Category: Championships

Brown wins 2023 Waterloo Open in playoff, Meyer snags Amateur Division

The 2023 Waterloo Open was contested over Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23 in Waterloo. The Pro-Am was played July 20 at Irv Warren, the first two rounds of the Professional Division were played over July 21 and July 22 at Gates Park and South Hills, respectively, and final rounds were played on July 23 again at Irv Warren for those who made the cut.

In the Professional Division, which was contested over three rounds, Evan Brown of Chadds Ford, PA won after a two-hole playoff in which he beat Harry Hillier of Overland Park, KS. The two contestants shot (-21) 195. Michael Visacki from Sarasota, FL and Kelly Harper from Greenville, SC tied for third at (-20) 196.

Des Moines’ Trip Kinney led the Iowans in the Professional Division, placing T15 with a (-16) 200.

In the Open Amateur division, which was contested over three rounds, Cedar Falls’ Owen Sawyer claimed a four-stroke victory at (-14) 202. Cedar Falls’ Luke Meyer finished second with (-10) 206. Glenn Walls, from Harrisburg, SD, finished third with (-8) 208.

In the Senior Amateur division, Derek Hileman of Grain Valley, MO, Jeff Wachter of Asbury, and Joe Bates of Albia tied for first at (-1) 143.

In the Super Senior Amateur flight, West Des Moines’ Bob Brooks won handily by 18 strokes over the field, finishing with (-3) 213.

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Imsland, Kerrigan win IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series Event at Carroll CC

From left – Laura Leszczynski, Leighann Larocca, Christi Imsland and Karli Kerrigan.

The second event of the IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series was contested on Saturday, July 22 at Carroll Country Club, Carroll. The shamble tournament, with gross best ball and net four ball prizes, was won by the side of Karli Kerrigan and Christi Imsland. The team fired a gross and net (-8) 63, winning the gross tournament by three strokes and tying for the lead in the net tournament.

The teams of Rose Kubesheski and Michelle Klein and Laura Leszczynski and Leighann Larocca also shared the lead in the net tournament. Kubesheski and Klein placed second in the gross tournament at (-5) 66, winning the tiebreaker over Fiona Watson and Tish Boothe who also carded (-5) 66.

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Hanna makes final round charge, wins 99th Iowa Women’s Amateur

Undecided until the final hole, the 99th Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship at Finkbine Golf Course, Iowa City, was a nail-biter. The leaderboard was in constant flux, with five players exchanging the lead throughout the round. In the end, the Hawkeye sophomore Kaitlyn Hanna (above) had the last laugh, walking away with a home course victory on Iowa golf’s biggest amateur stage.

Hanna fired a final round (-1) 71, tying the lowest round of the tournament, to trump a four-stroke deficit and win by one. Playing in the penultimate pairing, her dad was the one to break the good news to her.

After a great summer working with her coaches, “It was great to cap it off with a win,” Hanna admitted.

Despite live scoring, the Omaha, NE native played her round unaware of her standing in the mix. She focused on her own execution, keeping the ball below the pin and aiming for the center of the green each approach.

It wasn’t easy, however.

Hanna found herself in the rough short-right of the green on her final hole, with only a few yards of firm green to work with. Even among the final pairings there were numerous players who fell victim to that very same rough. With the tournament on the line and spectators watching, an excellent chip left Hanna with a tap-in par and a (+6) 222 total. Her short-game, which she considers her forte, was on full display when it mattered most.

Marshalltown’s Amber Henson entered the final hole tied for the lead, but ended up short-sided in the rough. Being pin-high, she had less green than Hanna had, and was unable to convert the difficult up-and-down. Henson finished runner-up at (+7) 223 after her bogey on Hole 18.

At the day’s break, Cedar Falls’ Hannah Bermel, Ames’ Eden Lohrbach, and Henson led the field. But during the round, Dubuque’s Breanna Felderman showed her strength, playing 1-under through the first thirteen holes and claiming a narrow lead. Yet a disastrous +7 finishing stretch in her final five holes removed her from the conversation. She finished tied fifth with Bettendorf’s Maura Peters at (+13) 229.

Bermel, struggling to close out on the greens, also fell to Finkbine’s final five holes, which she played +6. She finished fourth at (+12) 228. Despite netting just one birdie, Lohrbach managed to squeeze by the tail-end gauntlet 2-over and was rewarded with a third place finish.

