Month: May 2024

Featuring 100 Women: Gone Too Soon

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Celia Barquin Arozamena

The following is an excerpt from Golden Harvest: Iowa’s Rich Golf History

Celia Barquin Arozamena was warming up for the final round of the 2018 Big 12 Conference women’s golf championship with a smile on her face. The late-April wind was blowing at better than 20 miles per hour at the Dallas Athletic Club. Celia was so excited that she got out her phone and texted her mom, MaA’ngeles Arozamena, back in Puente San Miguel, Spain.

“Mom,” she said. “It’s really windy. I’ve got this.”

Celia didn’t hit a long ball, but she was a low-ball hitter who loved playing in the wind.

“Her wind game was phenomenal,” Iowa State Coach Christie Martens said. “When she started a round and it was windy, she was so excited. She would always say, ‘Everyone else has already quit, guys, this is our day. Cyclonitas Day.’”

Celia started the final round two back, but fired a three-under 69 to win the elite championship by three shots. Martens, who has built a perennial NCAA program in Ames, always plays a strong schedule. So winning individual titles takes some doing. The Big 12 title was the first tournament victory of Arozamena’s career. Iowa State hadn’t had an individual women’s conference champion since Shelley Finnestad, who won the 1993 Big Eight Championship.

Mike Green, Iowa State’s director of athletic communications, was following Arozamena’s progress on line during that final round in Dallas.

“I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Holy cow, she’s going to win this thing,’” he said. “Everyone knew she was good enough to do it. But you’ve still got to do it.”

Green has interviewed countless Iowa State athletes over the years. The most enjoyable conversation of his career came when he talked to Celia right after her Big 12 triumph.

“She was ecstatic,” Green recalled. “That was like her ultimate goal. And she got it. She wanted to win a tournament so bad. Not for herself, but for Iowa State. This is what was so special about her.”

Five months later, it was Martens who had to phone Celia’s parents back in Spain with unspeakable news. Their daughter had been murdered while playing a round of golf at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, a senseless tragedy that brought a tidal wave of heartfelt and international support reaching as far as the Ryder Cup in France.

“It was really, really hard,” Martens said. “I recruited her in Spain. Everyone told her if you want to play college golf you had to go to the south. I met her and her mom when I watched her play in a tournament in France, and we just got along great. Her mom said, ‘I trust you, I want my daughter to go to Iowa State.’ It was very hard, but I guess the thing that meant the most to me is that she said Cel was happy every day that she was there. And even though this has happened, if we had to decide all over again we’d still send her to Iowa State.’ That meant a lot.”

Her Iowa State career ended at the NCAA Regionals, but Celia was just getting started. She qualified for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open in dramatic fashion. Playing a 36-hole qualifier in Stillwater, Minn., Celia appeared to shoot herself out of contention with an opening 78. She was so far back that Green didn’t bother to follow her progress in the second round. He had no clue what was going on until Iowa State assistant coach Sarah Butler texted him and said, “I think she has a chance to make it.”

Arozamena shot a second-round 66, including a back-nine 31, that got her in a two-player playoff for the final spot. After getting outdriven by 80 yards on the first extra hole, Celia hit a hybrid within inches of the cup and tapped in the winning birdie putt. Celia texted her close friend, M.J. Kamin. The message read, “I’m in.” It included a smiley face. She shot 76-75 in the Open at Shoal Creek and missed the cut by three shots, but the experience was invaluable.

Just the second Cyclone player to be named to the All-Big 12 first team on three occasions, the civil engineering major won the European Ladies Amateur Championship in Slovakia at the end of July. Celia finished at 16-under 272, which included a course-record 63 in the third round. Then she got past the first stage of qualifying for the LPGA Tour, and was preparing for the second stage in October when she lost her life. “I firmly believe she was going to get on the LPGA Tour,” Green said.

Iowa State was playing in a tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., and had the lead heading into the final round on Sept. 17, 2018. The last text Martens received from Celia, sent the morning of her death, included a screen shot of the standings along with these words: “Nice to see my Cyclonitas on top. Keep it up girls.” The Cyclones withdrew from the tournament after learning of Arozamena’s death, and the university sent a plane to fly them back to Ames to deal with the tragedy. The following day, ESPN, CBS, NBC and ABC all had reporters in Ames for what had became a national story. Martens spoke at an emotionally-charged news conference on September 18.

“I couldn’t have done what she did,” Green said. Martens talked about Celia’s competitive spirit, and about her love for Iowa State and her native country. “She was such a competitive person,” Martens said. “If she put her mind to something she was always going to accomplish it. The spotlight was on her because of her golf. But what makes it so hard and so special is who she was as a person and how much she meant to me personally, and to our program and everyone at Iowa State.”

Celia was to be honored as Iowa State’s female athlete of the year at halftime of the Cyclones’ football game on Sept. 22 at Jack Trice Stadium.

“When we told her she was going to be honored for being athlete of the year, she just started crying,” Martens said. “She said, ‘This is such an honor. I can’t believe I’m going to be on the field’.”

Fans wore yellow, her favorite color, to honor her. Yellow t-shirts were sold with proceeds going to a memorial fund in her name. Both Iowa State and Akron players wore CBA decals on their helmets. Iowa State’s band formed her initials during a halftime routine. Men’s and women’s professional golf tours and college tournaments honored Celia. A moment of silence was held in Puente San Miguel the day after her death. A campus vigil was held in Ames. Celia’s favorite professional golfer, Sergio Garcia, tweeted his condolences. He had also tweeted congratulations after she had won the Big 12 Championship.

“She loved Spain, and she loved Sergio,” Martens said.

Garcia and his European Ryder Cup teammates wore yellow ribbons in her honor the week of the competition in late September.

“The golfing family extends way beyond what we are trying to do this week,” European captain Thomas Bjorn said. “You know, those events in America with Celia being killed playing golf is something that hit everybody in the golf family, and obviously our two Spanish players (Garcia and Jon Rahm) very much. And we felt that after a conversation from Ryder Cup Europe with Celia’s mother, that we would honor her this week. That’s what we are doing, and it’s nothing about us, but it’s just more about the golfing family being touched by these things all over the world. She was such a great prospect for the game of golf, but also a wonderful person. And when you speak to Sergio and Jon about it, they couldn’t talk highly enough about her.”

American players also wore yellow ribbons during opening ceremonies, and during the week. Zach Johnson, a vice captain on the U.S. team, used three words to describe his feelings about the tragedy.

“I’m so gutted,” he said.

The golfing family Bjorn spoke of is a tight group.

“We were stunned and amazed at the support from everyone,” Green said. “And it was across the board. We were just honored and thrilled to know that people cared about her. And it was fitting, because she was a special person. It was really neat to see people honor her legacy.”

Celia Barquin Arozamena, just 22 years old when she died, left a remarkable legacy in a short time. “She was really at the pinnacle of her career,” Martens said. Celia grew up playing Abra de Pas, a municipal course in her home town of Puente San Miguel. In a fitting tribute, it has been renamed for her.

Next Week on Women’s Wednesday…

Ann Griffel left a lasting legacy both on and off the golf course. The winner of more than a dozen IWGA events, Griffel’s biggest impact has been helping the next generation with the Ann Griffel Scholarship.

Weissenburger shoots 3-under to win Lake Creek Amateur

Jake Weissenburger putts for birdie on No. 16 during final-round play on Sunday at the Lake Creek Amateur at BVU Lake Creek in Storm Lake. Weissenburger defended his title by shooting 69-72.

An opening day 69 provided just enough cushion for Jake Weissenburger to hold off challenger Nate McCoy while defending his title in the Lake Creek Amateur played over the Memorial Day weekend at Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek Country Club in Storm Lake.

Weissenburger, of Clive, battled windy conditions on Saturday in opening with a 3-under par 69, good for a two-shot lead over McCoy, of Ankeny, and West Des Moines resident Grant Smith. Storm Laker Aaron Clausen, who won the 2022 Lake Creek Amateur, sat in fourth place at 1-over par after the opening round.

“I kept the ball in play and my putter got hot on Saturday,” said Weissenburger, 20. The sophomore to-be at Drake University opened play on Sunday with a birdie on the par-5 No. 1. Following a bogey on No. 3, he sank a 20-foot eagle putt to go to 5-under par. A bogey on the ninth hole was offset with a birdie on No. 12. He would three-put a pair of par threes, Nos. 15 and 17, but retained a one-stroke advantage heading into the final hole.

