Month: September 2022

Buermans defend title, win third career Iowa Wife-Husband crown

Defending champions, Julie and Brian Buerman (above), earned their second-straight title at the 62nd Iowa Wife/Husband Championship at Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo over the weekend. The Buermans carded rounds of 77 and 69 to earn a one-shot victory over the side of Stephanie and Alan Johnson. 

After the first round, the Buermans found themselves two shots out of the lead. With an eight-shot improvement in the final round, the Buermans were able to complete the comeback over the Johnson’s and win their third career title in the event. 

Amanda and Ryan Lambert tied with the side of Bailey Hammerberg and Andy Tiedt for third place at seven-over-par. Victoria and Zachary Van Cleave rounded out the top-five with an eight-over, 152 total.

The Senior Division had another final round comeback from the side of Robin and Doug Webb to claim the title. In the first round, the Webb’s carded a 78 and found themselves five shots behind Laurie and Todd Slater. 

With four birdies and the lowest recorded score in the final round, the Webb’s raced back and grabbed ahold of the lead. The Slater’s fell two-shots short and finished at 11-over-par for the tournament. 

Laura and Tom Christensen placed third with rounds of 80 and 76. They finished one shot ahead of Michelle and Tom Klein, who posted 13-over. Marla and Bryce Dahm finished in a four-way tie for fifth place alongside Pam and Paul Netzel, Mindy and John Bowen and the side of Kelley and Joseph Paxson.

Renea and Tom Friedman (right) were crowned champions in the Super Senior Division with a 158 tally. The couple earned a four-shot victory over Jeanette and Raymond Fredericksen, who carded rounds of 82 and 80.

Karen and Mark Johnson took third place with rounds of 82 and 81 to finish at 19-over-par. Cindy and Peter Reinertsen tied with Carroll and John Dethrow to round out the top-five. 

Two tournaments remain on the Iowa Golf Association’s schedule. The Iowa Cup Matches on Thursday, September 29th at Geneva Country Club in Muscatine. Following the Iowa Cup Matches, the IGA Club Team will take place on October 3rd to close out the season.

Open Division
1. Julie & Brian Buerman 77-69=146
2. Stephanie & Alan Johnson 75-72=147
T3. Amanda & Ryan Lambert 78-73=151
T3. Bailey Hammerberg & Andy Tiedt 78-73=151
5. Victoria & Zachary Van Cleave 74-78=152

Senior Division
1. Robin & Doug Webb 78-75=153
2. Laurie & Todd Slater 73-82=155
3. Laura & Tom Christensen 80-76=156
4. Michelle & Tom Klein 77-80=157
T5. Marla & Bryce Dahm 78-83=161
T5. Pam & Paul Netzel 80-81=161
T5. Mindy & John Bowen 81-80=161
T5. Kelley & Joseph Paxson 83-78=161 

Super Senior Division
1. Renea & Tom Friedman 80-78=158
2. Jeanette Fredericksen & Raymond Fredericksen 82-80=162
3. Karen & Mark Johnson 82-81=163
4. Cindy & Peter Reinertsen 90-80=163
5. Carroll & John Dethrow 85-85=170

Principal® Foundation awards IGA Foundation $125,000 for Golf House Iowa project

The Iowa Golf Association Foundation (IGAF) has recently been awarded a $125,000 grant from Principal Foundation for the Golf House Iowa project. The grant will be used to provide a permanent home to preserve, promote, and protect the game of golf in our great state. The project will include the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, a space for educating golfers, areas to promote and teach the game, and office space for the Iowa Golf Association, IGA Foundation, Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association and First Tee – Central Iowa.

The IGAF’s mission is to promote golf and its life-enhancing values with an emphasis on teaching, preserving and protecting the history and traditions of the game in Iowa – and Principal Foundation has stepped up to help achieve that mission in a big way.

“The commitment and investment from those at Principal Foundation is astounding,” IGA executive director Chad Pitts said. “They obviously recognize the importance golf can have on youth in our community, as they commit so many resources to the Principal Charity Classic each year.”  

Principal Foundation grant funds will be used to support Golf House Iowa and the effort of bringing more people from all ages and backgrounds to the game, as well as teaching the intrinsic values that are the foundation of golf – such as honesty, integrity, respect, and sportsmanship.

“Sports have the unique ability to unite people and enrich their lives,” said Jo Christine Miles, director, Principal Foundation and community relations. “We are excited by IGA’s mission to connect more people, especially young Iowans, with golf – creating a spark of interest that could lead to a lifelong passion and beneficial community connections.”

