Category: News

IGA bestows 2022 GTDSA upon Rick Brown

Rick Brown ponders the action in one of the hundreds of Iowa Golf Association tournaments over his 37-year career as a sports writer with The Des Moines Register.

A passion for the game. An appreciation and deep understanding of what it takes to play at a high level. A life-long love affair for the game. An ambassador for Iowa golf. Long-time Des Moines Register sportswriter/columnist and Iowa golf envoy Rick Brown embodies these qualities – and captures the spirit and essence of such by being honored with the Iowa Golf Association’s 2022 George Turner Distinguished Service Award.

For nearly 40 years, Brown served as Iowa’s foremost golf writer, columnist and historian in his role at the Register. The position took Brown to the pinnacle of golf’s professional events, covering nearly two dozen majors and three Ryder Cup contests, including the 2006 staging at the K Club in Klidare, Ireland, featuring the debut of Iowa native Zach Johnson. Two years later, Brown covered the 2008 Masters Tournament where Johnson was the defending champion.

“The entire Augusta experience was just awe-inspiring,” Brown said. “I grew up watching The Masters and dreaming of going down Magnolia Lane. To actually be there was surreal – I felt as though I was walking on air the entire week. And to see this kid (Johnson) from Cedar Rapids and Drake University compete against the best players in the world was phenomenal.” 

But Brown also relished his assignments covering Iowa’s major tournaments, such at The Fort Dodge Amateur, The Northwest Amateur, Herman Sani, The Iowa Masters and Iowa Amateur, among others.

“To be honest, I enjoyed covering Iowa’s tournaments just as much as the PGA Tour,” Brown stated. “I’ve always admired and respected Iowa’s top amateurs as they competed with their heart and soul. There’s nothing like being there on the final round of the tournament with the title on the line.”

Brown’s contributions to the IGA are extensive. In 2019, following a year of meticulous research, the book “Golden Harvest – Iowa’s Rich Golf History” was released. A 450-page treasure trove, the book traces the more than a century of the game’s history in Iowa, sharing remarkable stories and achievements.

“We owe Rick a debt of gratitude for the painstaking research he invested to tell our Iowa golf story,” noted Mike McCoy, Iowa’s most decorated amateur golfer.

Brown currently serves on the IGA’s Hall of Fame selection committee, communications committee and has written several stories for the website. 

Rick Brown poses with Iowa native Zach Johnson and the Claret Jug, symbolic of Johnson’s triumph in the 2015 Open Championship. Brown will receive the 2022 George Turner Distinguished Service Award at the IGA’s annual awards banquet December 8 at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona.

Brown retired in 2015 following a 37-year work career spent entirely at the Register. He was named Iowa Sportswriter of the Year 11 times as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and won six first-place writing awards from the Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors. He was inducted into the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Wall of Fame in 2016 and enshrined into the Iowa Golf Association’s Hall of Fame in 2017. 

A native of Fort Dodge, Brown’s career path may have been predestined. His late father, Bob Brown, served as sports editor of The Fort Dodge Messenger for many years. As a youngster, he would listen to athletic contests on the radio and keep a box score as the game was broadcast. As a high schooler, he worked the Messenger sports desk on Friday nights taking phone calls from coaches and writing capsule summaries of area football and basketball games. He spent two years at Iowa Central Community College before receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism from the University of Iowa. A 37-year career at The Des Moines Register began in 1978. Brown will be recognized during a ceremony on Thursday, December 8, at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona.

“Golf has been such a wonderful element of my life for so many decades,” Brown said.

Decorated Iowa golf sportswriter Rick Brown poses on the Hogan Bridge with the backdrop of Augusta National’s iconic 12th hole in the background. Brown was among a select group of golf writers who received the honor of playing Augusta National the day following the 2008 Masters Tournament.

Support the future of golf in Iowa on Giving Tuesday – Nov. 29th

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving back. Today, November 29, you’ll have the chance to join people around the world and support a cause close to your heart. This Giving Tuesday, help the Iowa Golf Association Foundation give the gift of golf and education to a junior golfer in the State of Iowa by supporting the Iowa Golf Association Foundation’s Youth on Course and/or Scholarship Programs.

