Category: Wmn’s Match Play

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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McCoy, Jensen left standing at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play

The 2021 IGA Player of the Year, Nate McCoy (right), earned his third win of the season at the 34th IGA Match Play Championship hosted by Talons Golf in Ankeny. McCoy dominated all week from tee to green and etched his name on the match play trophy for the first time in his career. 

“This win means almost more now than it did before only because I now realize how hard it is to win one of these,” McCoy said. “This golf course allows guys to make a lot of birdies, but also plays tough in certain spots. You have to beat some really good players.”

As the week began, McCoy earned the No. 11 seed from the stroke play portion of the competition. This put McCoy up against the No. 54 seeded Grant DeKruyf in the first round of the match play tournament, who he defeated 8&6. 

Not only did McCoy have to play tough competitors, he also had to play them in many different conditions throughout the week.

“The wind affected things a lot,” McCoy said. “The conditions were tough so you have to take it one shot at a time. Jamie Blackburn reminded me to just stay in the present and take it one shot at a time. It is easy to get ahead of yourself, so just controlling the things I can control was important.”

In his next two rounds, McCoy faced off against the No. 22 seed Scott Hart and the No. 27 seed Ben Pettitt. After three-straight dominant performances, McCoy’s next competitor was the 2020 IGA Match Play Champion and a good friend, Connor Peck. 

McCoy started 3 up in his match at one point against Peck, but the 2020 IGA Player of the Year didn’t go down without a fight. Peck brought the match to all square with four to play and made a birdie on the 15th to go 1 up over McCoy. 

Down one with three to play, McCoy needed to make something happen. An eagle on the 17th tied the match going into the final hole where McCoy made par and claimed the victory and a spot in the semifinal round. 

“It is tough playing against some of your best friends,” shared McCoy. Connor is a great competitor and we had a fun match.”

In the semifinal round, McCoy ran into yet another tough opponent in Ethan Mechling. In the quarterfinal round, Mechling battled and defeated the three-time IGA Match Play Champion, Jon Brown. Mechling was red-hot and ready to take down McCoy. 

Mechling went 1 up after the first three holes, but McCoy got the match back to all square. The two competitors were tied heading into the 11th hole where McCoy made a par to win the hole and go 1 up in the match. McCoy kept his foot on the gas pedal and won two of the last five holes to send him to the final round. 

After knocking off the No. 1 seeded Dylan Ellis, Willis Gaer and McCoy met in in the championship round, each looking for their first career IGA Match Play title. Gaer was red-hot coming into the final round, but so was McCoy. 

“Willis didn’t let up all day,” McCoy said. “I watched wrestling videos to get me pumped up. I knew I was going to have to fight in the final round, so I listened to Tom Brands hype up his team to get me ready to take on Willis. Willis is really sharp right now and he played very well recently at Fort Dodge, so I had to give him my best.”

The competitors continued to trade holes, but McCoy headed for the back nine 2 up in the match. McCoy went 3 up with a birdie on the par-five 11th hole. Gaer started to battle back with wins on 12 and 13 to bring McCoy’s lead back to one. 

That one-hole lead was the deciding factor of the match. McCoy and Gaer matched each other the rest of the way. With a two-putt par on the 18th hole, McCoy joined many great Iowan’s who have won the IGA Match Play Championship.

Anna Jensen (right) captured the 11th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship and completed her long-awaited revenge tour at Talons Golf in Ankeny. Ever since 2021, when Jensen fell to Leanne Smith in the final round, she has been waiting for a chance at redemption.

“Last year gave me a glimpse of what it would be like because the competition is really high,” Jensen said. “I had in the back of my mind that I can do this, because I made it to the championship round last year. It gave me extra motivation because I was that close and so I wanted to try to do it again.”

That she did.

Jensen began her championship run by earning the No. 2 seed in the stroke play portion of the tournament. At the start of match play, Jensen grabbed wins over Carroll Dethrow and Kathy Fortune. 

