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.

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