Month: June 2023

Semifinals set at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play

There was no shortage of action on the third day of the IGA Match Play Championships. Despite another gloomy morning and weather delay, the skies cleared over Talons Golf (above) in Ankeny.

Since the beginning of match play, Algona’s Joshua Manske has consistently defeated higher seeded opponents. He continued his trend, winning over previous champion Joe Palmer (3&1), of Norwalk, and Marshalltown’s Kelly Brown (2&1), in order to earn a spot in tomorrow’s first semifinal match.

His opponent will not let him by easily. Ankeny’s Connor Peck, 2020 Match Play Champion, outlasted 5-seed Sioux City’s Samuel Storey in the Round of 16, winning after 19 holes. A strong showing against Clive’s Jake Weissenburger (4&3) netted Peck a tee time on the final day.

Still in the mix is defending champion Ankeny’s Nate McCoy. Despite a tight match against Waukee’s Chad Tracy (19 holes), McCoy defeated Waverly’s Hogan Hansen (3&1) to advance to the semifinals.

McCoy will play Ames’ Zach May (right) in an Iowa State vs. Iowa State face off. May, a rising sophomore from New Zealand, will challenge one of ISU’s all-time greats in what should be an exciting match. May proved his stamina after besting New Sharon’s Trent Lindenman (19 holes) and Decorah’s Jay Fjelstul (3&2).

On the women’s side, ‘old’ Pleasant Valley teammates Erika Holmberg and Maura Peters set aside their friendship as they faced each other in the Round of 16.

“We’re always pushing each other and supporting each other,” Holmberg said before the round, “but in a match format you’re really pulling for yourself to win. I think it will be an exciting day.”

It evidently was an exciting match as Holmberg pulled off a 2&1 win over Peters. But at the end of the day, the seedings held true as the 1 through 4 seeds advanced to the semifinals.

1-seed Marshalltown’s Amber Henson played true to expectations, beating Kelly Nelson (7&6) and Tatum Depuydt (4&3).

Henson will face 4-seed West Des Moines’ Paige Hoffman, who defeated Chase Doland (3&2) and Leanne Smith (4&3). After a slow start in the morning, Hoffman cleaned up her game and will be dangerous as she looks to forward her momentum come Friday.

2-seed Anna Jensen defeated young Natalie Henson (5&4) and veteran Fiona Watson (4&3) on her way to the semifinal match.

She will face 3-seed Hannah Bermel (right), also a University of Northern Iowa Panther, in another former-teammate duel. Bermel won over Taylor Sedivec in 19 holes and over Erika Holmberg 2&1.

Heading into the semifinals, defending champions Nate McCoy and Anna Jensen look to defend their titles, Connor Peck attempts to return to the winner’s circle, and new names will try to cement their place in IGA history. It’s every man and woman for themselves.

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Players battle wind, weather in opening rounds of IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play

And then there were sixteen… The opening round of matches of the 35th IGA Match Play Championship at Talons Golf, Ankeny, began in the dark under a thick haze. Gusty morning winds challenged play, bringing a lightning delay with it.

The day’s story belonged to the youth. Numerous high school, college, or recently graduated players populated the Round of 16, whose matches will be played tomorrow. The remaining spots belong to familiar veterans—Ankeny’s Nate McCoy, Ankeny’s Connor Peck, Norwalk’s Joe Palmer have all won this very championship before and will continue their pursuit of this year’s title.

In the 12th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship, held concurrently at Talons Golf, Kelly Nelson (above right), a previous champion, defeated Marley Richter 1-up in the first round of match play. Nelson will face 1-seed Amber Henson in the Round of 16.

Tatum Depuydt bested Kelly Grimes 5&3, Chase Doland beat Laura Leszczynski 1-up, Rosalie Kubesheski won over Geri Huser 3&2, and Natalie Henson beat Lindsay Burry 5&4. Tabitha Schumacher and Maura Peters both dominated their matches 7&6, beating Lisa Griswold and Julie Hartman, respectively. Taylor Sedivec outlasted Nicki Miller, winning on the nineteenth hole.

The rounds of 16 and 8 of the Match Play Championships will be contested tomorrow. Follow along on live scoring and on social media.

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Brackets set at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play Championship

The first round of the 35th IGA Match Play Championship—a hot but cloudy day at Talons Golf, Ankeny—whittled down 132 players to only 64 on Tuesday.