At its most basic level, Youth on Course is a program that subsidizes rounds of golf for juniors at participating courses. In 2018 Iowa became the 21st state to offer Youth on Course.  It has now extended to all 50 states.

The concept is this: A junior boy or girl age 6 to 18 can join Youth on Course for a $15 yearly fee.  That gets them access to any participating Youth on Course facility (there are over 1,400 nationally) to play a round of golf for $5 or less.  Then the participating course receives an additional subsidy ($) for that round. To donate towards Youth on Course in Iowa visit https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E334279&id=14

The Iowa Golf Association Foundation also serves as host for two college scholarship programs – The Herman Sani Scholarship & the Ann Griffel Scholarship.

The Ann Griffel Scholarship was named after the long time IWGA President, Ann Griffel. Ann was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 2006 to honor her contributions to the game. Since 1963, 263 students have received this scholarship. The IGAF awards $2,000 Ann Griffel Scholarships to Iowa high school senior girls who intend to further their education at an Iowa institution of higher learning, whether a college, university or trade school.

The Herman Sani Scholarship was established in 1958 in memory of Herman Sani who had a passion for golf and for young people. As of 2021, 199 college-bound students have been awarded this four-year scholarship. Each recipient receives $8,000 ($2,000 per year) over a consecutive four-year period.

To donate and read more about each scholarship program visit https://iowagolf.org/scholarships/

Golf is a game of a lifetime. It takes us to beautiful places, provides us with exercise, helps instill values such as honesty, integrity, respect and sportsmanship – things that have served us all well in the game of life. As you think about making a donation, I ask that you reflect on what golf has done for you, where it has taken you, who you have met through the game, and how much you would like for a young boy or girl to have that same experience and opportunity.

The creation of Golf House Iowa will provide a permanent home to preserve, promote, and protect the game of golf in our great state. We plan to include the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, a space for educating golfers, areas to promote and teach the game, and office space for the Iowa Golf Association, IGA Foundation, Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association and First Tee – Central Iowa.

For more information and to donate towards Golf House Iowa visit https://iowagolf.org/golfhouseiowa/

2023 IGA schedule, USGA qualifying locations announced

The 2023 IGA Championship calendar has been released. The schedule includes a tremendous lineup of IGA Member Clubs that will serve as host sites for next year’s IGA championships and USGA Qualifiers. There will also be some changes to a few championships, including an expansion of the Iowa Mid-Amateur and the hosting of qualifying events for the Iowa Amateur.

The Iowa Amateur will return to Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines from July 24-26. This will be the second time Glen Oaks CC hosted the state’s biggest amateur event, having previously hosted in 2011 (won by Gene Elliott). Qualifying events will return for the Iowa Amateur Championship as well, the first time since Glen Oaks CC last hosted in 2011. There will be three sites across the state in July where players who are not exempt can attempt to qualify and make the field of 132 that will tee it up at Glen Oaks CC.

Glen Oaks CC will also be the home of Iowa’s U.S. Open Local qualifier in 2023. The club will host top amateurs and professionals on Monday, May 1, as they try to move on to the sectional round and, perhaps, the championship itself at Los Angeles Country Club.

The Iowa Women’s Amateur will return to Finkbine Golf Course, one of the top collegiate courses in the midwest, in Iowa City for the fourth time. Finkbine also hosted the Iowa Women’s Amateur in 2016 (won by Jessie Sindlinger), 2010 (Kristin Paulson) and 2001 (Mary Anne Locker). The 2023 edition will be played Sun-Tues, July 16-18.  Finkbine GC continues to make wonderful improvements to its facility, including a brand new clubhouse and updated practice facility.

Talons Golf in Ankeny will be the home of the men’s and women’s IGA Match Play Championships for the fourth straight year. The event will take place June 27-30. Talons Golf is a privately-owned course routed between beautiful rock-walled streams and covered bridges. As a popular venue for this event, many players, both men, and women, will look to add their names to the list of IGA Match Play champions.

The Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship will expand to 54 holes in 2023, allowing top finishers to receive World Amateur Golf Ranking points. Geneva Golf & Country Club in Muscatine will host the event next spring, May 18-20. Geneva G&CC has become a frequent stop for IGA events over the past few years, hosting the Senior Match Play in 2021 and U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying in 2022. They also were home to the annual Iowa Cup Matches in 2022 (hosted by the Iowa PGA) which featured many top amateurs.

The Herman Sani Tournament will return August 11-13, to Johnston’s Hyperion Field Club. Since 2013 the event has rotated between Echo Valley Country Club and Hyperion and continues to feature the state’s best amateur and professional golfers vying for the trophy. Hyperion will also be home to the annual Iowa Cup Matches that feature the state’s top amateurs and professionals competing in a “Ryder Cup Style” competition on Sept 28-29.

The Senior Amateur Championships will head to venues that have hosted IGA championships in the past but never these specific events. The Iowa Senior Women’s Amateur will be played at Prairie Links Golf Club in Waverly on August 6-7 while the Iowa Senior Amateur (Men’s) will be played at Dubuque Golf & Country Club on August 23-25.

In addition to those championships listed, the IGA will conduct events at the following venues – Burlington Golf Club (IGA Four-Ball – May 5-6), Lake Panorama Nat’l GC (IGA Senior Match Play – May 14-16), Echo Valley CC (Iowa Women’s Forever 39 Match Play – June 5-6), Jester Park Golf Course in Granger (Father/Son, Parent/Child – June 17-18), Pheasant Ridge Golf Course (Iowa Junior & Girls’ Junior Amateur – June 19-21), Elmcrest Country Club (IGA Women’s Club Team – Aug. 14), and Davenport Country Club (IGA Club Team – Oct. 2).

The IGA Women’s Four-Ball and Women’s Mid-Am Series events dates and locations will be announced at a later time. Those updates can be found by checking back to this release.

The IGA will also conduct and administer several USGA Qualifiers throughout the state in 2023. Here are the sites for this year’s qualifying events:
• Glen Oaks Country Club, West Des Moines – U.S. Open Local Qualifier – May 1
• Ames Golf & Country Club, Ames – U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier – June 12
• Coldwater Golf Links, Ames – U.S. Amateur Qualifier – July 10
• Des Moines Golf & CC (South), West Des Moines – U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier – July 27
• Beaver Hills Country Club, Cedar Falls – U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier – July 31
• Des Moines Golf & CC (North), West Des Moines – U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier – Aug 17
• Cedar Rapids Country Club, Cedar Rapids – U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Qualifier – Sept 11

Three qualifying events for the 121st Iowa Amateur will be held across the state. Those sites are as follows:
• Terrace Hills Golf Course (Altoona -Central qualifier) – July 5
• Ellis Golf Course (Cedar Rapids – East qualifier) – July 11
• BVU Golf Club at Lake Creek CC (Storm Lake – West qualifier) – July 12

Also new in 2023 will be a partnership with Strackaline to provide options for IGA players to purchase detailed yardage books and green guides at a discounted rate. More information will be forthcoming on that partnership after the first of the year.

Entries to all IGA Championships will be available in March.

Entries will be available for USGA Championships at a later date, which will be determined by the USGA and announced on their website.

2022 IGA Annual Awards, Player of the Year banquet scheduled

Open to the public

The IGA would like to announce to the public that the 2022 Annual Awards and Player of the Year Banquet is scheduled for Thursday, December 8, at Terrace Hills Golf Course, in Altoona (8700 NE 46th, Ave.).

The schedule of events for the evening will be:

  • 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. – Arrival and Registration
  • 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. – Social hour and food
  • 6:45 – 7:00 p.m. – Awards program begins
  • 9:00 p.m. – Award program ends

The cost for the evening’s event will be $40 and can be paid for via credit card over the phone or online by clicking here. You may reach out to the IGA Office at (515) 207-1062 to pay over the phone.

Deadline to register for the event is Tuesday, November 29, at 4:30 p.m.


Read more about each IGA Annual Award winner by clicking here.