“I had a pretty good idea where I was at, and I just kept trying to make good swings,” he said.

McCoy birdied 16, then got up-and-down on a short-side miss on the par 3 17th hole. With Weissenburger’s three-putt, he knew he had a chance.

But when Weissenburger’s approach came to rest 15 feet left of the pin on the final hole, McCoy knew he faced a must-make putt from the edge of the green. His attempt came up a couple of inches away.

“It started dying at the hole, but came up just a few inches short,” said McCoy, the 2023 Lake Creek Amateur runner-up and 3-time IGA Men’s Player of the Year. “I knew Jake wasn’t going to three-putt from where he was on the green.”

Smith and Clausen each carded 73s on the final day to capture third and fourth place, respectively. All told, 89 players from around the Midwest descended upon the layout deemed the Iowa Golf Association’s 18-Hole Course of the Year in 2021. The windy conditions gave way to sunshine and light breezes on Sunday. 

“It was great to play with those guys on Sunday, all of them great guys and competitors,” said Weissenburger. “The course was in great condition, although the wind made it challenging. The greens kept rolling very well.”

“As player, it’s hard to believe Lake Creek had any flooding this spring,” McCoy added. “The greens still rolled great.”

“It’s a tip of the cap to Grounds Crew Manager Keith Carter and his staff in readying the course while battling wet-weather conditions the last several weeks,” said David Boles, BVU Lake Creek General Manager and Golf Professional. “Players throughout the weekend commented on the great condition of the course. We are grateful that nearly 90 players in three divisions either visited the Lake Creek Am for the first time or returned to compete in this IGA points event. We’re also thankful for Chad Pitts, and the rest of the IGA staff for the work and support they offered in helping us host ‘The Am,’ a Lake Creek tradition dating back to 1973.”

In Senior Division play, Ankeny’s Bill Matzdorff edged Kirk Macumber, of Winterset, on the opening playoff hole for the title. Both men shot 72-71 on the weekend, good for a 1-under par total. Defending champion Bret Taylor, of Booneville, and Ron Peterson, of Urbandale, were one shot back at even par.

Joel Yunek, of Mason City, bettered defending champion Bob Brooks, of West Des Moines, in the Super Senior Division for those age 65 and up. Yunek and Brooks, the reigning IGA Super Senior Men’s Player of the Year, finished the two-day event at five-over, bettering Tom Schill, of Gowrie, and Jeff Opheim, of Austin, Texas, who took third and fourth place, respectively.

Click here for full results

Featuring 100 Women: The Iowa Girl

Four-time state champion, Jessie Sindlinger

Iowa’s Multi-State Champions Leave Lasting Legacy

Girls’ Golf has been a staple in Iowa since the mid-1950s and is recognized as one of the state’s oldest sanctioned sports for high school girls. Annually, girls’ golf has the highest number of participants per capita. It is no surprise that many have used their involvement as a springboard for future success. In the almost 70 years girls golf has been a part of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, hundreds of deserving champions have etched their names in history but just a few have captured multiple titles during their four years.

Jessie (Sindlinger) Schultz – Charles City

Jessie Sindlinger burst onto the Iowa golf scene in 2010 as a young freshman phenom for Charles City High School. Playing 3A golf had plenty of competition, but from 2010 until 2013, she was the player to beat. In the first 50 years of the championship’s history, just one player went undefeated at the state championship level. Sindlinger became the second at Ames Golf and Country Club that spring as she blitzed the field, capturing the title by eight strokes. With rain anticipated on day 2, Sidlinger made the most of the opening round eight under 65. While weather would ultimately shorten the event from 36 to 18 holes, Sindlinger admitted she was surprised with her opening round. Two years prior, the Charles City player had posted four under par 68 to mark the lowest championship round since 2005. Reflecting on her record-breaking 65 she said “I didn’t even know what I was at and I was just playing and counted them up at the end and was like ‘Wow, this is my best round ever’”. She joined Sharron Fladoos as the only other four-time medalist in state history in 2013. Sindlinger would later join Fladoos on another short list: a champion of both a high school state title and the Iowa Women’s Amateur.

Heading into her senior year on the University of Iowa Women’s Golf Team, Sindlinger was excited to see her home course of Finkbine play host to the 2016 Iowa Women’s Amateur. Her home course knowledge paid off as she captured the title convincingly by six strokes. Opening with the lone under-par round of the day, Sindlinger led by two over a pair of competitors including fellow Hawkeye Morgan Kukla. Stumbling with a second-round 75, Sindlinger returned to the championship form displayed in the first round as she posted just the second under-par round of the championship with a 71. “This was a good way to go out and play this well” she would later say. Her victory at the Iowa Women’s Amateur capped off the triple crown of Iowa titles having claimed two Junior Girls’ Amateurs.

Kendra (Hanson) Henningsen – Forest City

Kendra Hanson of Forest City High School found herself in contention every time she teed it up during her four years of high school golf. As a four-time 1st Team All-Conference and All-State honoree, it was no surprise to her fellow competitors when she captured the 2003 and 2004 High School Individual State title. Following her graduation in 2004, Hanson qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur to cap off her summer of stellar play.

As Hanson’s playing career developed, so did her skills around the green. After a lackluster 2006, she returned to the Iowa Women’s Amateur in 2007 with renewed excitement and a sharp short game. Her touch around the tricky greens at Spirit Hollow Golf Club paid off as she captured the Iowa Women’s Amateur by three shots. Hanson posted a pair of even-par 72s sandwiched around a one-over 73, to claim the title over Big 12 rival Abbi Sunner. The win allowed Hanson to join the exclusive group of Triple Crown holders in women’s golf history. Following a stint playing professionally, Hanson became a reinstated amateur and would later go on to be inducted to Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Victoria Grasso – Ankeny Christian Academy

Ankeny has long been known be a breeding ground for some of the state’s best players. With four courses within 5 miles and 3 within a half mile, it’s no surprise that many state champions called it home. In 2009, 2011, and 2012, it was home to Victoria Grasso as she claimed a trio of 1A individual state titles for Ankeny Christian Academy. Her lone season where she didn’t claim the title in 2010, she was the runner-up. Following ’09 and ’10 seasons, she was named the 1A Player of the Year. In 2012, Grasso’s final season proved to be her most dominant. She claimed the state title by 11 shots, further cementing her place in IGHSAU history.

Christi (Athas) Imsland – Eldora-New Providence

Christi Athas made her mark in high school golf at Eldora-New Providence (E-NP), where her talent shone brightly. She secured the overall state championship titles in 2001, 2002, and 2003, following a commendable third-place finish in Class 1A in 2000. Throughout her high school career, she earned the accolades of four-time all-conference, four-time district medalist, and three-time regional medalist. Notably, Athas holds an impressive array of records at E-NP, including the highest career medal count at 61 and the highest single-season medal count at 19.

Continuing to excel beyond the high school level, Athas qualified for prestigious events such as the USGA U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Publinks in both 2005 and 2006. Her high level of play was evident as she advanced through the first-round matches in both tournaments in 2005 and secured a commendable 17th place in the medal play at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Amateur. She also showcased her talent in two Women’s Trans National Championships in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, she secured back-to-back top three finishes at the 2005 and 2006 Iowa Women’s Amateur. Her efforts culminated in a 2009 induction to the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Athas continues to give back to the game by coaching high school boys golf at West Delaware and serving on many IGA committees.

Sarah Nacos – Washington High School

Sarah Nacos left her mark on Iowa high school girls’ golf. Of the four state tournaments Sarah played in, she won three of them in a commanding fashion. As a freshman, Sarah took home the 2015 Class 4A State Title at American Legion Golf Course, winning by seven strokes. As a sophomore, Sarah extended her winning margin by winning the title by nine strokes at Coldwater Golf Links. As a junior, Sarah left no question unanswered for who would win the individual title winning by an impressive 23 strokes at Elmwood Country Club. Although Nacos did not win State individually as a senior, she led her team to their third team title during her career in 2018 at Coldwater Golf Links with her sister, Anna Nacos. Nacos went on to play college golf at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. At Bradley, she accomplished the difficult task of studying biology while playing Division I college golf. Nacos was one of thirty MVC athletes recognized for their high character, community service, and good grades with the MVC Good Neighbor Award in 2021.