Webster City’s Avery Fuhs earned the 1-seed after a (-6) 66. With his defending champion status, Nate McCoy, of Ankeny, was automatically given the 2-seed. Nevertheless, McCoy finished T2 with (-5) 67 and earned his seed anyways. Fort Dodge’s Nico Booyens and Clive’s Jake Weissenburger joined McCoy at (-5) 67, and were given the 3- and 4-seed respectively following USGA tie breaking rules.

Of the 132 men, 37 finished even-par or better. Six edged their way into the first round of match play, tying at the (+3) 75 cut line. The 64 qualifiers will play tomorrow in the first round of match play.

In the 12th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship, held concurrently at Talons Golf, Marshalltown’s Amber Henson earned the 1-seed with an even par 73. Six birdies and a strong back nine helped even out a difficult front nine with the putter.

“It was good,” Henson said after the round.

Cedar Falls’ Hannah Bermel earned the second seed with a (+1) 74, and West Des Moines’ Paige Hoffman earned the 3-seed with a (+2) 75. 15 pars, a birdie, a bogey, and one double rounded out a steady round for Hoffman. She noted that the greens defended the course well with their speed.

The top eight seeds earned byes into the second round of match play to be contested on Thursday. The remaining sixteen women will compete in the first round of match play Wednesday.

Click here for IGA Match Play Championship

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May wins weather-shortened Fort Dodge Amateur

May, Davis, Brooks crowned in Sunday-only format after rain washes out opening round

Zach May (right) made the choice to stay in Iowa this summer instead of returning to his home country of New Zealand.For the soon-to-be Iowa State University sophomore golfer, that decision paid off in a big way here Sunday, as May was crowned the open division winner of the 75th annual Fort Dodge Amateur.

Thanks to a 33 on the front-nine at the Fort Dodge Country Club, May finished at 2-under to hold off a handful of the top amateurs in the state — including Zac Jenkins and Nate Juffer, who tied for second at even par.

Sean Davis repeated as the Senior Division winner with a 1-over 72, while Bob Brooks was crowned the Super Senior winner with a 1-under 70 round.

Click here to read more from coverage by the Fort Dodge Messenger

Blomme, Peters take home 2023 Iowa Junior Amateur titles

Bettendorf’s Maura Peters (above right) and Bettendorf’s Ethan Blomme (above left) took home the titles at the Iowa Junior Amateur  Championship contested at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls.

Peters (left), a future University of Iowa Hawkeye golfer, led the girl’s field from start to finish, carding rounds of 73-72-72 to total (+1) 217 and win by five strokes.

“I knew I had a little bit of wiggle room but at the same time I wanted to make sure I was still performing as well as I could,” Peters said. “I definitely think my putting was where I was able to save the most strokes.”

Great lag putting made for a ‘pretty stress-free’ round and Peters was able to keep the momentum rolling with key putts throughout the round.

Ames’ Eden Lohrbach finished runner-up in the girls’ division with (+6) 222, followed by Sumner’s Chloe Bolte with (+10) 226. Bolte’s even third-round 72 was key to moving up the leaderboard.

On the boy’s side, Blomme (right), who recently qualified for the USGA U.S. Junior Amateur, overcame a one-stroke deficit in his final round to win by two. With three under-par rounds of 69-67-69, Blomme finished at (-11) 205 despite back spasms which flared up on his final day.

Two Advils allowed Blomme to stay ‘in attack mode’. Blomme explained,

“Especially around the greens, I was just dying every single putt in the hole. Just no mistakes, no three putts,” he said.

A strong iron showing gave Blomme multiple tap-in birdies during his final round, helping him to secure his win.

Ankeny’s Drew Hensen finished second in the boys’ tournament with (-9) 207, followed by Gilman’s Cody Weaver at (-7) 209.

Did you know?
A lot of factors play into a round of golf, and not all of them have to do with hitting the ball. Peters is a strong supporter of Target fruit snacks, while Blomme listens to Drake and Stevie Wonder before his round to “take a little stress off.”

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Golf House Iowa receives $250,000 donation from Iowa PGA Section

When the Iowa PGA Section started discussions on a new three-, five- and 10-year strategic plan for the organization last December, Golf House Iowa came up.

“It became apparent that we needed to do something,” Executive Director Greg Mason said.

Those discussions included the Iowa PGA Section’s Board of Directors, the Iowa PGA Foundation’s Board of Directors and the organization’s past presidents.

Mason figured a $50,000 donation might be in the works, and maybe $100,000.

“But during those talks, a quarter of a million dollars came up,” said Mason, who has been the head of the state’s professional golfing body since 2017.

On Monday, Mason informed his members that the Iowa PGA Section would be donating $250,000 to Golf House Iowa. The donation includes naming rights to the building’s Hall of Fame meeting room.

