Ben Peters survived.
Both the hot conditions as well as the difficult challenge Dubuque Golf & CC offered during the 45th Iowa Senior Amateur. Closing with a pair of 68s, Peters admitted it was the birdies coming home in the opening round after a rocky start that was the key to the week for him.
“It was a rough start for me on the first day,” Peters said. “I settled down with the putter a little bit and ball striking got better each day. It was a fun, hot week. I didn’t expect my second round score (68) to leapfrog me up the leaderboard as much as it did. It was such a difficult day. Those birdies coming in on the first day made the difference.”
Peters, who knew he had to stay patient at Dubuque G&CC, played his final 41 holes of the championship at -7, good for a three shot victory.
“Sometimes good shots here don’t turn out as well as you might think they should,” Peters said. “You have to stay below the hole. It’s a fun, old golf course.”
The heat, reaching into the triple digits at times, was also a hurdle for the field.
“The first day was more of a shock to the system,” Peters said “I was a little more prepared the second day. You knew what you were going to face (with the weather).”
With a two-shot lead heading into the final round over Ron Peterson, Peters knew he wasn’t going to have the luxury of coasting to the finish line.
“It was a back and forth most of the day with Ron,” Peters said. “I was able to make a couple nice putts out there. I knew I was going to need to make a birdie to make sure it went my well and I was able to on 17.”
Peters now joins his father, John, as an Iowa Senior Amateur champion. John won the event a total of three times – in 1998, 2004 and 2007. Peters also becomes the first person not names Elliott, McCoy or Palmer to win the event going back to 2013.
“This is a special for both of us to have out name on the trophy,” Ben said when asked about adding his name to the trophy along this his father.
Ben’s daughter, Maura, added a victory early in the summer at the Iowa Junior Girls’ Amateur, so Ben might of been feeling a little pressure to have a spot for his own trophy at home.
“You never know what is around the corner,” Peters said.
“With the heat and these greens are severe enough I was happy with my score,” Norton said.
The coursed was something that looked good to Norton’s eye and he took advantage.
“This course suites me well, it’s tight and not long,” Norton said. “I just tried to keep it in the fairway. I didn’t three putt a bunch. I had the good fortune of making a few birdies the first two days. None today, but I had 17 pars. I never felt stressed today, it got within shot, but I was comfortable making pars.”
Figuring out the tough greens at Dubuque G&CC was also a key for Norton.
“You have to read greens well to have success here. This is my first stroke play victory. I have been second to Gene (Elliott) a few times, which is nothing to hang your head about, but I was happy to get it done.”
Norton admitted he took special precaution with the heat during he week and didn’t show up unprepared for the conditions.
“About 10 years I had a heat stroke, so I have to be careful. I kept an ice cooler with me and stay hydrated enough. The body felt better during the last round (with the weather not being as hot).”