Month: July 2023

Parker claims 86th Iowa Masters by one

Waukee’s Griffin Parker (above left) opened with 65 and never looked back at the 86th Iowa Masters, hosted by Veenker Memorial Golf Course.

Parker, who made 16 birdies over the 54-hole event, led from start to finish, carding rounds of 65-70-72 for a one-shot victory over Ames’ Zach May. May, coming off of recent wins at the IGA Match Play and Carroll Amateur, closed with 67 in the final round to pull within one of Parker’s 207 (-9) total.

In the Senior Division, Jay Gregory (above middle) was a model of consistency as he outdistanced Joe Palmer by four shots to win. Gregory fired rounds of 69-70-70 for his 209 (-7) total.

Bob Brooks (above right) continued his winning ways in the Super Senior Division, winning by seven over Tom Schill. Brooks (-2) posted rounds of 70-69-75 for a 214 total.

Click here for full results

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – A Golf Life Well Lived

Bob Moreland poses in his den that features memorabilia of golf achievements and honors that stretches more than five decades.

Moreland Reflects on his Extraordinary Club Pro, Playing Career

Bob Moreland was predestined to become a golfer. But the retired, long-time Ottumwa Country Club professional admits fishing was his first love.

Growing up in Peoria, IL., Moreland would much rather hit the fishing hole than the golf course. It wasn’t until the age of 13 that his deep golf roots prevailed, when he replaced casting a reel with rifling a 5-iron.

“I actually didn’t start playing until the seventh grade and then really made up for lost time.  Day after day, Mom would drop me off at the course at 8:00 a.m. and come pick me up an hour after dark,” recalled Moreland, the well-decorated Iowa Section PGA golf professional and Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member, during a recent interview at his home in Ottumwa. “She would give me a dollar for the day for a hot dog and a Coke. We’d play 36 holes and then putt for dimes underneath the streetlight. On a good day, I’d return home with more than a buck.”

Moreland’s golf pedigree is extraordinary. His father, Gus Moreland was a world-class player in the 1930s. Competing as an amateur, Gus Moreland beat the likes of Ben Hogan in the Southwestern Amateur, Byron Nelson in the Glen Garden Invitational, Johnny Goodman in the Houston Invitational, Lawson Little in the Trans-Mississippi, and Francis Ouimet in an early round of the British Amateur. He played in the inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934 and was a two-time selection for The Walker Cup, where he never lost a match in singles or doubles competition.

“Dad and Ben Hogan were friends and competitors, he’s mentioned in the book Hogan, written by Curt Sampson,” said Moreland. I remember going to Shady Oaks Country Club in Dallas to watch Hogan hit 120-yard wedge shots on the range. He’d take aim at his caddie, who was armed with just a towel, and the caddie only had to move slightly in either direction to shag those balls.”

Gus Moreland eventually turned professional at the age of 53, taking a club job in Pampa, TX, and later in Peoria, IL., where Bob Moreland grew up and would eventually lead Richwoods High School to the Illinois state championship. That performance was a springboard to a successful golf career in its own right. Moreland moved to Texas right after high school in 1962 to seek his golf fortune, going to work at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas, site of Walter Hagen’s fifth and final PGA Championship.

“One day in 1963, the head pro said there’s this Mexican guy who can play a little bit, and you should meet him. He paired us together, and I found out rather quickly how well he could play. That guy was Lee Trevino,” Moreland said.

Moreland received a hand written note of congratulations from golf legend Lee Trevino upon his induction into the Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame. Moreland met Trevino in Dallas in 1963 and maintains a close friendship to this day.

Moreland and Trevino were frequent golf companions for the next few years until Trevino burst onto the PGA Tour scene in 1967 by finishing fifth in the U.S. Open at Baltusrol. He came back to Cedar Crest and told Moreland, “I can beat these guys.” A year later, Trevino won the first of his six major titles, the 1968 U.S. Open at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY. They remain good friends.

In 1968, Moreland played the PGA Tour. In those days, fewer players had exempt status, resulting in large Monday qualifiers where, in some weeks, 150 players teed it up for 30 openings in the field. “It wasn’t a very glamorous lifestyle for the also-rans,” Moreland remembers. “We traveled by car, stayed in cheap motels, and scraped by.” He stepped away from the tour and held club professional positions in Texas and at Sunset Hills Golf Course in Pekin, IL, until his life changed in 1976.

That’s when the Ottumwa Country Club came calling, and Moreland would spend the next 34 years serving the club with distinction, not only in club operations and starting one of the state’s most successful junior golf programs but also maintaining a high level of playing ability, competing in Iowa PGA Section and national events. For a remarkable 17 times, Moreland was named the Iowa Section PGA Player of the Year in three categories: five in the regular category, ten times as Senior Player of the Year, and twice as Super Senior. He won the 1981 Iowa Open and was a two-time Iowa Section PGA champion.