“This is the right thing to do,” Mason said.

Golf House Iowa, currently under construction overlooking the 9th green of the Echo Valley Country Club’s Creek course in Norwalk, will be the home of the Iowa Golf Association, its programs, a museum and the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.

“This is recognition, from an organization like the Iowa PGA Section, of what Golf House is intending to do,” said Chad Pitts, CEO and Executive Director of the Iowa Golf Association. “They understand it in a way that they made a very significant donation. The size of their donation gave us a big jump in reaching our goals.”

The Iowa Golf Association Foundation is in the home stretch of a fundraising campaign for the new facility, scheduled to open next spring. Nearly 90 percent of the $5 million goal has been raised.

“The Iowa PGA Section and the Iowa Golf Association have some unified goals, and one of them is to make golf a better game,” Pitts said. “Better for our players, the PGA pros, golf course superintendents, everyone who works with the game. Together, it makes golf’s whole ecosystem better.”

Erin Strieck, president of the Iowa PGA Section and the Iowa PGA Foundation, said her organization is proud to be a part of the rich history of Iowa golf.

“This gift is a gesture of thanks to all who have come before us and those who will follow,” said Strieck, the head golf professional at the Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, Ill. “Golf House Iowa will highlight that history through the museum, the Golf Hall of Fame and all the programs that will help enrich the game over time. We are proud to be giving this gift on behalf of our Iowa PGA members and associates and those who serve this game in partnership with the Iowa Golf Association.”

Steve Jermier, president of the Iowa Golf Association and the Iowa Golf Association Foundation, said the Iowa PGA Section’s donation came at a perfect time from a fundraising standpoint.

“For the Iowa PGA to make a contribution of this size and magnitude at this point in the campaign is just huge,” Jermier said.

He added that while the game is bigger than any one organization, the Iowa PGA Section’s donation shows that all forces are unified in one common goal.

“I’ve talked to multiple club pros from across the state who are very excited about this project, and they recognize what it’s going to do for the game, how it’s going to help grow the game and preserve the game in our state,” Jermier said. “It’s testimony to how these organizations work together. And that’s a big deal. This vote of confidence from the section just means the world to us.”

The Iowa PGA Section has been part of the PGA of America since it was founded in 1916. In the original charter, Iowa joined other Midwestern states in the Plains Section. Iowa broke off into the Nebraska Section in 1925 and became the Iowa PGA Section in 1936. The Iowa PGA Section includes part of Western Illinois.

“Both organizations (Iowa PGA Section and Iowa Golf Association) want to grow the game in Iowa and Western Illinois,” Mason said. “We just feel when we’re together, it’s going to go better.”

Mason said the Iowa PGA Section’s gift to Golf House Iowa will come from investment accounts, and member dues will not increase. The gift will be paid in annual installments through 2026.

The Iowa PGA Section operates with a three-pronged mission statement – Mission, Vision and Values. Mission represents promoting and growing the game of golf. Vision is aimed at inspiring leadership, collaboration and innovation. Values covers philanthropic endeavors to give back to the community through the game of golf.

Mason remembers one strategic meeting when those values were being discussed. He said that Ken Schall, a four-time Iowa PGA Section champion and past president (2005-07), spoke up and linked those philanthropic efforts to discussions about donating to the Golf House Iowa project.

“He said, “What can be more philanthropic than this?’ ” Mason recalled.

Mason said the donation to Golf House Iowa is part of the organization’s big-picture scorecard.

“We have bigger plans,” Mason said. “We want to increase scholarships, things like that. But this is definitely a way to lay the groundwork.”

The donation will also help honor many great professionals, past and present. This October, the four-member Iowa Golf Hall of Fame induction class will include Kevin Beard, the head professional at Otter Creek in Ankeny from 1990-2017. Beard will become the 34th current or former Iowa PGA Section member to be inducted. Beard and this year’s other three inductees – Joe Palmer, Jim Curell and Doug Dunakey – will increase the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame to 96 members.

“We’re looking to the future but we’re also honoring our past,” Mason said.

Hensen continues to lead Iowa Junior, Peters grabs top spot in Girls’ Junior Amateur

Scores are in from the second round of the Iowa Junior Amateur Championship at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls – and there were some good ones being posted.

Ankeny’s Drew Hensen (left) remains the leader of the Boys Division at 9-under. Bettendorf’s Ethan Blomme has taken the second position all for himself at 8-under. Ankeny’s Jacob Eagan follows at 7-under. Ames’ Joey Currans and Gilman’s Cody Weaver are tied for fourth at 3-under apiece.

