Month: June 2023

Henson/Heryford, Holmberg/Peters Lead Open; Hartman/Miller Lead Senior

The opening round of the 13th IGA Women’s Four-Ball featured many of Iowa’s top players in early contention as the sides of Amber Henson & Rylee Heryford and Erika Holmberg & Maura Peters sit at the top firing an opening round 70. The duo of Henson and Heryford, fresh off their freshman season at Drake, played consistently, recording 13 pars and sprinkling in four birdies. Making back-to-back bogies on nine and ten, the two steadied the ship and played their final seven holes in two under par to work their way into tomorrow’s final pairing.

Tied with the Bulldogs, Holmberg and Peters got off to a quick start as Peters opened the round with birdies on the first two holes. Falling back with a bogey on the fourth, Holmberg birdied the sixth to help the duo turn in one under 35. As with Heryford and Henson, Holmberg and Peters made a late push, playing their final six holes in two under.

Rounding out the top three is defending champion Addison Berg (with Bella Pettersen) & Jane Peterson after firing  -1, 71.

In the Senior Division, Julie Hartman and Nicki Miller lead the way after firing -1, 72. Miller had it going early as she recorded four birdies on her opening nine to give them an early advantage over the field. A closing double bogey cut their lead to two over the side of Laura Leszyznski and Michelle Klein. Leszczynki and Klein opened with +1, 74 in a round that featured five birdies. Rounding out the top three is Cindy Morrison and Kathy Forture following their opening round 78.

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Kent, Blomme qualify for U.S. Junior at Ames Golf & CC

The U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier on June 12, at Ames Golf and Country Club ended in a three-way shootout for the two entries into the U.S. Junior Amateur. Noah Kent (right), of Naples, FL, and Ethan Blomme, of Bettendorf, qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur, to be contested July 24-29 at Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC.

Kent, Blomme, and Oak Grove’s Peyton Savageau all finished the single-round tournament 3-under, navigating heavy late-morning winds. The three way playoff began on hole 7, and University of Iowa commit Kent wasted no time. A strong drive and an approach to within a few feet gave Kent a tap-in birdie. With pars from Blomme and Savageau, Kent punched his golden ticket to the Junior Amateur. Blomme, a rising junior at Pleasant Valley High School, took home the second ticket after a par on the second playoff hole, #8.

Kent and Blomme (left), who both started the day on hole 10, capitalized on calmer first nine conditions. Kent scored birdies on 16, 17, and 18 and Blomme birdied 15, 16, 17, 18. After an unsatisfactory start, Blomme got his putter rolling.

“I made a really good 30-footer for par on #14 and then rolled four straight in,” Blomme said. “The back nine started playing really tough just with the wind. [. . .] Just grinded it out, you know, when I made a bogey I got it back with a birdie.”

Blomme knew he had to go low if he wanted a shot at qualifying, but believed the wind worked in his favor.

“Scores will be higher with this wind,” he said. “I feel like I’m a good wind player, being from Iowa, so the more and more it becomes windy I feel like the better shot I’ve got.”

Kent and Blomme look forward to one of junior golf’s biggest tournaments, where names like Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth have left their legacy.

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Peck wins 2023 Carroll Amateur by one

Defending champion Ankeny’s Connor Peck (right) finished victorious at the Carroll Amateur held at Carroll Country Club this past weekend — but it wasn’t easy. Windy conditions kept the leaderboard in constant motion throughout the 36 holes on Sunday, and it took the final hole to decide the order of the top-four finishers.

Peck, John Spellerberg, of Bellington, NE, and Ankeny’s Hunter Johnson, all in the final pairing, began their final hole of the tournament tied at 5-under. While Peck birdied to round out his winning (-6) 207 total, Spellerberg bogeyed and Johnson double-bogeyed to card totals of (-4) 209 and (-3) 210, respectively. Meanwhile, Cedar Fall’s Owen Sawyer, also in the final pairing, slid his way into a runner-up title with a birdie, finishing with (-5) 208. Spellerberg finished in third, Ankeny’s Nate McCoy finished in fourth after an impressive tournament-low 6-under final round, bouncing back with eight birdies from his +5 second eighteen, and Johnson finished in fifth.