Following her first two matches, Jensen was paired against the 2021 IGA Junior Girl’s Amateur Champion, Tatum Depuydt. The match went back and forth and ended with Jensen winning 3&2. Up next was Fiona Watson. 

Watson was at the top of her game this week with wins over Jeanne Swenson and Tabitha Schumacher. In the quarterfinal round, Watson defeated the No. 3 seed Christi Imsland 4&3 and went on to face Jensen in the semifinal round.

Jensen got off to a quick start, winning two of the first three holes. Watson fought back by winning the fourth and fifth hole. At the turn, the match was all square, but Watson took three of the next four holes and went 3 up going into the 14th hole.

The match seemed to be over until Jensen played 14, 15 and 16 at even par and tied the match. Jensen and Watson tied on 17 and 18 to send the match to Talon’s one of a kind 19th hole. Jensen stuck one to five feet and drained the birdie putt to put her up against Paige Hoffman in the final round. 

There were a total of 11 lead changes in their match. Neither Jensen or Hoffman were up more than one hole during the match. After four holes, the match was tied. Jensen won two holes and Hoffman fired back and won two holes. 

On the par three eighth hole, Hoffman stuck one to three feet to take the lead going into the turn. Jensen tied the match on the 11th hole with and then took the lead on the 13th. Hoffman was now down one shot, but grabbed the lead after winning the next two holes. 

Going into hole 16, Jensen was down one, but made a par to tie the match. Both competitors birdied the par-five 17th hole and the match was tied going into 18. Jensen won the match with a two-putt par and brought the match play trophy home. 

Jensen continued to praise her two opponents after two close matches. 

“Fiona was very consistent,” Jensen said. “She hits it on the fairways and greens and she was just a difficult competitor to beat. Today was really fun to play with Paige because we have been playing together since we were 12 years old.”

Now the holder of the 2022 IGA Women’s Match Play Champion title, Jensen will write her name in the IGA Women’s Match Play history book.

The 2022 season continues as the women take on the IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series Event #2 at Honey Creek Golf Course in Boone on July 16th. You can follow the players using our live scoring feature.

Down to four at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play

Only four remain after day three of the IGA Men’s and Women’s Match Play Championships. Dylan Ellis, Willis Gaer, Nate McCoy and Ethan Mechling are all headed to the semifinal round of the men’s championship. Defending champion, Leanne Smith, along with Anna Jensen, Fiona Watson and Paige Hoffman are also set to compete in the semifinal round. 

The No. 1 seeded Ellis knocked off Chad Tracy in the round of 16 and took down a former IGA Match Play Champion, Jon Olson in the quarterfinal round. Ellis will take on Gaer to advance to the championship round. Gaer beat the No. 4 seed Chris James and Tony Birmingham to place him in the semifinal round. 

Mechling had a tough road to the semifinal round as he had to defeat Hunter Johnson and three-time IGA Match Play Champion Jon Brown. Mechling will face off against McCoy for a chance at a final round appearance. McCoy defeated Ben Pettitt and the 2020 IGA Match Play Champion, Connor Peck. 

On the women’s side, Smith (right) continues her streak of being unbeatable as she advances to the semifinal round yet again. Smith looks to make it four-straight IGA Women’s Match Play Championship titles, but the journey will not be easy. 

Smith will take on the 2021 IGA Girls’ Player of the Year in Hoffman. Hoffman won her match over Ruby Chou, in 21 holes. The two competitors will battle for a spot in the final round.

Jensen is trying to make a return to the championship round. She defeated the 2020 IGA Girls’ Junior Amateur and will take on Watson for a chance at redemption. Watson knocked off the No. 3 sed Christi Imsland and Tabitha Schumacher to earn her place in the semifinal round. 

The semifinal and the championship rounds will take place on Friday. You can follow the final matches for the IGA Match Play Championship and the IGA Women’s Match Play Championship using our live scoring feature. 