Golf House Iowa is expected to welcome thousands of junior golfers each year to learn about the history of the game of golf, as well as participate in programs such as First Tee and The First Green, which are field trips for 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade classes where students learn about the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) that goes into caring for a golf course.

“We are thrilled that they have chosen to recognize and support the Golf House Iowa project as well,” Pitts said. “We look forward to making them and all of our donors proud of the finished facility.”

In addition to field trips to Golf House Iowa, efforts will be made to increase Youth on Course participation substantially over the next few years.  Youth on Course works to remove the financial barrier to playing golf by subsiding rounds of golf for kids age 6-18.

– Your support is still needed –
As of today (Sept. 13, 2022), 71% of the project’s goal has been raised/pledged. For more information on ways you can support the efforts of Golf House Iowa visit

About Principal® Foundation
Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. (“Principal Foundation”) is a duly recognized 501(c)(3) entity focused on providing philanthropic support to programs that build financial security in the communities where Principal Financial Group, Inc. (“Principal”) operates. While Principal Foundation receives funding from Principal, Principal Foundation is a distinct, independent, charitable entity. Principal Foundation does not practice any form of investment advisory services and is not authorized to do so.

Four to represent Iowa at U.S. Mid-Amateur in Wisconsin

From left – David Combs, Mike McCoy and Nate McCoy. Not pictured – Michael Canfield will join the other three as the fourth Iowan at the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur. (photo courtesy of Vaughn Halyard)

Fields are set, courses are prepped and four Iowans are ready to take on the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. The competition will be held at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin and Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. 

Iowa will send two first-timers in David Combs and Michael Canfield. who qualified out of Geneva Country Club in Muscatine. Canfield joined Combs as the medalist out of the qualifier after carding rounds of 68.

This season, Combs recorded a top-five finish at the IGA Mid-Amateur Championship and he made it to the round of 16 in the IGA Match Play Championship. 

Last year’s IGA Player of the Year and this year’s current leader for IGA Player of the Year, Nate McCoy, will chase after the title alongside his father and 2023 United States Walker Cup Captain, Mike McCoy. 

Nate McCoy has impressed many with his performances this season, totaling five wins, including the Iowa Amateur Championship, the IGA Match Play Championship and the Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship. McCoy also claimed victories at the Iowa Masters and The Classic. 

Currently, the younger McCoy ranks as the ninth best mid-amateur, according to World Amateur Golf Rankings. In the overall amateur rankings, McCoy sits inside the top 180 amateur in the world as the highest ranked Iowan.

The former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, Mike McCoy, looks to make another run at it this year. McCoy’s season has been nothing short of remarkable. Highlights of his season include taking home the R&A British Senior Amateur Championship, along with qualifying and making it to the round of 16 at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

Our four Iowans will be tested this week at two of the top courses in the United States. The format for the championship includes a 36-hole stroke play qualifier to decide the 64-player match play bracket. Follow the action and your fellow Iowans at the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship on Sept. 10-15. 

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows

IGA Hall of Famer Ivan Miller poses with some of his memorabilia accumulated over a long and distinguished golf career. An accomplished artist and retired art teacher, one of his favorite works is a drawing of his son Ivan, displayed in the background.

Now on Life’s Back Nine, Miller Reflects on His Hall of Fame Career

Over the course of a spectacular career competing in hundreds of golf tournaments, Eldora’s Ivan Miller faced his share of tough breaks and bad lies. But nothing the golf course tossed at him would compare to what the game of life sent his way more than six years ago.

In 2016, Miller was diagnosed with a rare form of stage 4 melanoma cancer where a tumor settled in against his lower spine. He underwent intensive radiation and 32 Keytruda treatments, an immune system therapy considered at the time as experimental. The treatment worked, and the cancer went into remission, where it has remained. An extensive rehabilitation followed that included a year in a nursing home and learning to walk again.

“I’m very much enjoying my mulligan on life,” Miller told Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene during an interview held recently at the Pine Lake Country Club in Eldora, where he holds the course record with a 59.

Miller, 73, still possesses the competitive fire that propelled him to golf titles in more than 120 tournaments over a six-decade career. He can only play nine holes at a time, but retains a passion for the game he first discovered as a youth growing up in Grundy Center.

“Golf has been such an incredible and impactful part of my life,” said Miller. “I’ve met so many wonderful people and developed so many lasting relationships through this game.”