While only the Open Division’s Championship Flight played 54 holes, the other divisions were also intense. In the Senior Division, Council Bluffs’ Sean Davis took home the title with a (E) 142, followed by Urbandale’s Ron Peterson (+1), Cedar Fall’s Mike Sawyer (+2), and Ankeny’s Bill Matzdorff (+2). A division-low first round (-2) 69 helped Davis secure his win.

Gowrie’s Tom Schill championed the Super Senior Division, starting the weekend off with a blistering (-6) 65. Des Moines’ Dave Gaer (+3) and West Des Moines’ Bob Brooks (+5), both with IGA wins under their belt this season, finished in second and in third, respectively, both unable to close the gulf between themselves and Schill from the first round.

Open Division flight winners included Des Moines’ Willis Gaer (+4), Solon’s Sam Zoske (+8), Winterset’s Chad Hein and Atlantic’s Jake Olson (tied at +17), and Spencer’s Kaden Miller (+23).

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Watson wins 60th Forever 39 Match Play Championship

From left – Erin Schaffer (First Flight Champion), Fiona Watson (Overall Champion), Kelly Nelson (Second Flight Champion) and Jan Sewright (Third Flight Champion).

Fiona Watson left little doubt in the 60th Women’s Forever 39 Match Play Championship hosted by Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk.

Watson (right), who earned medalist honors following a 33 (-3), made short work of #8 seed Janece Schwartzkopf in her opening round match of the Championship Flight, winning 4&3. Watson earned her way into the final match with a win over Robin Webb 3&2. Watson met Laura Leszczynski in the finals, who defeated Kelly Grimes (3&2) and Leanne Smith (3&2) in her route to the finals.

In the finals, Watson led from the word go and never looked back after winning two of the first three holes, leading to another 3&2 victory with the help of three birdies in eight holes.

Erin Schaffer defeated Kathy Fortune 2 up to win the First Flight and Kelly Nelson defeated Leighann Larocca 4&2 to take the Second Flight victory. Jan Sewright defeated Cindy Morrison 2 up in the final match of the Third Flight.

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Former Hawkeye Schaake punches ticket to 2023 U.S. Open

University of Iowa alumnus Alex Schaake qualified for the U.S. Open after a nerve wracking 8-hole playoff at the U.S. Open Final Qualifying at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ohio. Monday, coined “Golf’s Longest Day” by the USGA, featured numerous 36-hole Final Qualifiers around the country, where some of the best amateur and professional golfers looked to secure their spot in the U.S. Open to be held at Los Angeles Country Club later this summer.

Schaake (right), an Omaha, Nebraska native, had a prolific amateur and collegiate career. In high school Schaake was a two-time Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion, continuing in college to win four-straight Nebraska Amateur titles, and holds the second-most wins in Nebraska Golf Association tournaments ever. He was the only Hawkeye to be voted Big Ten Player of the Year twice, only Hawkeye to be all-conference all four years, holds the lowest season scoring average yet, and holds three of the top four lowest 54-hole totals in university history.

The road to the U.S. Open wasn’t easy for Schaake. Before yesterday’s 44-hole marathon, he scraped his way through local qualifiers by birdieing his final three holes last month at Omaha Country Club. A 2-under first round at Springfield Country Club kept Schaake in contention, but it was a stellar second round that propelled Schaake to his playoff berth. One eagle and five birdies, four of which in the back nine alone, rounded out a 5-under 65 and a three-way tie for fourth in the standings.