Annika (Patton) Powell – Alta-Aurelia

Annika (Patton) Powell of Aurelia, Iowa shows that golf in Iowa isn’t just important in the big cities. Patton had a notable junior career winning the Iowa Junior Girls’ Amateur back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. The title was not easy to claim in 2018 as the senior-to-be went into a play-off against Bailee Frayne. Patton was also a member of the Iowa team that competed in the Girls’ Four-State Championship in 2019 at Arbor Links in Nebraska City, which was the first year the event was played in a match-play format. The highlight of her junior career came in 2017 when she won the Class 2A Iowa High School State Golf Championship at Lake Panorama National Golf Course. After failing to defend her title in 2018, she came back in 2019 to capture the individual title by six shots at American Legion. Even more impressive than her margin of victory was her final round as she posted the lowest round of the event with an even-par 70.

While Annika was a strong junior player, she was recognized for her high character and community involvement with one of four Herman Sani Scholarships in 2019. The Sani Scholarship is the highest honor given to any junior golfer in Iowa and is an accomplished group of individuals. Annika continued to show her passion for Iowa golf by interning with the IGA in the summer of 2021. Annika continues to serve the game today in Iowa as she coaches the men’s and women’s golf teams at Buena Vista University with her husband Joe.

Chloe Bolte – Sumner-Fredericksburg

When she tees it up in the State Championship this year, Chloe Bolte will continue to chase history. The junior at Sumner-Fredericksburg has been the top player in 2A golf for during her freshman and sophomore years; it is for a good reason too. Coming into the 2022 IGHSAU State Tournament, Bolte had claimed three straight post-season medalist honors beginning with the North Iowa Conference League meet, then back-to-back victories at the sub-regional and regional sites. A first-round 75 found her trailing the overnight leader by three, but she had found a way to secure a spot in the final pairing of the day. After opening the final round with a front-nine score of 41, many thought her chances of capturing the state title had dwindled. Not Chloe, though. Closing with an impressive three-under-par 33, which included an eagle on the 17th, she worked her way into a playoff with Molly Fereday. A routine par on the first hole saw her capture her maiden state title, and put her in rarified air; the chance to join Sindlinger and Fladoos as a four-time individual state champion.

Returning in 2023, Bolte left little doubt and made the championship far less eventful as she posted back-to-back rounds in the 70s. Her first-round 75 was good for a four-shot lead overnight and once again a final group pairing. Posting a final round 77, Bolte further cemented herself in IGHSAU history.

Eden Lohrbach – Gilbert

Gilbert High School has produced two of the most dominant players in recent IGHSAU girl’s golf. First, it was Britta Snyder who claimed back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. While her quest for number three was derailed during the 2020 season, but the following season another Gilbert player would pick up right where Snyder left off. Making her debut at the 3A Iowa High School State Tournament, Eden Lohrbach opened with a round of 76, good enough for a slim lead over Kiki Bruner of Washington High School. Her lead would extend as the final round continued, thanks in part to an even-par effort through the first 17 holes. Closing with her lone bogey on the final nine, she posted 73 to claim a two-stroke victory in her first state tournament. Falling short in a playoff during her sophomore campaign, Lohrbach bounced back in 2023 in dominant fashion. Posting rounds of 70-73, the Gilbert junior was the lone 3A player to finish the championship under par. Even with bogeys on her final two holes, it would not matter as she wound up collecting a five-shot win over Rebecca DeLong of Clear Lake. Lohrbach will be knocking on the door of her third individual title when she tees it up at this year’s championship.

IGHSAU Multi-State Champions

Sharon Fladoos – 4
Jessie Sindlinger – 4
Jacque Fladoos – 3
M.C. Mullen – 3
Christi Athas – 3
Victoria Grasso – 3
Sarah McMichael – 3
Emily Snelling – 3
Samantha Knight – 3
Sarah Nacos – 3
Andy Cohn – 2
Sue Harmon – 2
Barb Thomas – 2
Heather Deke – 2
Kylie Dirks – 2
Kenda Hanson – 2
Katie Purcell – 2
Paige VanDyk – 2
Susan Kirschenman – 2
Annika Patton – 2
Britta Snyder – 2
Eden Lohrbach – 2
Chloe Bolte – 2

Next Week on Women’s Wednesday…

Honoring the life and legacy of Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Hoyle charges, wins 39th Iowa Mid-Amateur at Bos Landen GC

With a final round charge, Charlie Hoyle (right) won the 39th Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship hosted by Bos Landen Golf Course in Pella. A closing 68 (-4) from Hoyle was enough for a one-shot victory over Nate McCoy. Hoyle admitted coming down the stretch it was anything for a walk in the park.

“There is no let up on the back nine once you get passed #13,” Hoyle said. “After that you really have to have control of your golf ball off the tee and into greens. Even once you get on the green, the job isn’t done. I made a nice par save on 16 and then made two good pars (on 17-18).”

Hoyle, who made six birdies in the final round, said he didn’t really look at the leaderboard at all throughout the day and honestly didn’t know where he stood until finishing his round.

“I didn’t look (at scores),” Hoyle said. “I am going to the same shots regardless. I thought -6 total would win it, the weather looked good. The first two rounds I putted pretty terribly, but my ball striking was solid all three days. I made a couple putts today and that was the difference. If you can make pars coming down the stretch here, you’re doing pretty well.”

Hoyle, who won the 2024 Iowa Amateur at Glen Oaks Country Club, hopes to keep his winning ways up as much as he is able to this summer.

“After winning the Iowa Amateur (last year), it got the competitive juices going again,” Hoyle said. “Getting the win (here) is awesome. To win it is an honor.”

Jon Olson, who got off to a hot start in the final round with an opening nine 31, shared third place with J.D. Anderson at -3 for the event. Trent Lindenman rounded out the top five at -2.

In the Senior Division, Jon Brown left no doubt – winning by nine shots over Terry Cook. Brown posted a 215 (-1) total for the event.

Dave Waugh captured the Super Senior Division crown with a 226 (+10) total, good enough got a two-shot advantage over Dave Baer.

Click here for complete results

McCoy take two shot lead into final round of 39th Iowa Mid-Amateur

More of the same.

Nate McCoy (-5), following an opening round 68, followed up with a steady 71 on Thursday, to take a two shot advantage into the final round of the 39th Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship hosted by Bos Landen Golf Course in Pella.

J.D. Anderson and Trent Lindenman both find themselves chasing McCoy at -3 through two rounds of play. Many players found the course holding its own all day on Thursday, including McCoy (pictured above).

“I felt the course played a little tougher today,” McCoy admitted after his round. “I three putted a couple times which also didn’t help. I am just going to try to keep hitting it in the fairway (tomorrow) and on the greens and see what happens. We have had a lovely week to play that’s for sure.”

Jon Brown leads by six shots in the Senior Division, following a crafty 70 (-2) in the second round. Brown’s round include four birdies, on a day when they were hard to come by for the field.

In the Super Senior Division Dave Gaer and Dave Waugh remain tied for the lead at 152 (+8) through two rounds. Keith Levi trails Gaer and Waugh by only two and will look to make a charge on Friday.

Click here for full results

Featuring 100 Women: Roots of Greatness

Ruby & Joy Chou, 2022

Sibling Rivalries and Family Legacies Elevate Iowa’s Golf Championships

In the heartland of Iowa, amidst the gentle rolling greens and under the expansive skies, a tradition of excellence in golf has been cultivated, passed down from mothers to daughters, and among siblings bonded by both blood and a shared love for the game. Within the annals of Iowa’s golfing history, tales abound of familial bonds intertwining with the pursuit of victory on the fairways and greens of the state’s esteemed tournaments. From the Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship to other prestigious golfing events, the echoes of success resonate not only with individual triumphs but also with the collective achievements of mothers, daughters, and siblings who have left an unforgettable mark on the Iowa golfing landscape.