Read more about each Player of the Year by following the links below.
Men’s Player of the Year (Open, Senior, Super Senior)
Women’s Player of the Year (Open, Senior)
Junior Player of the Year (Boys, Girls)

2022 Annual Awards announced

On Friday, October 28, the IGA Board of Directors named recipients of the 2022 Annual Awards in six categories. We are pleased to announce this year’s honorees.

9-Hole Superintendent – Scott Rohlfsen of Jesup Golf & Country Club
Scott Rohlfsen of Jesup Golf & Country Club is this year’s IGA 9-Hole Superintendent of the Year.

But truth be told, Rohlfsen takes care of more than just the nine holes at Jesup G&CC. Rohlfsen also keeps an eye on things at Maple Hills Country Club, Willow Run Country Club, Vinton Country Club and Dysart Country Club, while still providing top notch turf surfaces in Jesup.

“Scott and his crew have quickly gotten the course back open and in pristine condition,” member Shawn Even said. “When traveling to play at other courses and people ask where you’re from; we’re proud to say Jesup. Many times, members from other courses have noted that Scott is the Superintendent at Jesup and how much they love playing our course. You can truly tell Scott loves what he does.”

The Jesup G&CC Board of Directors had similar things to say regarding Rohlfsen’s efforts.

“We were ecstatic to hear that Scott had been nominated for 9-hole Superintendent of the Year,” the Jesup G&CC Board commented. “Scott is very deserving because of his hard work, attention to detail and dedication to keeping Jesup Golf & Country Club looking and playing immaculate. Not to mention, he manages four other golf courses.”

According to the board at Jesup G&CC, Rohlfsen has been vital to the success and smooth operation of the Jesup Golf & Country Club for many years now. His vast horticultural knowledge and preventative maintenance schedule has kept our course free from major diseases and minimized the unnecessary loss of trees.

One project in particular of note that Rohlfsen spearheaded was adding more tee markers and increasing the size of the tee boxes to accommodate all levels of golfers and has also improved the visual and playing aspects of the course by edging all bunkers and re-defining penalty areas.

“Scott was able to bring our course back to life and it looks better than ever,” Chad Schmadeke on behalf of Vinton Country Club said. “In spite of the city more than doubling our water rates, Scott was able to do this while adjusting our water use to keep us financially stable. He has shared equipment with us when ours breaks down, and he finds us needed equipment through industry contacts.”

Scott’s attention to detail and dedication to his craft are unmatched and the members of the clubs he cares for know just how lucky they are to have him.


18-Hole Superintendent – Anthony Mieske, Crow Valley Golf Club
Anthony Mieske, of Crow Valley Golf Club, has been named the IGA’s 2022 18-Hole Superintendent of the Year.

“Since joining the Crow Valley Golf Club team in 2018, Anthony has completely transformed our golf course to the healthiest, most pristine course it has ever been,” shared Three Carpenter, CCM, GM/COO Crow Valley Golf Club. “He has created a reputation as a great employer/boss in our community.”

Communication has been a key factor in Mieske’s success at Crow Valley Golf Club. He has provided education, awareness and understanding of what is happening on the course and why it is happening to the staff.

In July, Mieske had a tremendously successful week during the Iowa Amateur Championship. The attention to detail and work ethic during that week allowed Mieske to stand out. His leadership has raised the club’s level and everyone on the team.

Carpenter stated, “I spotted him near the driving range the Sunday evening before the event, on his hands and knees, trimming the grass!”


9-Hole Course of the Year – Gateway Recreation, Inc., Monroe
Gateway Recreation, Inc., in Monroe, has been named the IGA’s 2022 9-Hole Course of the Year.

The competitive levels are high at the Gateway Recreation golf course. Gateway Rec. is home to a jam-packed men’s league, a women’s league consisting of 30 teams and youth programs that include tournaments and camps.

“I have witnessed Gateway’s commitment to serving its community as a well-rounded 9-hole course. They have a very active board that coordinates a variety of activities and programs throughout the year,” said member, Kendra Kane.

The golf course is able to support their community through the off season events and the many fundraisers they host. Gateway Rec. continues to grow their membership and their staff.

“It is a very fun, family-oriented golf course that brings our community together,” shared Kane.