Byron Nelson also extended his personal congratulations to Moreland on his Iowa Golf Hall of Fame selection.

Strong performances in the annual PGA Club Pro Championship earned Moreland a spot in three PGA Championships: the 1977 event at Pebble Beach, the 1981 tournament at Atlanta Athletic Club, and the 1982 event at Southern Hills. He also qualified for and participated in the US Senior Open and several Senior PGA Championships. His extensive list of other golf achievements included playing several times in the former Quad Cities Open and making the cut in the 1973 Western Open in Chicago. In his prime, Moreland would play 18-20 section events annually. “In those days, club pros would play every Monday from the first of May until the end of September,” he recalled.

His playing accomplishments aside, Moreland is equally proud of the robust junior golf program he and his wife, Lynda, operated each year at Ottumwa Country Club. Between 85 and 120 boys and girls participated in a six-week program annually that featured instruction, rules and etiquette sessions, practice, and culminated with a tournament and awards banquet. Both the Ottumwa boys and girls high school golf teams would later capture multiple state championships populated with players from his program, and several would go on to become club professionals. His advice to young players today – “Get some good instruction, work on your short game, and leave the golf carts in the stall. Walking builds the endurance you need to become a good golfer. I see too many youngsters on carts.”

Among his other awards, Moreland was named the Iowa PGA Section’s Professional of the Year, Junior Golf Leader Award, and Merchandiser of the Year. The job of a club professional is demanding, juggling the daily tee sheet, running tournaments and leagues, conducting lessons, the pro shop, administration, and a multitude of other responsibilities. “I can honestly say that a day didn’t go by when I didn’t look forward to going to work,” Moreland said. “There were many long days during the golf season, which goes with the territory. It’s like joining the Mafia, you know exactly what you are getting into.”

Now 79 years old, Moreland looks back on his golf career with pride. “I’ve been so fortunate to work in a profession where you get to meet so many good people,” he said. “You can’t give up in the game of life or the game of golf. It’s a game you can play until they bury you.”

Bob Moreland’s father, Gus, (back row, center) is pictured with his 1934 Walker Cup teammates, including Lawson Little and Johnny Goodman and captained by Francis Ouimet. Gus Moreland also played in the 1934 Masters.

“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
McCoy, Norton Put Iowa Stamp on Florida Senior Golf

Bermel, May come out on top at IGA Match Play Championship

Experience was the key for Cedar Falls’ Hannah Bermel (right) at the 12th IGA Match Play Championship. She used that to come out on top with a 3 & 2 victory in the finals against Paige Hoffman, of West Des Moines. Bermel defeated Anna Jensen, of Dubuque, in the semifinals to set up the showdown with Hoffman.

“It’s nice having this whole course to ourselves,” Bermel said. “I was lucky enough to have Wednesday off (with a bye in the Round of 32) and practice in between stroke play qualifying and my match.

Bermel commented she enjoys match play and tries to keep a positive outlook throughout the round within that format. Bermel never trailed in the match against Hoffman, building a 3 up lead through 10 holes before ending the match on hole 16.

“It’s a different type of golf – match play,” Bermel said. “You have to have fun and try and make a few putts. Having the experience of playing here before and knowing the course helped a lot. That helped me out mostly.”

Now a two-time IGA Champion, as she won the 2019 IGA Four-Ball with sister Hailey, Bermel is looking forward to the Iowa Women’s Amateur in July at Iowa City’s Finkbine Golf Course

“I hope this win is a springboard for me,” Bermel said. “The goal is to make it three (career IGA championships) in July.”

Ames’ Zach May (right) made it look effortless for most of the time, but it was far from easy the Iowa State golfer said following his win in 21 holes over Ankeny’s Connor Peck to capture the 35th IGA Match Play Championship.

In fact, May, a recent winner at the 2023 Fort Dodge Amateur, never led the match before his putt dropped on the third playoff hole to win the match. Down two with four to play, May knew he needed to make a move and maybe take a chance. After nearly driving the 15th hole to set up a tap-in birdie, May was able to extend the match with a par on the 18th hole after both players found themselves just long of the left hole location.

“If you’re one down going into the last, you always have a chance and are in it,” May said after his win. “I had a lot of tough matches, some that went deep into the round, all week, I had to play out of my skin to beat these guys. I played well this week and I was happy with that.

May also credited his ability to get off to good starts around Talons Golf in Ankeny as a key to the week’s success.

“I thought I just tried to get off to a good start to each round,” May said. “I was able to play well all week and that was the key. I drove it well and had a lot of wedges around here. I gave myself plenty of looks at birdies. Some of the hole locations were good and you have to choose what ones you wanted to be aggressive at. You were rewarded with good shots, but penalized if you were off just a little bit. After my first look at it, during the qualifying round, I felt comfortable here.”

Maybe being conformable just makes it look easy – and that’s exactly what May did.

Scroll to top