Cedar Falls is home to many of the state’s best golfers, and quite possibly the best collective family of golfers in the Bermels. The Bermels have called Cedar Falls home for more than 30 years and have raised five children immersed in golf. Twins Hailey and Hannah had plenty of competition at home with an older brother, Jacob, and sister, Abby, and younger brother, Ben. All five of the Bermel children played collegiate golf at the University of Northern Iowa and were coached by their father and PGA Professional, John. This upbringing shaped each into the fierce competitors they are today.

Hannah and her twin sister Hailey led Cedar Falls High School to two Class 5A State Titles during their high school careers. Additionally, Hannah placed second at State individually in 2016. While playing collegiately at UNI, she had several top-ten finishes along with two tournament wins. She also won four consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete honors and four First Team MVC All-Conference honors. Given the depth of talent in the MVC, these accolades were not easy to come by.

When looking at the leaderboard for an IGA Women’s Championship, one is almost always going to see Hannah near the top. Over the last six Iowa Women’s Amateurs, Bermel has placed in the top ten four times. Hannah has come out on top at two IGA Championships over her career – the 2019 Women’s Four-Ball at Pheasant Ridge (with sister Hailey) and the 2023 Women’s Match Play at Talons Golf. As she goes further into her golf career, don’t be surprised see her name in contention each week.

Lisa (Horton) Snyder had her fair share of run-ins at the Iowa Women’s Amateur, but none more notable than the 1995 championship. Leading by two through 36 holes, Horton quickly found herself joined at the top after just the first hole. After a back-and-forth battle to the end, Horton remained in a tie for the lead as the trio turned to the back nine at Sunnyside Country Club. A couple of late stumbles ended her chances at lifting the Fladoos trophy, but her family legacy at the top women’s event Iowa has to offer, wasn’t over yet.

In 2017, Snyder watched in awe as her then 15-year-old daughter Britta did what she came so close to doing. In a field full of the state’s top female amateurs, the high school freshman made Hyperion Field Club bow down to her length off the tee and pinpoint accuracy from the fairway as she ran away with the title. The Horton legacy finally etched its way onto the Fladoos trophy after all. Even if it does say Snyder.

In the early 1990’s, more than 30 years after the Fladoos sisters left their mark on the IowaWomen’s Amateur, a new set of sisters set out to leave their mark. Lia and Becky Biehl of Keokuk took charge of the event from 1990 through 1993 as they combined to win three titles. Kicking off the incredible stretch for the Biehl’s was Lia as she captured the 1990 Iowa Women’s Amateur at Clinton Country Club with a blistering 12-under-par 54-hole total. Her second round 69 was highlighted by eight birdies which included six straight, and two chip-ins. At the time, she commented, “It was outrageous. You don’t expect to chip in twice during the same round”.

Her confidence in putting together three good rounds that week in Clinton stay

ed with her, and she rode the momentum into the 1991 Iowa Women’s Amateur at Beaver Hills Country Club. With all eyes on the defending champion, masking her nerves was the toughest task she faced all week.Leading by three with a trio of holes remaining in the final round, Biehl bogey

ed the 16th bringing her closest competitor, Edith Dekock, within striking distance. After Biehl tapped in for a bogey four on the par three 17th, the only thing standing between Dekock and a one-stroke deficit was a two-foot par putt. The slick side hill putt missed on the low side and Biehl, admittedly, let out a brief sigh of relief. “How could I not be relieved?” Biehl stated after the round. Pouring in a five-foot par putt on the 18th was the last thing Biehl needed to do to secure her

second straight Iowa Women’s Amateur. Having settled her nerves at the right time, Biehl did just that, and once again left the rest of the field looking up wondering what could have been.

Becky Biehl watched on as her sister Lia won back-to-back Iowa Women’s Amateur championships. Before the 1993 Iowa Women’s Amateur, only one set of sisters, Sharon and Jacque, had ever been victorious. But following three days at Oneota Country Club in July of that year, the list grew to two. Precision off the tee and an impressive short game paid off for Biehl a

s she left little doubt that she was the best female player in the state that week. Opening the championship with a round of 73, she led by one. Posting her second-straight 73, she led by three. By the time she put the finishing touches on her final round 77, her lead had ballooned to eight.

A testy opening nine 40 left Biehl wondering if she was letting everyone back into the championship. Early bogeys and wayward putts left her feeling uneasy as she made the turn, but after draining a five-footer for par on the 13th, her confidence slowly came back. Playing her final six holes in one-under didn’t hurt either.  Lapping the field by eight strokes, it was the largest margin of victory in the championship since Barb Thomas won it in 1982 by 14.

The Chou sisters came to the United States in search of taking their games to the next level. Honing their skills at Iowa State, both quickly made their presence known at the Iowa Women’s Amateur. Joy, the older of the two, was destined for greatness at the Iowa Women’s Amateur. In her first appearance at the state’s most prestigious event, she finished in a tie for second. The following year, in 2020, she captured the Fladoos trophy dramatically with a birdie on the 54th hole to secure a one-stroke victory over little sister Ruby. Three months of quarantine had Chou itching to get back to competitive golf leading up to the championship. Trying to get back on track and have fun paid off for the elder Chou as she closed with one-under 70 for her lowest round of the week. Taking control of the championship at the mid-way point of the final round, it looked like she would cruise to the 18th to capture the title. A double-bogey on the 10th brought Ruby back into the mix but not for long. Stringing together seven straight pars, Chou steadied the ship en route to her first of two Iowa Women’s Amateur titles.

Returning in 2021, Chou left little doubt that she was the best player in the state. Returning to the historic Dubuque Golf and Country Club, she cruised to a nine-stroke victory in the star-studded field. Posting 75-73 to open the event, she entered the final round with a two-stroke lead. Finding her groove on the back-nine, she watched as her lead swelled to nine and she quickly left the field struggling to close the gap. In capturing her second straight victory, she joined the short list of successful title defenses in Iowa Women’s Amateur history. Chou turned pro the following year, and in 2023, made history as she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach. Though she would go on to miss the cut, she joined the exclusive club of Iowans to tee it up at an LPGA Major Championship.

Living up to your family name can be a big ask. Especially when your older sister captures the Fladoos Family Trophy in consecutive years. To Ruby Chou, however, it was just another tournament on her schedule that she wanted to capture. Ruby started her impressive postseason run in 2022 with a top-20 finish at the Big 12 Conference Championship. Her run continued as she made Iowa State Women’s Golf history by posting the lowest 54-hole score in an NCAA Regional by a Cyclone. Ruby shot 211 for the three days, highlighted by a Cyclone all-time Regional low round of 68 on day one. Her stellar play earned her low-individual honors at the NCAA Stanford Regionals which included a spot at the 2022 NCAA Division I National Championship.

Chou rode the early spring momentum into the summer, winning the 98th Iowa Women’s Amateur at Cedar Rapids Country Club by two strokes over Iowa State teammate, Warda Amira. Cedar Rapids Country Club proved to be a difficult test for the field, but her positive outlook helped her handle it with ease. Her Iowa Women’s Amateur win kept the Fladoos Trophy with the Chou family. It marked the first time in tournament history that sisters captured the event title for three consecutive years. They also joined the Fladoos’ and Biehl’s as the only sisters to capture the elusive championship. Joy’s experience helped Ruby earn the title as the elder delivered pep talks over the phone each night of the tournament. Although Joy told Ruby she would not be able to make it to the tournament at all, a surprise visit on the final green made Ruby’s victory even more special. All of Ruby’s accomplishments in 2022 culminated with her securing the title of IGA Women’s Player of the Year.

Ottumwa has a storied background of raising some of Iowa’s top golfers. It was home to six-time Iowa Women’s Amateur Champion Corkey Nydle. It was also home to the Paulson twins Kristin and Sarah. The duo, who were largely self-taught, admit that Ottumwa Country Club served as a babysitter growing up. It paid off for the pair as they each went on to play golf at the collegiate level. With both opting to stay in state for college, they went their separate ways as Kristin enrolled at Iowa State and Sarah at Central.