He joined Dylan Wu and The Ohio State University’s Maxwell Moldovan in search of one of the two remaining spots. Wu clinched the first spot after birdieing the first playoff hole, but the battle between Schaake and Moldovan was only beginning. Matching scores for seven holes, Schaake finally broke away with a short birdie putt on the eighth hole to Moldovan’s par. It was a joyous scene as Schaake celebrated, clearly elated, in the dying evening light.

Schaake has earned his place at the 123rd U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club (June 15-18) and the opportunity to compete with some of the best players in the world.

2023 Ann Griffel Scholars announced

The Iowa Golf Association (IGA) congratulates the 2023 recipients of the Ann Griffel (above right) Scholarship Award: Alexa Poppen, Emma Stock, Laura Klaessy, Maura Peters and Addison Berg. Each recipient will be awarded a one-year scholarship of $2,000. Since 1963, the Ann Griffel Scholarship Award has been helping students further their education. A total of 258 students have earned the honor of receiving this prestigious scholarship.

Alexa Poppen, of West Branch, is the daughter of Kami and Dave Poppen and plans to attend the University of Iowa to major in Management and Finance.

“I am grateful to have received this scholarship. I believe golf is a great way to connect with others and I look forward to playing the game for many years,” she said.


Emma Smock, of Oelwein, is the daughter of Todd and Deena Smock and will attend Wartburg College on the Pre-Physical Therapy track.

“I am very thankful and honored to receive this scholarship. The game of golf has taught me to be patient and relax in more than just golf but my everyday life in general. Having a few setbacks but finishing strong is another thing that golf has brought me. I have gained much knowledge and mental toughness for anything brought my way,” she said.


Laura Klaessy, of Grimes, is the daughter of John and Sara Klaessy and will study Elementary Education at Simpson College.

“Ann Griffel was an inspiration to many young women golfers, and it is a great honor for me to be a recipient of the Ann Griffel Scholarship. Golf has taught me to become mentally tough and become a student of the game and was an important part of my high school career. I look forward to continuing to play the game at Simpson College next fall,” she said.


Maura Peters, of Bettendorf, is the daughter of Benjamin and Jennifer Peters. She will be attending the University of Iowa to play on the women’s golf team and study biomedical engineering.

“I am so grateful to have been chosen as one of the 2023 Ann Griffel Scholarship recipients. The game of golf has helped mold me into the person I am today, teaching me all sorts of valuable lessons. I learned to problem solve, manage my emotions, be patient and most importantly, positive. I am so happy to have chosen a sport and hobby that has allowed me to form so many new relationships and friendships, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in this incredible game for the rest of my life,” she said.


Addison Berg, of Swisher, is the daughter of Aaron and Deana Berg. She will be attending the University of Northern Iowa with an undecided major at this time. She will also be a member of the golf team.

“Golf has been important to me from an early age. It has taught me so many important lessons such a as mental toughness. Golf is so unique because your always competing with yourself. You have to be able to put bad shots behind you, and you can’t play defense. You just have to go out and play the best you can every time,” she said.

The Ann Griffel Scholarship Award was established in 1963 as just one $350 scholarship awarded by the Iowa Women’s Golf Association (IWGA). The award has evolved into a $2,000 scholarship awarded to multiple high school senior girls who intend to further their education at an Iowa institution of higher learning, whether it be a college, university or trade school.

The Iowa Golf Association Foundation (IGAF) was established to preserve the game and develop more programs to promote the future of golf in Iowa. The IGAF awards the Ann Griffel Scholarship Award annually. This scholarship was named after the long-time IWGA President, Ann Griffel, who started the Girls’ State Junior, Forever 39 Match Play, State Wife-Husband and the Senior Women’s Championships in her 23-year term.

Anderson wins third career Southeast Iowa Amateur title

Johnston’s J.D. Anderson (right) won the neck-to-neck 2023 Southeast Iowa Amateur at The Preserve on Rathbun Lake in Moravia, feeding on a strong first round performance. Anderson withstood a strong challenge by West Des Moines’ Grant Smith, who carded the lowest final round score, to win by one.