Men’s Final Four
Dylan Ellis
Willis Gaer
Nate McCoy
Ethan Mechling

Women’s Final Four
Leanne Smith
Anna Jensen
Fiona Watson
Paige Hoffman

Sixteen remain at IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play Championship

The Round 16 matches are set as day two wrapped up at the IGA Men’s and Women’s Match Play Championships. The No. 1 seeds, Dylan Ellis and Leanne Smith advanced to the Round of 16 with two victories on the day.

Ellis came into the championship with high levels of confidence and that has only continued to grow as he moves closer to the final round. After knocking off Gary Elli, 3&1, he defeated Shayne Allan, 3&2 and will face off against Chad Tracy tomorrow. 

Smith won her first match in dominating fashion over Rebecca Schroeder, 8&7. The three-time defending champion will move on to the round of 16 and take on Janece Schwartzkopf, who won her match over Des Moines, Kelly Grimes.  

The men’s championship will feature a rematch between defending champion, Joe Palmer and Jon Brown. Palmer bested Brown in the quarterfinal round at the Senior Match Play. The match went to the 19th hole where Palmer made par to take the victory. Brown looks to get his revenge over Palmer during tomorrow’s round. 

Connor Peck, the 2020 IGA Match Play Champion, advanced to the round of 16 where he will take on Sam Vertanen. Peck claimed wins over Cooper Hanson and Garrett Tighe to push him closer to another match play title. 

Last year’s runner-up, Anna Jensen, knocked off Carroll Dethrow to inch closer to that final round. Jensen will play Kathy Fortune, who defeated Jen Nemmers in a close match that was decided on the 17th hole.

The No. 3 seed Christi Imsland won her match over Jennifer Judge and is set to play Ann Slechta tomorrow. Coming off an NCAA Championship appearance, Ruby Chou advanced to the round of 16 with a win over Cindy Morrison. Chou is set to take on the No. 20 seed, Taylor Sedivec. 

Both men and women will be playing the Round of 16 and the quarterfinal rounds Thursday morning. You can follow the matches for the IGA Match Play Championship and the IGA Women’s Match Play Championship using our live scoring feature. 

Men’s, Women’s IGA Match Play bracket set

The stroke play portion of the IGA Match Play Championship concluded Tuesday evening. One half his year’s Four-Ball Champion team, Dylan Ellis, took home medalist honors and the No. 1 seed for the match play tournament with a five-under round of 67.

Ellis recorded five birdies in his first nine holes. At the turn, Ellis made a double on the hole one, but that did not stop him. In his final eight holes, Ellis went two-under par to take a three-shot lead over the field. 

Defending champion Joe Palmer will receive the No. 2 seed. Connor Peck, the 2020 champion, will go into the 64-player bracket with the No. 3 seed. Christ James will take the No. 4 seed and Joshua Manske rounds out the top-five. 

Anna Jensen and Leanne Smith shared stroke play medalist honors after firing rounds of 77. Last year, Smith defeated Jensen in the final round to earn her third-straight IGA Women’s Match Play Championship.

Christi Imsland earned the No. 3 seed with a 79 and Ruby Chou grabbed the No. 4 seed. The 2021 IGA Girls’ Player of the Year, Paige Hoffman holds the No. 5 seed to finish the top-five. 

The men will play the round of 64 and the round of 32 on Wednesday. The women will only play their first round. Follow the matches at the IGA Match Play Championship and the IGA Women’s Match Play Championship using the live scoring feature. 

Men’s Stroke Play Medalist
Dylan Ellis -5 67

Women’s Stroke Play Medalist
Anna Jensen +5 77
Leanne Smith +5 77

IGA Match Play, Women’s Match Play returns to Talons Golf

The prestigious 34th IGA Match Play Championship begins this week at a venue like no other, Talons Golf located in Ankeny. This event is a place where many of the best amateur golfers in the state compete for one of the most sought-after titles in Iowa, to be named the IGA Match Play Champion. 