That list includes the late Iowa State basketball coach Johnny Orr, who would call upon Miller to participate in numerous charitable outings, the iconic George Turner, whom he competed with and against, Iowa golf legends Bob Gitchell, (Edmund) “Bud” McCardell and John Liechty, Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnbull, Iowa Golf Association executive director Jim Rasley and a hometown buddy, Harry Athas, among many others.

Former Iowa Amateur champion Jim Carney dubbed Miller the “Minnow King” for his remarkable record of capturing title after title during the 1970’s and 1980’s across central and eastern Iowa. Miller estimates he captured some 120 tournaments during that span and in the now bygone era of small town, one-day, 27-hole tournaments. In places such as Mason City, Strawberry Point, Waverly, Jewell, Hampton, Ames, Parkersburg, Clarion, Eagle Grove, and the like, Miller fashioned a reputation as a tough competitor and champion.

When Ivan Miller was in town, the rest of the field was likely playing for second place. It also provided some interesting prizes, in addition to the customary clubhouse gift certificates.

He’s won chainsaws, steaks, Iowa chops, furniture, seed corn caps and jackets, watches, and cases of motor oil. But the grand prize at Eagle Grove’s “Hog Wild” Open may be the most distinctive. Miller arrived at the first tee and, much to his surprise, near the teeing area, were two hogs in a pen bedded down with straw, the ultimate prize for the champion. Miller won, of course, and had the hogs butchered.

In addition to his razor-sharp golf game, Miller also attracted attention by pulling up to tournaments with his Chevy van, modified to fit his three-wheeled golf cart. After capturing the titles, onlookers would watch as he motored the cart into the back of the van. Off he went to the next tournament, and during a 15-year stretch, he estimated playing two to three tournaments per week, and perhaps 600 events in total. In addition to all the tournament titles, Miller has other golf accolades that include two 59’s, one 60 and 12 holes-in-one.

Ivan Miller poses in front of the ninth green at Pine Lake County Club in Eldora, where he holds the course record with a 59 and has played thousands of rounds over the years.

Miller’s game was also well suited for the big stage. He captured three state-wide major titles, including The Iowa Masters and Northwest Amateur in 1980 and the Fort Dodge Amateur in 1982. He would tally 22 top-10 finishes in those three major events during his career. Miller was named the Iowa Golf Association’s Player of the Year in 1978 and 1980. He was inducted into the IGA’s Hall of Fame in 2018.

The experiences, stories, and folklore accumulated over the years are plentiful. He recalled being paired with the colorful and controversial Floren DiPaglia during the Fort Dodge Amateur.

“Floren had a bodyguard with him who doubled as his caddie,” Miller said. “We were playing a hole near the highway when a car backfired. I looked across the fairway, and Floren was down on the deck, with his caddie on top of him. Later in the round, during a backup in play, he pulled out a dozen new Titleists and a wad of $100 bills and was betting his caddie that he could hit the water tower adjacent to the course.”

In the mid-1980’s, Miller was competing in the Clinton River Boat Days event when he encountered a “young phenom” on the practice green and was challenged to a putting contest for dimes. Miller, known for his fabulous short game, held his own against the youngster before the tide turned. The collegiate golfer then started using the end of his putter and continued to collect dimes from Miller. Some 17 years later, that young kid would go on to win the British Open Championship at Troon, that being Todd Hamilton.

His Iowa Golf Hall of Fame career was launched in the late 1950’s when neighbors gave him a set of wooden-shafted clubs. He set up “courses” around his house and in the backyard using plastic golf balls and even scooped snow during the winter to facilitate chipping sessions.

Miller was a four-year letterwinner at Grundy Center High School and played one year at Marshalltown Community College, where he qualified for the National Junior College championships. He played three seasons at Peru State College in Nebraska, won the Nebraska College Golf Championship (all levels) and played in the NAIA National Championship.

Miller taught one year at Coon Rapids, where he met his late wife, Ann. The couple moved to Eldora in 1971, where he taught art at Eldora-New Providence High School and coached golf for 43 years. Among his many golf pupils was Christi (Athas) Imsland, a three-time Iowa High School state champion.

Although age and health issues have taken some toll on his playing ability, Miller still plays men’s league and casual matches with friends at Pine Lake Country Club. He’s at peace, enjoying a second chance at life and reflects with pride on an extraordinary golf career and the many lessons learned on the links.