18-Hole Course of the Year – Fort Dodge Country Club
Fort Dodge Country Club has been named the IGA’s 2022 18-Hole Course of the Year.

Fort Dodge Country Club has been a treasured asset to the community as a high-quality environment for golfers and community involvement. With opportunities for all ages, Fort Dodge Country Club continues to stress the importance of being the foundation for members and the community around them.

“Our members are our top priority, but we also must continue to recruit new players and families to the country club. It’s a tremendous asset to our community,” said Steve Fuller, Fort Dodge Country Club General Manager and Golf Professional.

Home to the 75-year-old Fort Dodge Amateur, the golf course provides a test for all levels of golfers. Their high school and college tournaments and practices, along with fundraising and corporate events, are just a small portion of what this course has done.

With an up to date ‘Superintendent’s Corner’, Fort Dodge Country Club will always provide information to members and the community. The groundskeeping staff has worked continuously in cultivating the best quality experience for each member and attendee.

“One of the hidden gems in the Midwest. Great greens, well-manicured fairways and great prices,” member Kole Petersen said.


PGA Pro of the Year – Jeff Moore, Finkbine Golf Course
Jeff Moore, of Finkbine Golf Course, is the IGA’s 2022 PGA Professional of the Year.

As is the case year after year, Moore’s leadership and willingness  to help grow the game of golf in the state of Iowa is incredible.

“Jeff has been a wonderful PGA Professional at Finkbine Golf Course since 2010,” Greg Mason, Iowa PGA Section Executive Director said. “He has seen the growth of the facility (at Finkbine Golf Course) culminating in the construction of the new Nagle Family Clubhouse. He continues to lead a wonderful staff to support golf in Iowa City and the University of Iowa Golf Teams. He continues to support the IGA, Iowa PGA by hosting many events at this facility throughout the summer.”

Moore was instrumental in making the 2022 Iowa Junior Amateur, administered by the IGA, a success at Finkbine GC this summer.

“His staff is very loyal and that reflects on him,” IGA Board Member Randy Larson said.

Larson also commented that Moore’s work ethic and sincere personality go a long way in leading the efforts day in and day out at Finkbine GC.

Moore, who has been around the game of golf for more than 30 years, has been an active PGA member since 1993. What sets Moore apart according to make is his forward thinking to enhancing relationships for business development as improvements on the course and clubhouse continue and continually growing the game of golf through lesson programs and promoting the game as a fun, friendly, relaxed activity that can be enjoyed by all that visit Iowa City.


Club Manager of the Year – Deb Jaycox, Spencer Golf & Country Club
Deb Jaycox, of Spencer Golf & Country Club, has been named the IGA’s 2022 Club Manager of the Year.

Spencer Golf & CC’s Head Golf Professional, Adam Coates, said, “Deb joined our team in the fall of 2018 and has made an unbelievable impact to our club. We consistently had a total of 50 to 60 individual or family social members involved and our lowest level at 46 social members at the time Deb started. Today, we have 321 individuals or families involved as social members.”

With costs being cut and operations in an up-and-down state, Spencer Golf and Country Club was looking for a fix. Many people refer to Jaycox as “Wonder Woman” after the amazing job she has done to turn around the country club’s social aspect.

Long-time member of Spencer Golf and Country Club, Thomas R. Howe, stated, “What has happened since Fall of 2018 has been truly incredible and no club manager can possibly compare with what has been accomplished since our board’s hiring of Deb Jaycox.”

Jaycox’s hiring practices and work ethic has changed the overall atmosphere of the club. Jaycox has done more than turn the bar and restaurant around, she has transformed Spencer Golf and Country Club into the “place to be!”


NOTE – The IGA Annual Awards Banquet is scheduled for  Thursday, December 8, at Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona. We will communicate a schedule of events to the public, including price to attend, as soon as we finalize all of the remaining details. 

2022 IGA Player of the Year announced – Men’s

IGA Player of the Year – Nate McCoy

Nate McCoy has been named the IGA Men’s Player of the Year after one of the greatest seasons in the history of Iowa Golf. The now two-time IGA Player of the Year ran away with the title after compiling five victories this season.