The event consists of an 18-hole stroke play portion on Tuesday to decide the 64-player field. The Round of 64 begins on Wednesday with the Round of 32 to follow. The Round of 16 and the Quarterfinal Matches are set to take place on Thursday, with the Semifinal and Championship Matches to be played on Friday. 

Many questions remain coming into this week. Will Joe Palmer defend his title? Does Iowa Golf Hall of Famer Jon Brown capture his fourth victory at this event? Can the 2021 IGA Player of the Year, Nate McCoy take home his first IGA Match Play trophy?

With one of the strongest fields the championship has ever seen, the 2022 IGA Match Play title could end up in anyone’s hands. To keep up with one of the best amateur competitions in the state, use our live scoring feature for the 34th IGA Match Play Championship

A strong field is set for the 10th IGA Women’s Match Play. Coming off an NCAA Championship appearance, YiTing (Ruby) Chou is a force to be reckoned with. Chou will be paired alongside the 2021 IGA Junior Girls’ Amateur Champion, Tatum Depuydt. The three-time IGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year, Paige Hoffman will also be competing this week, and she is searching for her first IGA Women’s Match Play title. 

The 2021 IGA Women’s Player of the Year, Leanne Smith is ready to make it four-straight IGA Women’s Match Play victories. Since 2019, Smith has yet to lose a match in the tournament. Last year, Smith defeated Anna Jensen to claim her third match play title, but Jensen is in the field again and is looking for redemption. 

Smith and Jensen have been paired together in the stroke play portion, along with the 2022 IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series Event #1 winner, Fiona Watson. You can follow this powerful group and many other strong competitors using our live scoring feature during the 10th IGA Women’s Match Play

Defending IGA Match Play Champion
Joe Palmer

Defending IGA Women’s Match Play Champion
Leanne Smith

Smith wins 10th Iowa Women’s Match Play, defends her crown

Leanne Smith (pictured above) did it again at the 10th IGA Women’s Match Play Championship at Talons Golf in Ankeny. Smith has now won the last four IGA match play events she has entered (2019, IGA Women’s Match Play, 2020 IGA Women’s Match Play, 2021 Forever 39 Match Play and now the 2021 IGA Women’s Match Play).

“I really enjoy match play,” Smith said. “I know that I am going to mess up some holes and that I can recover on the next hole, so I just take it one hole at a time.”

The journey to back-to-back titles was not easy for Smith. In her earlier matches, she defeated Jolee Belzung, Kelly Grimes and Laura Leszczynski. Smith continued to dominate the competition as she made her way around the course.

Up next after dispatching Leszcynski on Thursday afternooon, Smith had to play two young competitors, Hannah Bermel and Anna Jensen, in her last two remaining matches. Smith was able to save par on the 18th hole to close out the match against Bermel in the morning after a back and forth battle.

“Hannah was so fun to play with and it is fun to watch her, and other players grow into who they are now,” Smith said.

After the match against Bermel, Smith knew would be playing Anna Jensen (right), who was the youngest player in the field (19). Jensen won her match against the No. 1 seed and stroke play medalist, Brooke Newell, and advanced to the final round.

The Smith and Jensen match started to heat up right away after Jensen won the first hole. This showed Smith that Jensen was there to compete, and that was exactly what she did. The two players battled back-and-forth all the way to the 16th hole where Smith made par to seal the victory and win her second straight IGA Women’s Match Play.

“Anna is super talented and will be a tough competitor for a long time and she is great for Iowa golf,” Smith said.

Smith’s match play record continues to grow in a positive manner, as she has added three new trophies to her collection in the last two years. However, her match play record is not the only thing growing as the Iowa Golf Association continues to host more and more talented women golfers.

Next up on the IGA schedule will be the U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Lake Panorama Golf Course in Panora This event will take place on Tuesday, July 6th with the IGA Women’s Four-Ball to follow.

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