Not to miss out on the excitement, the Open Division was up for grabs as well. Dubuque’s Rose Kubesheski finished third at (+32) 248, only one stroke away from Waterloo’s Kelly Nelson and Des Moines’ Tish Boothe (right), who headed to a playoff after carding (+31) 247. Boothe, who had not played a solo event since a local tournament in 2011, won after one hole. Boothe’s dramatic return to the Iowa golf scene sparks anticipation for her next appearance.

The championship was a testament to the difficulty of competing at a high level and the strength of women’s golf in this state. The IGA looks forward to next year’s centennial 100th Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship at Sunnyside Golf and Country Club, the host of the inaugural Women’s Amateur Championship over a century ago.

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Bermel takes lead into final round of 99th Iowa Women’s Amateur

The haze lifted for the second round of the 99th Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship at Finkbine Golf Course on Monday, July 17.

In the Championship Division, Cedar Falls’ Hannah Bermel (above) took the solo lead with a (+2) 74, totaling +3 over the first two days. She’s followed by Ames’ Eden Lohrbach, who fired a (+4) 76 and stands at +5 over the tournament. Marshalltown’s Amber Henson moved into third place with a (+2) 74, totaling +6.

Dubuque’s Breanna Felderman scored the lowest round of the tournament thus far, a (-1) 71, moving her into a tie for fourth place with the at-home Hawkeye, Kaitlyn Hanna. The two players are tied at +7 heading into the third day.

In the Open Division, Des Moines’ Tish Boothe (right) keeps her position on top of the leaderboard at +19, but only holds a one-stroke lead over Waterloo’s Kelly Nelson. Nelson carded a (+8) 80 in her second round to climb into second at +20 on the tournament.

Dubuque’s Rose Kubesheski is not far behind at +23. Stuart’s Janice Schwarzkopf, in fourth at +24, and Jesup’s Michelle Klein and Hiawatha’s Jody Neuhaus, tied for fifth at +25, are within striking distance for the final round.

Bermel and Boothe will attempt to finish wire-to-wire wins, but with the way Finkbine Golf Course has been playing— tough greens and firm conditions — anything can happen during the final round.

In the Cross-Division Team Four-Ball, a net tournament with randomly selected teams mixing up the divisions, a three-way tie for first between the teams of Isabella Steele and Kelly Grimes, Emersen Motl and Jody Neuhaus, and Anna Nacos and Sani Hansen at -15 lead the way.

Round 3 play tees off at 9 a.m., on Tuesday morning.

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Three tied at the top of 99th Iowa Women’s Amateur leadboard

The first round of the 99th Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship played under hazy skies at Finkbine Golf Course. The 88 Championship and Open Division players (55 Championship players and 33 Open players) comprised the largest field in recent history.

Blazing fast speeds and tricky greens made for difficult putting, especially through the afternoon as greens firmed up. The back nine, including the iconic over the water Par 3, Hole 13, proved itself to be the most challenging stretch of the course. However, Par 4 Hole 14 was the most difficult hole of the day, playing 1.38 strokes over par on average. It was the only hole on the course that did not let in a birdie. Instead, it totaled 25 double bogeys, the most by far of any hole during the first round.

The Championship Division is led by Cedar Fall’s Hannah Bermel, Ames’ Eden Lohrbach, and Washington’s Kiki Bruner, all tied at (+3) 75. The Open Division is led by Des Moines’ Tish Boothe at (+4) 76.

Round two play tees off at 9 a.m., on Monday, July 17.

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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.

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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.

Semifinals set at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play

There was no shortage of action on the third day of the IGA Match Play Championships. Despite another gloomy morning and weather delay, the skies cleared over Talons Golf (above) in Ankeny.

Since the beginning of match play, Algona’s Joshua Manske has consistently defeated higher seeded opponents. He continued his trend, winning over previous champion Joe Palmer (3&1), of Norwalk, and Marshalltown’s Kelly Brown (2&1), in order to earn a spot in tomorrow’s first semifinal match.

His opponent will not let him by easily. Ankeny’s Connor Peck, 2020 Match Play Champion, outlasted 5-seed Sioux City’s Samuel Storey in the Round of 16, winning after 19 holes. A strong showing against Clive’s Jake Weissenburger (4&3) netted Peck a tee time on the final day.

Still in the mix is defending champion Ankeny’s Nate McCoy. Despite a tight match against Waukee’s Chad Tracy (19 holes), McCoy defeated Waverly’s Hogan Hansen (3&1) to advance to the semifinals.