McCoy opened the season with a win at The Classic in Marshalltown. He totaled 85 points in the stableford format to claim a three-point win. McCoy followed up his early success with a first-time win at the IGA Mid-Amateur Championship.

The next two tournaments, McCoy recorded a fourth-place finish at the Lake Creek Amateur along with a runner-up finish at the Carroll Amateur. Next on the schedule for McCoy was the Iowa Match Play Championship. 

Entering the 64-player bracket, the No. 11 seeded McCoy continued his success and dominated his early matches. Making it to the final round, McCoy had his toughest test yet against Willis Gaer. McCoy and Willis went back-and-forth, but McCoy was able to secure the win on the final hole and win his first Iowa Match Play Championship title. 

Coming off his Iowa Match Play Championship victory, McCoy traveled to the Fort Dodge Amateur and placed third overall. After recording his sixth top-five finish, McCoy was headed to a course he knew well, Veenker Memorial Golf Course. 

During the Iowa Masters, McCoy posted his lowest round of the year with a second round 64. This gave him a lead and McCoy never let it go. Winning his fourth tournament of the season gave McCoy a huge boost of confidence going into the Iowa Amateur Championship. 

After the first round, McCoy was tied for first place after carding a four-under 67. In round two, runner-up finisher, Nate Vance, crept into a tie for first alongside McCoy going into the final round. McCoy lit a switch during the final round and ran away with his first Iowa Amateur title.

Seeking a win in all four Iowa Golf Association major tournaments, McCoy wrapped up his season at the Herman Sani Tournament, where he finished tied for third place in the Amateur Division. Late in the final round, McCoy gave himself a shot at a win with a four-under 67. 

Now a two-time IGA Player of the Year, McCoy’s 2022 season was nothing short of spectacular. McCoy was able to win three of the Iowa Golf Association four major tournaments (IGA Mid-Amateur, Iowa Match Play, Iowa Amateur) and win the player of the year race by 747.5 points.


IGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year – Mike McCoy

Mike McCoy claimed his third IGA Senior Player of the Year title after a remarkable season. The 11-time IGA Player of the Year continues his dominance in the state of Iowa. McCoy took his 2022 season to the national level.

In July, McCoy joined Gene Elliott as an R&A Senior Amateur Champion. McCoy won the national championship by seven shots. His dominating performance overseas gave him 1,800 points in the IGA Senior Player of the Year race. 

Following McCoy’s national achievement, he placed inside the top-five in the Senior Division at the Herman Sani Tournament. McCoy fired a first round 71 and then back-to-back rounds of 75 to earn 155 player of the year points. 

With some positive momentum, McCoy went on to make the Round of 16 at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. With another 750 points added to his season total, McCoy started to gain a comfortable lead. 

To conclude the season, McCoy headed back to the U.S. Mid-Amateur, which he was crowned champion at in 2013. McCoy went on to make the match play portion of the championship but fell short in his first match. 

McCoy finished with a 795-point lead over the defending IGA Senior Player of the Year Champion, Joe Palmer. With 14 total player of the year titles, McCoy will only continue to make his mark in the history of Iowa Golf.


IGA Super Senior Player of the Year – Pat Ryan 

The 2021 IGA Super Senior Player of the Year does it again, but this time in a comeback fashion. Pat Ryan, of Marshalltown, earned the 2022 IGA Super Senior Player of the Year by 47.5 points over Rob Christensen. 

Ryan began his season with a seventh-place tie at the 37th Iowa Mid-Amateur Championship. Following his top-10 finish, Ryan went on to make a quarterfinal round appearance at the 20th IGA Senior Match Play. 

Heading south, Ryan grabbed his first victory of the season at the Southeast Iowa Amateur Championship. Ryan won by four shots after carding rounds of 75 and a final round 70 to finish with a 145 tally. 

Next, he placed inside the top-10 at the Fort Dodge Amateur and notched a round of 64 appearance at the 34th IGA Match Play Championship. Ryan’s season was off to a solid start, but there was still work to be done to catch the point leaders. 

Catching fire in early August was need for Ryan to make a run at back-to-back IGA Super Senior Player of the Year titles. Starting his late run with a win at the Iowa Open kept the door open for Ryan. 