Kristin more than left her mark on the Iowa Women’s Amateur. A two-time champion, sheset records that may never be broken during her 2011 victory at Sunnyside Country Club. But before she could claim her second, she had to secure her first. In 2010, Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City played host as the top females in the state teed it up. Even in the town of the Hawkeyes, Paulson felt right at home in her cardinal and gold. Opening the championship with a four-over-par 76, Paulson bounced back with a one-

under-par 71 in the second round to keep herself within striking distance. Trailing 36-hole leader Rachel Hanigan by two, Paulson opened the final round with back-to-back birdies to assume control of the lead. Another birdie on the front helped offset her lone bogey helping Paulson turn in two under, holding a four-shot lead over her playing partners. Coasting through the back nine in what felt like a formality, sealed the deal for Paulson. Her triumph at Finkbine completed the rare Iowa triple crown: a high school state title, the Iowa Junior Girls’ title, and the Iowa Women’s Amateur title.

Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo has often played favorites to the defending champion. 2011 was no different when Kristin Paulson began her title defense on the par-71 layout. Opening with two-under, 69, Paulson trailed first-round leader Lisa Meshke by one. Round two, however, was a different story. Paulson turned the country club into her personal playground, splitting fairways, firing at pins, and playing with not a care in the world. By the time it was all said and done, she set the 18-hole Iowa Women’s Amateur record with a nine-under-par 63. Her one-shot deficit was flipped on its head, and molded into a ten-shot lead with one round remaining. Closing with her worst round of the tournament, one-under-par 70, Paulson never relinquished double-digit lead. Her 54-hole total of 14-under-par, 202 broke the previous record of 207 set in 2004 by Jennie Arseneault. It still holds to this day.

Des Moines Golf & Country Club opened its gates in 1994 to the Iowa Women’s Amateur. With one of the state’s best venues on display, it was shaping up to the quite the championship. Ames’ Paige Hoefle had just completed her final year at the University of Alabama and the previous summer watched as her brother Bill captured the Iowa Amateur in a rained-shortened championship at Beaver Hills. Unlike Bill, it would take three rounds for Paige to be named the Iowa Women’s Amateur champion. Opening with the only under-par round of the day, Hoefle led by six. Her lead held steady after a second-round 75 and it looked like it was all but over. Early in the final round, her lead had dwindled to four.

A momentous bogey on the par-four seventh was all it would take for her to calm her nerves. “Before I started today, I told myself I could afford to make a couple bogeys” Hoefle later said. She was right. A birdie at the eighth grew the lead to five and she never looked back. Completing the wire-to-wire victory with a closing 76, she and Bill made history as the first brother-sister duo to capture both the Iowa Amateur and Iowa Women’s Amateur.

Next Week on Women’s Wednesday…

High school golf is where most players get their start. Explore some of the state’s most dominant high school players just in time for the 2024 IGHSAU Championships tee off.

McCoy opens with 68, leads 39th Iowa Mid-Amateur

Nate McCoy (above), winner of the 2022 Iowa Mid-Amateur, opened with a nearly flawless round of 68 (-4), to lead the 39th edition of the event at Bos Landen Golf Course in Pella.

Five birdies against a lone bogey gives McCoy a one-stroke lead heading into the second round over Trent Lindenman. J.D. Anderson sits just two back of the lead, while Dennis Bull and Scott Hart posted rounds of 71 (-1) and are just three off the pace.

“I had a swing lesson last week, and it paid off,” McCoy said. “I felt I had a lot of control over the ball and gave myself a lot of looks. The conditions for scoring were good, so I knew I had to take advantage.”

McCoy knows all too well that there is a lot of golf left to be played in Pella and no shortage of good players looking to chase him down.

“I’m looking forward to playing two more rounds,” McCoy said with a smile. “There are a lot of good players in the mix, so it will be a lot of fun.”

In the Senior Division, Bill Matzdorff (-2) leads by two over Jon Brown, while Dave Waugh and Dave Gaer lead the Super Senior Division following opening rounds of 73 (+1).

Click here for full results

Featuring 100 Women: Forging Champions

Former Iowa State women’s golf coach, Joan Gearhart

The Masters Behind Iowa’s High School and College Golf Success

In the verdant fields and sprawling campuses of Iowa, where the heartbeat of golf echoes across meticulously manicured greens, a cadre of dedicated mentors shape the next generation of golfing talent. From the windswept fairways of high school courses to the storied collegiate arenas, these coaches stand as beacons of inspiration and knowledge, molding raw potential into polished proficiency. With a keen eye for technique and a passion for the game that borders on reverence, they guide their charges toward excellence, instilling not just skill, but also discipline, sportsmanship, and a profound love for the sport. In the heartland of America, the realm of Iowa golf, these mentors are the architects of dreams and the stewards of tradition.

Tess Balsley – Veenker Memorial Golf Course

Tess Balsley (second from left)

Tess Balsley has long been known at Veenker Memorial Golf Course and the Iowa Masters Tournament. She first got her start at the Ames course in 1985 when she was a sophomore at Iowa State. Just four years later, Balsley was hired on full-time as the Club House Manager where she has remained for more than 25 years. Her duties range from league manager of over 140 participants, to registering players for the various events they host, and tournament prep. In addition to other normal administrative duties for the course, perhaps her most notable role is as the point of contact for the Iowa Masters Tournament held each July. The event continues to be a long-standing tradition on the Iowa Golf calendar and draws field sizes of more than 150 players.

Balsley’s efforts on a day-to-day basis are seen and appreciated by all those who tee it up. Hosting multiple high school, Iowa Section PGA, and IGA events annually, she has become a household name for those working in the industry. Her efforts have also seen her garner the Iowa Golf Association Club Manager of the Year award in 2005.

Sarah Bidney – Hyperion Field Club

Sarah Bidney, teaching pro at Hyperion Field Club, stands as one of Iowa’s premier golf instructors, boasting numerous accolades including three-time Iowa PGA Section Teacher of the Year and two-time Golf Digest Top Five “Best in State Instructor” for Iowa. Her teaching philosophy prioritizes individualized approaches over generic methods, aiming to unlock each golfer’s best swing. Notably, Bidney’s expertise extends to junior golf, where she excels through the Operation 36 program, renowned for its engaging curriculum blending games and creative swing techniques.

Operation 36 challenges kids to progressively shoot 36 for nine holes from various distances, fostering sustained interest and skill development. Bidney’s dedication to junior golf has earned her national recognition as an Operation 36 Master Top 50 Coach and three-time recipient of the Iowa PGA Section’s Youth Player Development Award. Beyond her accolades, Bidney’s genuine passion for the sport shines through, fueled by her own love for golf since high school. Despite her busy schedule, she remains committed to sharing the joy of golf with as many young players as possible, ensuring a bright future for golf in Iowa under her guidance.

Kelley Brooke – Bethpage Black

Hailing from Bettendorf, Kelley Brooke has made a profound impact on the golf industry over the past four decades, excelling as a player, instructor, and businesswoman. Getting her start in Iowa, she captured the 1985 Iowa Girls’ Junior Amateur before later attending the University of Iowa on what was the first-ever athletic scholarship for women’s golf. Her extensive professional career includes teaching over 50,000 golf lessons, owning golf venues, and receiving prestigious accolades such as the LPGA Professional of the Year Award in 2018. In New York City, Brooke has been instrumental in revolutionizing golf and recreation, establishing numerous instructional programs, including the largest junior golf program for children with disabilities and the Police Athletic League Golf Program for economically disadvantaged youth.

Operating three golf centers and managing renowned courses like Bethpage Black and Montauk Downs Golf Course, Brooke has contributed to putting clubs in the hands of those who might never have thought to play. Beyond her on-course endeavors, she has authored instructional books and articles for esteemed publications, showcasing her expertise and passion for the sport. Brooke’s media presence extends to television appearances, radio hosting, and guest spots on prominent shows and podcasts, amplifying her influence and reach within the golf community. As a lead instructor for NBC/Golf Channel, she shared her wealth of knowledge with audiences worldwide, further solidifying her status as a respected figure in the industry. Additionally, Brooke continues to compete on the Legends of the LPGA Tour, demonstrating her continuing commitment to the game she loves.

Lori Gaffney-Burmeister – Willow Creek Golf Club

Lori Gaffney-Burmeister, renowned as an upbeat and passionate golf instructor, first honed her skills as a high-level player, notably contributing to Valley High School’s championship victories. Her journey in golf began with fond memories of high school and junior golf in Iowa, marked by a memorable hole-in-one during the 1983 Iowa Women’s Amateur. Venturing beyond Iowa for college, Lori excelled at the University of Georgia, contributing to an SEC Championship team and further refining her game. Transitioning briefly to professional play on tours like the Futures Tour, Lori ultimately discovered her true passion in teaching.