Six birdies and only one bogey gave Anderson the solo lead heading into the final round at a 5-under 67. West Des Moines’ Gene Elliot and Minnetonka’s Conor Schubring also made the final pairing with a pair of first-round 68’s, but were unable to match their performance on Sunday.

In the end, the battle was between Anderson and Smith. Smith went on a roll early with four birdies in the first six holes, but ended up 1-over during the rest of his round. Anderson exchanged birdies and bogeys on his scorecard, ultimately finding a birdie on the final hole to clinch the win and avoid a playoff.

In the Senior Division, Tony Newkirk of Des Moines defended his tournament title, winning by one over Norwalk’s Terry Cook. Newkirk and Cook finished the weekend (-6) 138 and (-5) 139, respectively. Bob Brooks, of West Des Moines, continues his domination this season with his third straight win in the Super Senior Division, setting a new Super Senior tournament record with his (-10) 134. Brooks finished seven strokes ahead of runner-up David Studer, of West Des Moines. Defending champion Marshalltown’s Pat Ryan finished third, firing (-1) 143.

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Handful with Iowa ties chase 2023 U.S. Open today

The challenge of qualifying for the U.S. Open awaits several players as they compete in the final U.S. Open qualifying round. The players named below are attempting to qualify for the 123rd U.S. Open to be played at Los Angeles Country Club, June 15-18. Final qualifying results and links are listed below.

Lambton Golf & Country Club – Toronto, Ontario

Hillcrest Country Club – Los Angeles, Calif.

Pine Tree Golf Club – Boynton Beach, Fla.

Hawks Ridge Golf Club – Ball Ground, Ga.

Woodmont C.C. (North Course) – Rockville, Md.

Canoe Brook Country Club – Summit, N.J.
– Lucas Scherf, Drake University / Pleasant Hill

Lakes Golf & Country Club/Brookside Golf & C.C. – Columbus, Ohio
– Nick Voke – Iowa State University
– Zach Johnson – Cedar Rapids / Drake University

Springfield C.C. – Springfield, Ohio
– Mac McClear – University of Iowa
– Alex Schaake – University of Iowa
– Jack Dumas – Drake University / LeClaire
– Troy Merritt – Osage

Old Chatham Golf Club – Durham, N.C.

Tacoma Country & Golf Club – Lakewood, Wash.

NOTE – Clinton’s Josh Bousman participated in Final Qualfying at Northwood Club and Bent Tree Country Club – Dallas, Texas, on May 22nd and did not advance

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – McCoy, Norton Put Iowa Stamp on Florida Senior Golf

Mike McCoy (left) added to his extensive list of titles by capturing the 2022 Florida State Senior Amateur crown. He’s in contention to repeat in the weather-delayed 2023 championship. Tom Norton (right) survived a sudden-death playoff to win the 2023 Florida State Super Senior Championship contested this spring at the Country Club of Ocala.

Claim Senior, Super Senior Amateur Titles in Sunshine State

The most decorated amateur in Iowa golf history and a veteran senior player with vast experience in Iowa Golf Association and USGA events are collectively making a substantial impact on senior golf in the state of Florida. 

Mike McCoy (right), who later this year will captain the United States’ Walker Cup team in competition against Great Britain-Ireland at The Old Course in St. Andrews, has positioned himself high atop the leaderboards at recent Florida Senior Amateur and Florida Senior Open championships. 

McCoy captured the 61st Florida Senior Amateur title in April of 2022 by firing a 54-hole total of 212 for a two-shot victory in the championship contested at Avila Golf and Country Club in Tampa. Among those chasing McCoy was former NFL quarterback Vinny Testeverde, who tied for 15th with a 222 total. McCoy remains in the hunt to defend his title in 2023 after shooting an opening round 72, one shot out of the lead, during action played April 11 at the Lago Mar Country Club in Plantation, FL. Heavy rains washed out play and tournament officials have postponed the final two rounds until October. 