“I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true,” he said. “Hard work pays off. There’s great satisfaction in improving and always learning because we all started from the same place trying to figure this game out.”

“Up and Down” the Iowa Golf Scene

A regular feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene is designed to take the reader beyond the headlines and scoreboards to share stories of those who help make Iowa golf so rich and rewarding. Profiles will spotlight those who advance the game through volunteerism, service, extraordinary achievement, competition, human interest and the many other dimensions of golf in Iowa.

Click the links below to read previous Up and Down features
– IGA Rules Official Sean Flanders
– R&A, USGA Champion Gene Elliott
– Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters
Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf

Boothe / Watson claim IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series #3 title

Fiona Watson and Tish Boothe (left two players above) claimed the third and final IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series Event title over the defending champions, Erin Schaffer and Leanne Smith on Saturday. Watson and Boothe carded an even round of 71 to top the sides in a second-place tie between Schaffer and Smith and Julie Buerman and Katie Wenthe.

Kathy Fortune and Laura Leszczynski finished their Saturday in fourth place, two back from Watson and Boothe. Kelly Nelson and Lindsay Burry tied with Lauren Backer and Jen List for fifth place. 

Rebecca Schroeder and Marie Jeanblanc (right two players above) were the Team Net Division champions after an eight-under day. Schroeder and Jeanblanc knocked off Kelly Grimes and Sue Harmon, who posted a five-under net round. 

To round out the top-five is a three-way tie at four under-par between Renee Buckner and Kim Burchett, Carroll Dethrow and Janece Schwartzkopf and the side of Janis Owens and Ila Gilbert. 

Next up on the IGA schedule is the 62nd Wife-Husband Championship on September 16-18 at Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo. Find out who will claim this year’s title using our live scoring feature.

Team Gross Division
1. Watson + Boothe E 71
T2. Schaffer + Smith +1 72
T2. Buerman + Wenthe +1 72
4. Fortune + Leszczynski +2 73
T5. Nelson + Burry +3 74
T5. Backer + List +3 74

Team Net Division
1. Schroeder + Jeanblanc -8 63
2. Grimes + Harmon -5 66
T3. Buckner + Burchett -4 67
T3. Dethrow + Schwartzkopf -4 67
T3. Owens + Gilbert -4 67

Brown’s Quarterfinal Appearance Leads Strong Iowa Fivesome at U.S. Senior Amateur

Jon Brown (above) reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Amateur championship in his first try. He led a strong contingent of five Iowans in the field. (photo courtesy of USGA)

The state of Iowa was well represented at the recently contested U.S. Senior Amateur held August 27-Sept. 1 at The Kittansett Club in Marion, Mass. Jon Brown, Gene Elliott, Curtis Holck, Mike McCoy, and Joe Palmer were all part of the 156-player field competing in the 67th annual edition of the championship.

Brown, who reached the minimum age of 55 a day before the championship started, led the Iowa contingent through the 36-hole medal play qualifying by firing a 72-70 to match the fourth lowest qualifying score at 142. He then advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Oscar Mestre (1 up), Jim Plotkin (3&2) and John Adams (25 holes), the latter equaling the second longest match in the championship.

Brown was eliminated in the quarterfinals by veteran Doug Hanzel, the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, by a 5&4 margin.

Three other Iowans reached the match play segment of the championship. Reigning British Senior Amateur Champion and Walker Cup captain Mike McCoy of Des Moines registered another solid USGA showing by reaching the round of 16 in match play before being defeated by England’s Stephen Jensen 3&1. McCoy qualified for the match play segment (low 64 medal play) by firing a 78-71-149, then defeated Erik Hanson (22 holes) and Jeff Wilson (20 holes) in the rounds of 64 and 32 respectively.

Defending champion Gene Elliott of West Des Moines reached the round of 32 by shooting a 152 in the medal play qualifying and beating Tom Winegardner (1 up) in the first round. He was defeated by Stephen Jensen (1 up) in the second round. Elliott was competing for the first time in several weeks after being hampered with injuries for most of the 2022 season.

Recently crowned Iowa Senior Amateur champion Joe Palmer of Norwalk also reached the round of 32. Palmer qualified with a 152 then defeated Danny Nelson 3&2 in the round of 64. He was defeated by former PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour player Lee Porter 1 up in the second round of match play.

The final Iowan in the field, Curtis Holck of Ankeny shot a 79-80 in the medal portion of the championship but did not qualify for match play.

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