Joining the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division, Lori embarked on a successful teaching career, spanning various resorts across the country with the John Jacob Golf Schools. Returning to her roots in Iowa, she spent 27 years at the Longview Golf Dome before moving to Glen Oaks Country Club and now Willow Creek Golf Course in Des Moines. Throughout her career, Lori’s teaching style has earned her accolades, including recognition as one of Golf Digest’s top five teachers in Iowa in 2019. With a knack for making golf enjoyable for students of all ages, Lori’s positive impact resonates in Iowa’s golfing community, contributing to the game’s growth and enjoyment.

Joan Gearhart – Iowa State University

Joan Gearhart, a trailblazer in women’s golf, was recently inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame for her pioneering coaching career. As head coach of the first ever women’s golf teams in Iowa State’s history, she led the team to three AIAW National Tournament appearances. Gearhart’s dedication and achievements have earned her much recognition, marking a highlight in her lifelong commitment to the sport.

Gearhart’s journey in golf began unexpectedly during high school, leading to a passion that shaped her life. From coaching at Iowa State to becoming one of the 40 Master Life teaching professionals in the LPGA, she has left an unforgettable mark in golf. Despite challenges such as funding shortages and inventive solutions like homemade direction devices, Gearhart’s love for golf has remained unwavering. Today, she continues to share her expertise, particularly with women eager to embrace the game, enriching lives and fostering a love for golf at the Alamo Country Club in Alamo, Texas.

Michelle Klein – Jesup High School

Michelle Klein epitomizes kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity, and has left an indelible mark on the Iowa golf community over the past decade. Her dedication to women’s golf in the state is unparalleled, notably as co-captain of the Iowa Junior Girls’ Four-State Team for six years, where she served as a mentor and created memorable experiences for young players. Beyond her role as an IGA Board Member, Michelle’s involvement in committees like the Women’s Rules and Competitions Committee and the Ann Griffel Scholarship Committee underscores her commitment to advancing women’s golf. Her contributions extend to coaching the Jesup High School girls’ golf team, instilling valuable life lessons in her players while fostering their love for the game.

Despite her busy schedule, Klein finds time to compete herself, demonstrating her cheerful spirit and success on the course. Her notable achievements include qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur in 2022 and securing victory in the Senior Division of the Iowa Women’s Four-Ball Championship in 2023 with partner Laura Leszczynski. Klein’s impact on Iowa women’s golf is undeniable, earning her the 2021 Sean Flanders Volunteer of the Year Award from the IGA and cementing her as a driving force for the sport’s growth and excellence in the state.

Julie Manning – Iowa State University

Julie Manning (far left)

Former Iowa State Women’s Golf Coach Julie Manning inspired all of her former players to chase greatness. After leading the Cyclones for 20 years, Manning retired following the 2004 season, though her impact continued to last for all of her former players.  Manning’s tenure was marked by commitment to her players’ success both on and off the course. She inspired her team through her passion for the sport and her genuine care for her players’ personal and academic development. Manning’s coaching philosophy emphasized hard work, discipline, and resilience, instilling valuable life lessons in her athletes.

Under her guidance, the women’s golf team achieved notable successes, including conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances. Manning was known for fostering a supportive and inclusive team culture. Her retirement was met with gratitude and admiration from the Iowa State community, recognizing her significant contributions to the university and the sport of golf. Throughout her career, Manning’s dedication and leadership left a lasting legacy, inspiring generations of athletes to strive for excellence.

Christie Martens – Iowa State University

Christie Martens has molded the Iowa State women’s golf program into a national powerhouse during her time leading the Cyclones. Under her guidance, the team has secured a remarkable 14 consecutive NCAA Regional berths since 2010. In 2014 they earned Iowa State’s first appearance at the NCAA Championship since 1993. Throughout her 20-year tenure, Martens has consistently led her team to top-25 rankings and program-best finishes and accolades, including Big 12 Coach of the Year honors in 2011. Her deep roster of talented players has contributed to numerous tournament victories, individual medalists, and notable achievements in both collegiate and professional golf arenas.

Martens’ impact extends beyond the golf course, with her players excelling academically and earning numerous academic All-Big 12 honors. Her recruiting prowess has attracted highly touted international talents, ensuring a diverse and competitive roster. Martens’ legacy is further solidified by the success of her former players, many of whom have transitioned to successful professional careers, including LPGA playing privileges and major championship appearances. With Martens’ leadership, Iowa State’s women’s golf program continues to thrive. In 2023, her squad took ISU to new heights both in school and in NCAA history when they smashed the 54-hole team score record, posting 60-under-par 804 at the Mountain View Collegiate. Setting new records and consistently competing at the highest levels of collegiate golf, Martens raises the bar year after year for the Cardinal and Gold.

Morgan McMillen – Oneota Golf & Country Club

General Manager or Head Golf Pro are two ways to describe Morgan McMillen. But becoming the first female to serve as both the General Manager and the Head Golf Pro can only be described as trailblazing. In the 100 years that Oneota Golf & Country Club has been in existence, no other female has held both titles concurrently. For those who know McMillen, it’s no surprise to see her succeed at such a high level.

She had an accomplished collegiate career at Wartburg College in Waverly. She earned All-Iowa Conference honors three times, racked up three top-nine finishes at the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, including a third and second-place finish, and earned Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-Midwest Regional honors as a senior. Upon graduating in 2015, she joined the golf professional ranks while also serving as the assistant coach for Luther College. As an Iowa PGA Section Pro, she’ll look to capture her third consecutive Iowa Women’s PGA Professional Championship later this summer. She enjoys giving back to the members at Oneota and helping them build not only their golf fundamentals but love for the game.

Megan Menzel – University of Iowa

Megan Menzel has led the University of Iowa women’s golf program for over a decade, ushering the team to remarkable achievements both on and off the course. Under her guidance, the Hawkeyes have seen significant postseason success, including appearances at the National Golf Invitational and NCAA Regionals. In their 2023 post-season berth to the National Golf Invitational, freshman Shannyn Vogler brought home the first individual tournament title since 2018 for the Hawkeyes. Throughout her tenure, Menzel’s teams have shattered records and consistently ranked among the best in school history, with notable accomplishments including top finishes at prestigious tournaments and individual achievements.

Menzel’s coaching prowess extends beyond competition, with an emphasis on academic merit reflected in numerous Academic All-Big Ten honors and awards. Her commitment to player development and success has solidified Iowa’s position as a competitive force in collegiate golf. With a wealth of coaching experience ranging from collegiate coaching to country club instruction, Menzel’s leadership continues to elevate the Hawkeyes to new heights, both on the fairways and in the classroom. She has also coached four Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipients with Chelsea Harris (Soda), Amy Ihm, and back-to-back recipients in 2023 and 2024 with Jordan Amelon and Kaitlyn Hanna.

Lisa Miller – PGA Professional

PGA Professional Lisa Miller has had a life engulfed with golf. For good reason too. In 1978, she secured the first women’s golf scholarship at the University of Northern Iowa, graduating with a B.A. in Education in 1979 and later earning a master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of Iowa in 1988. Notably, in 1994, she became the first woman to achieve Class A Membership in the Iowa PGA Section, and in 2005, attained PGA Master Professional status, only the ninth woman to do so at the time. Miller’s career saw her becoming the first female board member in the Iowa PGA Section and being inducted into the University of Northern Iowa’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. Her professional journey traversed various golf courses, with significant roles including PGA Head Professional at Indian Creek Country Club and Director of Golf for Cedar Rapids municipal golf courses

Since 1995, she has served as a PGA of America Adjunct Facility Member, continuing to mentor aspiring professionals even after her retirement in 2017. She has garnered numerous awards, including the Iowa PGA Bill Strausbaugh and Iowa PGA Professional Development accolades.

Post-retirement, she remains active in the Iowa PGA, contributing as a Board Member and Chair of the Scholarship Committee, while also teaching veterans through golf programs. Lisa aims to inspire and support women aspiring to join the PGA, advocating for increased female representation in golf leadership roles. She also founded the Women’s Fairway Scholarship awarded to one assistant female annually to help further their education and training toward a career in golf.