Most recently, McCoy notched a strong showing at the 46th Florida Senior Open Championship held May 1-3, 2023, at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, FL. In a strong field featuring senior professionals and top amateurs, McCoy fired a 54-hole total of 212 to tie for fourth place and just two shots back of the victor, Shannon Sykora. A balky putter amid difficult pin positions during the final round hampered McCoy’s championship bid. Sykora is a former Korn Ferry Tour player and current women’s golf coach at Florida Gulf Coast University. In 2022, McCoy shot a 215 total to tie for 11th at the Florida State Senior Open.

“Competing in Florida senior events has opened up a new avenue of competition for me,” said McCoy recently. “I always enjoy playing in a field made up of the best amateurs and professionals and that certainly is the case with senior golf in Florida. I am very proud of the Florida State Amateur victory and sank some big putts down the stretch. I look forward to competing in these events in the future.”

The 11-time IGA Player of the Year is now a resident of North Palm Beach, FL. McCoy is a veteran of 65 USGA championships, including a victory at the 2013 Mid-Amateur Championship, which punched his ticket to participate in the 2014 Masters. He added to a deep golf pedigree by winning the R&A Senior Amateur in 2022 at Royal Dornoch. He will captain the 10-member Walker Cup team to Scotland on September 2-3, 2023 at St. Andrews. 

Norton (right) captured the 2023 Florida State Golf Association’s Super Senior Championship in dramatic fashion. A Muscatine resident who spends the winter months in Reunion, FL., Norton fired rounds of 71-73-75 for a 219 total to tie Mike Barkley of Belleaire, FL. He then sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to capture the title, contested in late March at the Country Club of Ocala in Ocala, FL. Norton saw a four-shot lead evaporate during the final round, but hung on by parring the final eight holes in regulation to earn the playoff berth. “I kept myself in position and managed to avoid any big numbers, which is the key to being competitive in a 54-hole stroke play tournament,” said Norton. “I wound up making six birdies against nine bogies while maintaining a positive frame of mind throughout the event.”

A veteran contender in IGA senior events over the years, Norton captured his inaugural IGA championship last year by defeating Tom Schill in the finals of the Super Senior Match Play at Fort Dodge Country Club. He fell just short of defending his title by losing to Dave Gaer in the finals of this year’s match play event at Lake Panorama. 

Not bad for a one-time farmer who did not play college golf and was just a 12 handicapper through his 40’s until hip replacement surgery unlocked a dramatic improvement in his golf game. By the time he was eligible for the Senior Division, Norton was parring the golf course and ready for IGA and USGA competition. 

Norton is among a handful of Iowans who have competed in the US Senior Open Championship. In 2010, he captured the sectional qualifier with a round of 72 at Hunter’s Ridge in Marion to earn a slot in the 156-player field. He failed to qualify for the final two rounds in the event contested at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, WA. While not intimidated by the big stage, Norton kept his sense of humor. “I made a trip to Wal-Mart before the start of the opening round to buy a bunch of cheap golf gloves, figuring I’d be handing a bunch of them out to spectators after wayward tee shots,” he quipped. 

Norton advanced through the USGA Senior Amateur sectional qualifier in 2013 by firing a 71 at Brooks Golf Club in Okoboji. He shot a 151 to move to the round of 64 match play at the national level played at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, NC., where veteran USGA senior contestant George Zahringer of New York defeated him 3 & 2. He also has international experience, having competed in a pair of British Senior Amateur championships, including a tie for 30th performance in 2014 at the Ganton Golf Club.

“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
Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows
Kinney adjusts to life on tour
Standard Golf’s roots run deep
Pettersen sets sights high

Three P.J. Boatwright Interns begin summer at IGA, reflect on trip to USGA in New Jersey

From left – 2023 P.J. Boatwright Interns for the Iowa Golf Association Gavin Matthias, Derek Peng and Paige Hoffman.