McCoy will play Ames’ Zach May (right) in an Iowa State vs. Iowa State face off. May, a rising sophomore from New Zealand, will challenge one of ISU’s all-time greats in what should be an exciting match. May proved his stamina after besting New Sharon’s Trent Lindenman (19 holes) and Decorah’s Jay Fjelstul (3&2).

On the women’s side, ‘old’ Pleasant Valley teammates Erika Holmberg and Maura Peters set aside their friendship as they faced each other in the Round of 16.

“We’re always pushing each other and supporting each other,” Holmberg said before the round, “but in a match format you’re really pulling for yourself to win. I think it will be an exciting day.”

It evidently was an exciting match as Holmberg pulled off a 2&1 win over Peters. But at the end of the day, the seedings held true as the 1 through 4 seeds advanced to the semifinals.

1-seed Marshalltown’s Amber Henson played true to expectations, beating Kelly Nelson (7&6) and Tatum Depuydt (4&3).

Henson will face 4-seed West Des Moines’ Paige Hoffman, who defeated Chase Doland (3&2) and Leanne Smith (4&3). After a slow start in the morning, Hoffman cleaned up her game and will be dangerous as she looks to forward her momentum come Friday.

2-seed Anna Jensen defeated young Natalie Henson (5&4) and veteran Fiona Watson (4&3) on her way to the semifinal match.

She will face 3-seed Hannah Bermel (right), also a University of Northern Iowa Panther, in another former-teammate duel. Bermel won over Taylor Sedivec in 19 holes and over Erika Holmberg 2&1.

Heading into the semifinals, defending champions Nate McCoy and Anna Jensen look to defend their titles, Connor Peck attempts to return to the winner’s circle, and new names will try to cement their place in IGA history. It’s every man and woman for themselves.

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Players battle wind, weather in opening rounds of IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play

And then there were sixteen… The opening round of matches of the 35th IGA Match Play Championship at Talons Golf, Ankeny, began in the dark under a thick haze. Gusty morning winds challenged play, bringing a lightning delay with it.

The day’s story belonged to the youth. Numerous high school, college, or recently graduated players populated the Round of 16, whose matches will be played tomorrow. The remaining spots belong to familiar veterans—Ankeny’s Nate McCoy, Ankeny’s Connor Peck, Norwalk’s Joe Palmer have all won this very championship before and will continue their pursuit of this year’s title.

In the 12th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship, held concurrently at Talons Golf, Kelly Nelson (above right), a previous champion, defeated Marley Richter 1-up in the first round of match play. Nelson will face 1-seed Amber Henson in the Round of 16.

Tatum Depuydt bested Kelly Grimes 5&3, Chase Doland beat Laura Leszczynski 1-up, Rosalie Kubesheski won over Geri Huser 3&2, and Natalie Henson beat Lindsay Burry 5&4. Tabitha Schumacher and Maura Peters both dominated their matches 7&6, beating Lisa Griswold and Julie Hartman, respectively. Taylor Sedivec outlasted Nicki Miller, winning on the nineteenth hole.

The rounds of 16 and 8 of the Match Play Championships will be contested tomorrow. Follow along on live scoring and on social media.

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Brackets set at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play Championship

The first round of the 35th IGA Match Play Championship—a hot but cloudy day at Talons Golf, Ankeny—whittled down 132 players to only 64 on Tuesday.

Webster City’s Avery Fuhs earned the 1-seed after a (-6) 66. With his defending champion status, Nate McCoy, of Ankeny, was automatically given the 2-seed. Nevertheless, McCoy finished T2 with (-5) 67 and earned his seed anyways. Fort Dodge’s Nico Booyens and Clive’s Jake Weissenburger joined McCoy at (-5) 67, and were given the 3- and 4-seed respectively following USGA tie breaking rules.

Of the 132 men, 37 finished even-par or better. Six edged their way into the first round of match play, tying at the (+3) 75 cut line. The 64 qualifiers will play tomorrow in the first round of match play.

In the 12th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship, held concurrently at Talons Golf, Marshalltown’s Amber Henson earned the 1-seed with an even par 73. Six birdies and a strong back nine helped even out a difficult front nine with the putter.

“It was good,” Henson said after the round.

Cedar Falls’ Hannah Bermel earned the second seed with a (+1) 74, and West Des Moines’ Paige Hoffman earned the 3-seed with a (+2) 75. 15 pars, a birdie, a bogey, and one double rounded out a steady round for Hoffman. She noted that the greens defended the course well with their speed.

The top eight seeds earned byes into the second round of match play to be contested on Thursday. The remaining sixteen women will compete in the first round of match play Wednesday.

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