Jon Brown (right, who has had success in match play format events before, came away with the 21st IGA Senior Match Play Championship at Lake Panorama National Golf Course on Tuesday, with a superb 4 & 3 victory over fellow Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Gene Elliott.
“It feels great. This is my first IGA event as a senior golfer,” Brown said. “Gene is, if not the best, one of the top three or four senior players in the world. He’s such a great guy, great friend and I was looking forward to playing him. You know you better bring your ‘A’ game against Gene to have a chance.”
Brown, who defeated Terry Cook 6 & 5 in the morning semifinals, got off to a quick start versus Elliott in the afternoon, racing out to a 3 up lead after nine holes. A par on the 15th hole, after Elliott had tried to claw his way back into the match, gave Brown the trophy.
“I love match play and have had some success in it, ” Brown said. “Honestly, having the success at last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur, having success against national-caliber players and building off that has been everything (for me). I hadn’t been scoring this year, but I felt like something clicked this week.”
Elliott, who defeated Jay Gregory in his morning semifinal match, battled back to 3 down after 13 holes against Brown. However Brown just would simply not let Elliott get any closer.
“I felt like if I could just keep doing what I was doing and try to run out of holes, that’s how to do it, ” Brown said. “You don’t want to give a guy like Gene any room (to make a comeback). It’s nice to get a win early in the season and this gets me fired up. There are some tight driving holes on this course. I was really happy with my ball-striking this week.”
Brown defeated Bret Taylor (4 & 3) in the Round of 16 and Ron Peterson (7 & 5) in the quarterfinals during his path to the championship.
“This is where we (Gene and I) wanted to be, we wanted to be playing each other,” Brown said. “It’s not hard to play against your buddies. I have been doing that for 35 years. You appreciate these moments as we are on the back nine of our careers. When you look back at tournaments you’ve won when you beat a guy like Gene or Mike (McCoy) or Joe (Palmer), they mean more because of all their accomplishments.”
In the Super Senior Division, Dave Gaer (left) defeated Tom Norton 3 & 2, in a match that Gaer was able to control most of the way.
“I hit the ball really well this week,” Gaer said. “Match Play is a grind. You have to pay attention. I got off to a great start and was hitting in close (against Norton). I hit it well all day and I can’t complain. It’s great to be a part of the Iowa Golf Association and the event was great.”
Gaer, who defeated Tom Schilling 4 & 3 to reach the finals against Norton, who beat Bob Brooks in a great match by the score of 1 up, knew Norton wouldn’t go down without a fight in the afternoon.
“Tom is a grinder,” Gaer said. “He’s proven he can win and he’s a great competitor. We had a great match.”