The P.J. Boatwright internship has been an instrumental part of the Iowa Golf Association. All five staff members were once P.J. Boatwright interns, and interns are vital to the IGA’s services and championships. The IGA offers three internship positions: Marketing and Communication, Handicapping and Course Rating, and Championship Administration. In addition to their specific duties, interns gain experience in all aspects of golf administration, from answering the phone to starting pairings in tournaments.

Derek Peng is this year’s Marketing and Communication Intern. Studying Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Derek played golf and tennis at Ames High School. He’s an avid learner who enjoys photography and playing sports.

“I love golf, I love being creative, and I love being around people,” he explained, “At the IGA I can do what I love.”

Clint Brown, Director of Communications & Marketing at the IGA, commented he’s looking forward to the summer and working with the young Peng.

“I am excited to get started with the summer and hope to provide Derek with a well-rounded experience,” Brown said. “I was an intern with the IGA a long time ago (2003), so I know what it’s like to be in that situation. You want to learn but also put your skills to work. I look forward to not only mentoring Derek, but also learning from him on things he is great at. The key is having fun with the internship and I want Derek to look back on his experience favorably.”

Paige Hoffman, of West Des Moines, joins the team this summer as the Handicapping and Course Rating Intern. Well-known as a talented golfer, Paige plays collegiate golf at Northwest Missouri State University where she studies Data Science.

“I’m interested in pursuing a career in golf, and interning with the IGA is a first step in seeing what a career in golf may look like,” Paige said.

Nate McCoy, Director of Handicapping & Course Rating, is excited to have Paige on board.

“I’m looking forward to having another Course Rating partner and an extra hand to help with everything that we do day to day. On top of that, Paige is an extremely nice person and will be sure to brighten up our days.”

Our Championship Administration Intern, Gavin Matthias, recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management. This is his third year as an intern with the IGA, and he wants to fulfill a stronger leadership position among the interns with his additional experience. He hopes to begin a career in golf administration and looks to make more professional connections through his final stint as an intern.

“I’m excited to see Gavin take on more of a leadership role in his last year as an intern and fine tune his skills before entering his job search as he looks for a full-time position,” Karli Kerrigan, the Director of Competitions, said regarding Matthias

Interns participate in PJB Intern Summit

The P.J. Boatwright Intern Summit returned  to the USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 earlier in May. A 6:00 a.m. flight delivered our interns bright and early to the great Garden State.

After dinner with over ninety interns from Allied Golf Associations around the country, Gavin and Derek hit the hotel gym for a quick lift, and then the interns’ first evening wrapped up with some cards.

The following morning, USGA CEO Mike Whan shared his wisdom and experience. Over the next two days, interns attended seminars on subjects such as GHIN, handicapping and course rating, championship administration, rules, the Green Section, player relations, a new national development initiative,  and USGA history. Additionally, former P.J. Boatwright interns currently working with the USGA provided insight into careers in sports administration and business.

“It was cool learning the process of how rules are made and updated,” Gavin said, “I enjoyed seeing how the USGA works with the R&A along with representatives from all the other major golf bodies around the world.”

An etiquette lunch proved surprisingly amusing. Gavin demonstrated how to properly shake hands. Meanwhile, Derek and Paige dined beside Mike Whan, who was there for lunch and not the lesson.

Above all, interns had the opportunity to meet other interns. An evening at Topgolf, a friendly putting competition, and shared meals produced new connections every day.

“I enjoyed networking with other interns from around the country, especially finding a Midwestern community,” Paige recounted.

Gavin and Derek echoed her thoughts.

“Chatting with other interns, we learned of differences and similarities between our golf associations,” Derek said.

Gavin added that it was a unique opportunity to meet other interns, and much more enjoyable than the previous virtual summits.

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