In the Girls Division, Bettendorf’s Maura Peters (right) keeps her lead at +1 with an even par second round. Ames’ Eden Lohrbach is in pursuit at +5, followed by Marion’s Morgan Rupp at +7. Sumner’s Chloe Bolte has moved into fourth place at +10.

Players have one more round on Wednesday to make their move and take home the Iowa Junior Amateur title. Click here to follow along with live scoring.

Hensen leads Iowa Junior, Peters and Lohrbach share top spot at Girls’ Junior

Scores are in from the opening round of the 2023 Iowa Junior Amateur Championship at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls. Ankeny’s Drew Hensen leads the Boys Division with a (-5) 67, but Cedar Rapid’s Caden Postma, Bettendorf’s Ethan Blomme, and Knoxville’s Evan Smith are only two strokes behind with rounds of (-3) 69. A total of 13 players are at par or better, including defending champion Indianola’s Preston Bily who carded a (-2) 70.

In the Iowa Girls’ Junior Amateur, Bettendorf’s Maura Peters leads alongside Ames’ Eden Lohrbach with rounds of (+1) 73. Peters scored three birdies and four bogeys in an up-and-down round, while Lohrbach managed fifteen pars on an uneventful scorecard. Abbie Lindeman, of Grundy Center, and Morgan Rupp, of Marion, are tied for third at (+4) 76.

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Champions crowned at 2023 Father-Son & Parent-Child Championship

There’s nothing quite like the Father-Son & Parent-Child tournament, hosted annually at Jester Park Golf Course in Granger. Urbandale’s Bo and Dewell Anderson topped the Father-Son Open Division with a 4-under 68. Luke and Monte Meyer, of Cedar Falls, and John and Tanner Dinnebier, of West Des Moines, tied for second with a pair of (-3) 69s.

Cedar Rapid’s Andy and Grayson Tiedt won the Father-Son Young Adult Division, despite Grayson being only ten years old. The pair fired a (+4) 76. Bo and Elijah Anderson (77) and Jameson and Sean Honts (78) rounded out the top three.

Bettendorf’s Ben and Maura Peters completed a three-peat, winning the Parent-Child Open Division again with a (-2) 70. Allison and Trace McArtor, Geri and Blake Huser, and Taylor and Mike Phillips tied for runner-up with (+3) 75s.

Kylynn and Ryan Bishop, of West Des Moines, won the Parent-Child Young Adult Division, shooting (+22) 94. Gianna and Nicol Jones followed with (+32) 104, and Michael and McKinley Billings finished third with (+42) 114.

Jester Park’s Par-Three Course saw familiar faces leading the Junior Divisions, but also some new ones. In the Father-Son 9 & 10 Division, Ottumwa’s Aaron and Beckham O’Brien won big with (+9) 63. The rest of the division tied, remarkably, at (+17) 71.

From West Des Moines, the Combs’ dominated the Father-Son 8 & Under. Carter and David placed first with (+8) 62, and Emmett and David placed second with (+11) 65.

Huxley’s Pat and Jordin Wynja defended their title in the Parent-Child 9 & 10 Division, carding a (+12) 66.

The Pettitt’s found success in the Parent-Child 8 & Under Division. Ben and Hayden Pettitt, of West Des Moines, won the division with a (+4) 8. Wade and Brooklyn Pettitt, of Waukee, finished runner-up with a (+13) 67.

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Henson / Heryford capture 13th IGA Women’s Four-Ball title

The side of Amber Henson, of Marshalltown, and Rylee Heryford, of Newton, (above) claimed victory at the 13th IGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship at Pinnacle Country Club, shooting (-2) 70 on both days to win by one stroke. The side of Erika Holmberg and Maura Peters, both from Bettendorf, and the side of Swisher’s Addison Berg and Cedar Rapid’s Jane Petersen tied for the runner-up position with totals of (-3) 141.

In the Senior Division, the team of Laura Leszczynski and Michelle Klein (right) ran away with the title, totaling a (-4) 142 and a 12-stroke victory over the next lowest team featuring Nicki Miller and Julie Hartman. Kelly Grimes and Sue Harmon rounded out the top of the leaderboard at (+3) 155. Adding to an already fantastic tournament, Harmon recorded her first ever hole-in-one during her final round on the par 3 second hole. A celebration for everyone!

This was the second IGA Championship held at Pinnacle Country Club, in Milan, IL, which is one of thirteen IGA member clubs in Illinois. They last held the IGA Club Team championship in 2010. Erin Strieck, Head PGA Professional at Pinnacle, is also the President of the Iowa PGA Section—and the section’s first ever female president.

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