Janet Rooney – Des Moines Golf & Country Club

Janet Rooney has been the Head Golf Professional at Des Moines Golf since 1999, boasting over 20 years as a PGA member. Her responsibilities encompass the hiring and scheduling of staff in various capacities, including the pro shop, outside service, and starters. She manages both 9-hole and 18-hole women’s leagues, ensuring smooth operations and enjoyable experiences for participants. Janet takes charge of the monthly inventory for the golf shop, catering to members’ needs by facilitating special orders. Her organizational and diverse skill set make her an invaluable asset to the team, contributing to the efficient functioning of the golf facility.

Under her leadership, the pro shop and related services maintain a high standard of professionalism and customer satisfaction. Rooney’s tenure at Des Moines Golf reflects her dedication to the sport and commitment to providing exceptional service to members and guests alike. Her role involves not only administrative duties but also fostering a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all golfers. Through her career, Rooney has continually demonstrated her expertise and dedication to the golfing community, earning the respect and admiration of colleagues and patrons alike. Described by Director of Golf Scott Howe as “a well-rounded, terrific hire” Rooney has more than earned her keep at the West Des Moines club.

Kari Tomash – Cedar Rapids Country Club

Kari Tomash, a PGA Class A Member for 13 years, owns more than 20 years of golf professional experience, marked by a passion for teaching and fostering golf participation among juniors and women. Raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she discovered her love for golf through her father, eventually earning a golf scholarship to Charleston Southern University. During her tenure there, she clinched five Division I tournament titles and garnered numerous accolades, including being named the 1993 Big South Freshman of The Year.

Recognized with the 2019 Wisconsin PGA Section Youth Player Development Award, she is also Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she commenced her career as a PGA Golf Professional at Cougar Point on Kiawah Island. Transitioning through various esteemed clubs nationwide, such as the Daniel Island Club and Butte des Morts Country Club, she thrives on cultivating lasting relationships with members and students, defining her favorite aspect of being a golf professional. Now at Cedar Rapids Country Club, Tomash continues to grow the game in her hometown.

Chelsea Soda – Echo Valley Country Club

Chelsea Soda, Director of Instruction at Echo Valley Country Club, has quite the resume´. After capturing 3 Illinois High School Team State titles, she brought her talents to the University of Iowa where she was a staple for the Hawkeyes. Leading the team in scoring average for three of her four years, she capped off her career with a 7th-place individual finish at the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. Soda was also named the 2012 Big Ten Conference Sportsmanship Award winner.

After graduating, she turned professional and embarked on her pro career. After playing in mini tour events and Monday Qualifiers, Soda got her big break in 2013 when she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club.

Her coaching career began at Illinois State University as an assistant, but she soon realized she was ready for a new challenge. That new challenge led her to the state of Iowa and Echo Valley Country Club in 2015. Soda’s favorite part of the new job was giving lessons and teaching junior golf. From there Soda went to Nantucket, MA and Denver, CO to learn from top-100 coaches and develop her own style of teaching. In 2022, Soda came back to Echo Valley and has been providing its membership with instruction programs since. In addition, Soda runs junior golf programs for the City of Waukee at Sugar Creek Golf Course and volunteers for First Tee — Central Iowa and the University of Iowa.

Erin Strieck – Pinnacle Country Club

With over 20 years as a PGA member, Erin Strieck oversees various aspects of golf operations and leagues, ensuring exceptional experiences for members and guests. Strieck’s career highlights include being the first female in various roles, such as Director of Golf at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa in Galena, Illinois, and Head Golf Professional/Director of Golf at Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, Illinois. She has actively contributed to the growth of the Iowa PGA, serving on the board and as Secretary, and has been involved in national PGA initiatives like PGA LEAD.

In 2021, she made Iowa Section PGA history when she was named the first female president of the organization.

Strieck’s leadership extends beyond the golf course, emphasizing mentorship and community engagement. Under her leadership, Pinnacle Country Club has seen increased participation, especially among women and juniors, fostering a welcoming environment for all. Her dedication to professional development and exemplary teaching skills have earned her accolades, including the Professional Development Award in 2020. She was also awarded the 2023 Iowa PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor in the Iowa PGA. Through her commitment to excellence and inclusivity, Strieck continues to leave a lasting impact on the Iowa PGA and the golfing community at large.

Jeanne Sutherland – University of Nebraska

Jeanne Sutherland boasts a remarkable career spanning four decades in collegiate golf, marked by numerous achievements and national success. With strong ties to the Midwest, Sutherland’s collegiate journey began at the University of Northern Iowa, where she earned accolades as a student-athlete and later became a member of the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Hailing from Dubuque, Iowa, her accomplishments have left a permanent legacy in collegiate golf.

In her debut season as head coach at Nebraska in 2022-23, she led the team to an NCAA Regional appearance, marking her 19th time guiding a team to such a berth. Before her latest post at Nebraska, Sutherland served as the head coach at SMU for 10 seasons and at Texas A&M for 15 seasons. Under her guidance, Nebraska shattered school scoring records and saw individual success reach uncharted territory. Sutherland’s coaching prowess extends beyond Nebraska, as evidenced by her numerous accolades and achievements at SMU and Texas A&M. At SMU, she led the team to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances, achieving notable successes such as a runner-up finish at the American Athletic Conference Championship. During her time at Texas A&M, Sutherland transformed the program, leading the team to multiple NCAA Championship appearances and capturing several tournament crowns and conference titles. A recipient of multiple Coach of the Year honors, Sutherland’s impact on collegiate golf is widely recognized. Her players have garnered numerous individual accolades, including All-America honors and conference championships. Beyond coaching, Sutherland has contributed to the golf community through her involvement with the PGA and WGCA, as well as her role as a golf professional.

Sarah Ward – West Grand Golf

Sarah Ward, a Des Moines native, has seen all that the Iowa golf scene has to offer. After an accomplished playing career at the University of Iowa, Ward turned professional. She went on to play on the LPGA Futures Tour, now known as the Epson Tour, where she held status from 1994 through 2001. After playing professionally for several years, Ward made her way back to her hometown and started teaching at West Grand Golf in West Des Moines. For the last 22 years Ward continues to help players of all ages and abilities improve their game. She contributes to the instruction teams of the Jane Blalock Clinics For Women and First Tee — Central Iowa. On any given summer day, one is sure to see an enthusiastic Ward on the lesson tee at West Grand Golf working with repeat clientele of all ages.

Elise Warne – William Penn University

Elise Warne, Head Men’s Golf Coach at William Penn University (WPU), boasts an impressive coaching career, guiding numerous standout players and earning accolades such as Heart Coach of the Year in 2023. Under her leadership, the Statesmen clinched the Heart title in 2023 and secured a spot in the NAIA National Championship. Warne’s coaching prowess was honed during her time as assistant coach and director of player development at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Minnesota, where she oversaw various aspects of the golf program.

Warne’s own golf career at WPU was illustrious, marked by four all-Heart of America Athletic Conference honors and three Heart Player of the Year titles. As an NAIA Third-Team All-American, she claimed victory in numerous tournaments and holds several school records, including the single-season stroke average and multiple 18-hole and 72-hole records. Additionally, Warne’s achievements extend to winning the NAIA long-drive competition and contributing to record-setting team scores at WPU. Her remarkable career trajectory emphasizes her impact on both coaching and playing fronts, solidifying her as a pivotal figure in William Penn University’s golf program.

Sharnae Winters – Hyperion Field Club

Sharnae Winters, Head Golf Professional at Hyperion Field Club, got her start in golf when she was young. Winters’ upbringing in Adel and her golfing journey through Des Moines Area Community College and the University of Nebraska shaped her passion for the sport. After earning her Class “A” PGA membership in 2012, she launched her professional career at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kansas, before transitioning to the First Assistant Golf Professional role at the Vaquero Club in Westlake, Texas.

During her tenure there, she deepened her expertise in golf management and cultivated personalized service for club members, enhancing their overall experience. Returning to her Iowa roots in 2021, Winters assumed the role of Head Golf Professional at the Hyperion Field Club. Enjoying being back home, Winters enjoys sharing her love for the game with each of ‘Hypos’ members. She hasn’t lost her competitive edge either, often teeing it up in various Iowa Section PGA events throughout the year.

