank after a four-over start in his first four holes. Looking forward, Tank carded five total birdies to give him the early advantage. 

Jim Madsen finds himself one-shot behind Tank after a one-over round. With three birdies on his opening nine, Madsen will seek out another hot start in tomorrow’s second round. Joel Yunek holds third place with a two-over round of 73.

The second round of the 73rd Herman Sani Tournament will start back up Saturday morning. Follow the action on moving day using our live scoring feature to see if the leaders hang on for another day or if someone else jumps up to the top.

Open Division
T1. Ian Meyer -5 66
T1. Logan Barnes -5 66
T3. Matthew Jennings -4 67
T3. Ethan Mechling -4 67
T3. Anthony Ruthey -4 67

Amateur Division
T1. Ian Meyer -5 66
T1. Logan Barnes -5 66
T3. Ethan Mechling -4. 67
T3. Anthony Ruthey -4 67
5. Connor Peck -2 69

Senior Division
T1. Mike McCoy E 71
T1. Jay Gregory E 71
T1. Joe Palmer E 71
T4. Jeff Collett +1 72
T4. Curtis Holck +1 72
T4. Kris Greenfield +1 72

Super Senior Division
1. Bill Tank E 71
2. Jim Madsen +1 72
3. Joel Yunek +2 73
T4. Mike McDonald +4 75
T4. David Studer +4 75
T4. Robert Pomerantz +4 75
T4. Tom Schill +4 75

Scroll to top