Other Section PGA Professionals include:

Mardi Kvidera – Sioux City Country Club

Sherry Newsome – Indian Creek Country Club

Carol Nitchske-Henrich – Bright Grand View

Sarah Overton – Finkbine Golf Course

Karrie Van Ravenswaay – The Ridge Golf Club

Mallory Simmelink – Landsmeer Golf Club

Abigail Tinlin – Echo Valley Country Club


Next Week on Women’s Wednesday…

In honor of Mother’s Day, look back on some of the most successful and well-known families in Iowa Women’s Golf history.

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Living the Dream

The 2024 rules officials pose with Augusta National members during the 2024 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Katelynn is in the second row, third from left.

Following the Rules Leads Katelynn Hogenson Down a Path Through Magnolia Lane

You might say the Iowa Golf Association’s Katelynn Hogenson was born to follow the rules. The oldest of three daughters of Terry and Theresa Hogenson of Muscatine, Katelynn describes herself as a “a typical first-born rule follower” who became the pacesetter for younger sisters Ashley and Morgan while growing up in a busy household full of activities and sporting events.

A predisposition for structure, problem-solving and law-and-order has served Hogenson well along on a trail leading to her current role as the Chief Operating Officer for the Iowa Golf Association – and as an expert rule official where she has worked literally hundreds of competitions on all stages over her 13-year career.

The list includes a dozen USGA Championships, the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion, the junior Solheim Cup held in Des Moines in 2017, and untold state, collegiate and regional competitions. But none were bigger than her most recent assignment – the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, where Katelynn was among 20 rules officials from across the globe invited to work the championship staged on the world’s grandest stage – Augusta National. Hogenson received the prestigious invitation to work alongside rules officials from the United States Golf Association, the R & A and select state golf associations to form the rules committee to work the tournament.

“It feels like I just came back from the greatest golf course in the world,” Hogenson told Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene during a recent interview. “Everything at Augusta National is absolutely perfect, detailed to the max, with nothing out of order. My experience was absolutely what every golfer would dream about – basically having full access to Augusta National. I cannot imagine any golf experience to top this.”

Katelynn Hogenson is all smiles as she takes a break from her recent role as a rules official for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, including the final round at Augusta National.

The day starts early for rules officials, so her initial trip down Magnolia Lane took place at 5:30 in the morning and in the dark. The group then walked the course to get a feel for the layout and anticipate any rule situations they may encounter. Hogenson was assigned to the par-3 fourth hole, and although she did not have any rulings during the final round, the experience of being at Augusta National was one for the ages.

“We had the opportunity to walk across the Hogan Bridge on hole 12 and stand on the 13th tee during the practice round, something that only players, officials and members can do, and had access to virtually all areas of the course and grounds,” she said. “You get a feel for how small and contoured the greens are compared to what they look like on television, the depth of the bunkers and the severe elevation changes throughout the course. And you get an appreciation of how skilled the players are, some of the hole locations are set in areas where it is nearly impossible to keep the ball on the green.”

Formed in 2018, The Augusta National Women’s Amateur was established to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for players to fulfill their dreams. An international field of 72 players is based upon playing criteria and golfers play 36 holes at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, with the top 30 and ties qualifying for the final round at Augusta National. All players, however, are allowed to play a practice round at Augusta National. This year’s champion, Lotte Woad of England, fired a 54-hole total of 208.

A four-sport athlete at Muscatine High School, Hogenson was introduced to golf at an early age by her father. She learned the game by playing one of Iowa’s 9-hole courses, the West Liberty Golf and Country Club, and competed in numerous junior tournaments. Hogenson didn’t really start blooming as a golfer until her sophomore campaign. Softball was front and center, with volleyball and basketball also in the mix.

“I really enjoyed team sports but what drew me to golf was that the game is on your shoulders,” she said “You alone are responsible for your performance, and you generally get out of the game what you put in.”

Katelynn poses with LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam during the 2017 Solheim Cup staged at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Hogenson qualified for the state tournament for three seasons, earning second-team all-state honors in her junior and senior seasons. She led the Muscatine girls golf team to back-to-back appearances in the state tournament, and with her sister Ashley being part of the 2007 squad. That attracted the attention of Iowa State Coach Christie Martens and Hogenson played four seasons for the Cyclones, competing in the starting rotation as well as an individual. Her playing credentials also include qualifying for two USGA championships – the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links contested at Warren Golf Course at the University of Notre Dame and the 2014 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur plated at Harbour Trees Golf Club in Noblesville, ID., Monday qualifying for a Futures Tour (now Symetra Tour) event and placing fourth in the Iowa Women’s Amateur.

While a collegian, Hogenson landed a summer internship with the former Iowa Women’s Golf Association (now merged with the Iowa Golf Association) and later earned a P.J. Boatright Internship with the IGA. After a nine-month stint, she joined the IGA as a full-time staff member in 2012 and has served in all areas of the organization, managing tournaments, Course Rating and handicapping, member services, director of operations and her current role as Chief Operating Officer.

Early in her IGA tenure, Hogenson became interested in rules, motivated by staff members Chad Pitts (now the IGA Executive Director) and Jason Bjorkland, who attained expert ratings and worked many USGA events. “I developed a curiosity about the rules during my time as an intern,” Hogenson said. She attended PGA and USGA rules workshops and aced the rules examination at the expert level.

“There’s a misconception that rules are always there to penalize the player,” she said. “It’s not like referees in football and basketball. We see ourselves (rules officials) in supportive roles for the players.”

As her golf rules resume continues to flourish, Hogenson looks forward to earning future opportunities to work prestigious championships.

“I’ve got my foot in the door and have made many connections. And I would sure like to get back to Augusta National.

The Muscatine Muskies golf team are shown getting ready for the 2007 Iowa Girls High School state golf tournament. Sisters Katelynn and Ashley (third from right and far right) competed with younger sister Morgan (front) forming the cheering section.

“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
Moreland Reflects on his Extraordinary Club Pro, Playing Career
From Sibley to the LPGA Tour – Barb Thomas Whitehead Fulfills Her Dream
At 88 Years Young, Cleo Brown Remains a Fixture at the Principal Charity Classic, IGA Events
Love of the Game, Service to Others Propel Charlie Taylor to IGA’s 2023 George Turner Award
The Calling Card for Ottumwa’s Matthew Walker in Quest to Reach Golf’s Highest Level

Bull / Allison lead from start to finish at 28th IGA Four-Ball Championship

Following an open round 61 (-9), the side of Dennis Bull and Brian Allison left nothing to chance in the final round of the 28th IGA Four-Ball Championship hosted by Elmwood Country Club in Marshalltown.

While several groups tried to inch closer throughout the morning, Bull and Allison were simply too good. The duo would post a -13 score for two days.

“I made a boatload of putts (this week),” Bull said with a laugh. “It’s an easy game if you do that.”

Playing with the side of Jamie Faidley and Josh Janeczko both days, the eventual champions knew they couldn’t let up.

“We got off to a good start, and the group was great,” Bull said. “We figured out we birdied 15 of the 18 holes as a group in the first round. They pushed us, and we pushed them both days.”

While weather and scoring conditions were nearly perfect in the opening round, it was the complete opposite in round two – with players facing windy and much colder conditions on top of early morning rain that delayed the start of the day and ultimately led to a cut to the low 46 sides from round one scores.

“You had to layer up and survive the weather,” Allison said. “There were good hole locations out there, and with the tee back on #14, that was a golf hole.”

An opening hole birdie from Bull set the tone for the final round, as he and Allison would post 66 for a four-shot victory over Faidley/Janeczko and the side of J.D. Anderson and Ethan Mechling.

“I made a bomb on the first hole, so that helped the stress level early on,” Bull said. “We kind of knew we were in a good spot after the front nine. We made birdie on #8, and they made bogey. Then Brian made a nice putt on #9. I don’t think we looked at the scoreboard again until #16.”

Both Bull and Allison agreed starting off the year with a victory is always sweet.

“It’s always fun to share a win – absolutely,” Allison said.

Click here for full results

Scroll to top