Ryan punched in another victory at the Herman Sani Tournament, giving him the late lead in the points standings. Ryan closed out the race with a 12th place tie at the 44th Iowa Senior Amateur Championship and a tie for sixth place finish at the Briarwood Amateur.

2022 IGA Player of the Year announced – Women’s

IGA Women’s Player of the Year – Ruby Chou

Ruby Chou earned her first IGA Women’s Player of the Year title over the defending title holder, Leanne Smith. Chou’s season included a NCAA Women’s National Championship appearance and a top-15 finish at the Big 12 Championship. 

Chou earned her NCAA Women’s National Championship bid after a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Stanford Regional. Chou joined teammate Taglao Jeeravivitaporn as the two Cyclone individuals that qualified for the NCAA Women’s National Championship. 

As the season went on, Chou earned quarterfinalist honors at the IGA Women’s Match Play Championship. She claimed the No. 4 seed but was defeated by the 2021 Junior Girls’ Player of the Year, Paige Hoffman. 

Chou concluded her season with a win at the Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship at Cedar Rapids Country Club. This victory gave Chou 600 points to climb into first place in the IGA Women’s Player of the Year race. 

Now an Iowa Women’s Amateur Champion and an IGA Women’s Player of the Year, Chou has etched her name into Iowa Golf history with her impressive season. She was also able to write her name below the 2021 Iowa Women’s Amateur Champion and her sister, Joy Chou.


IGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Laura Leszczynski

Laura Leszczynski claimed her second-straight IGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year victory after another close race against Rose Kubesheski. The two competitors battled it out all season, but Leszczynski was able to make a late push and win back-to-back titles.

Leszczynski started off her year with a third-place finish in the Forever 39 Match Play Championship. She made it to the Championship Flight where she was defeated by Janis Owens. 

In the Senior Division at the 12th IGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship, Leszczynski and her partner, Cindy Morrison, finished second with rounds of 77 and 76. Following the IGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship, Leszczynski went on to make it to the Round of 16 in the IGA Women’s Match Play. This gave her another 100 points to her season total. 

Next on Leszczynski’s schedule was the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier where she finished as medalist. She went on to earn a third-place finish at the IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series Event #2. 

At the Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship, Leszczynski finished as the runner-up in the Senior Division. Still trailing Kubesheski, Leszczynski needed a solid showing at the Iowa Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.

With her first win of the season at the Senior Women’s Amateur, Leszczynski inched closer to a repeat performance. There were two tournaments left on her schedule. Leszczynski earned a top-10 finish at the IGA Women’s Club Team Championship, which put her five points behind Kubesheski. 

Now with one tournament remaining, Leszczynski had to make up a five-point deficit to claim the player of the year title. Alongside her partner, Kathy Fortune, Leszczynski was able to finish in fourth place at the IGA Women’s Mid-Am Series Event #3 and win the 2022 IGA Senior Women’s Player of the Year title.

2022 IGA Player of the Year announced – Junior

IGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year – Maxwell Tjoa

Maxwell Tjoa, of Cedar Falls, was nothing short of spectacular this season. The junior compiled six top-five finishes and one victory en route to a dominating win in the Iowa Golf Association Junior Boys’ Player of the Year standings. 

The 4A State Championship was first on the list of top-performances by Tjoa this season. He finished tied for fourth place and followed it up with a second-place tie at the Iowa PGA Spring Junior Open. 

During the American Junior Golf Association’s WestRock Coffee Junior Championship, Tjoa carded his lowest round of the year with a 66 on day one of the tournament. Tjoa went on to win the tournament by four shots and finished with a nine-under tally. 

Tjoa earned his fourth-straight top-five finish with a fourth-place finish at the John Deere Junior Classic Open. The top-five streak came to an end after a strong sixth-place finish at the Midwest Junior Championship. 

The Iowa Boys’ Junior PGA Championship was next on Tjoa’s schedule. He placed in a tie for second and went on to earn a sixth-place finish at the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at The Highlands. 

At Tjoa’s final AJGA event of the season, he carded rounds of 74, 69 and 71 to finish fourth at the Stan Utley and Mid-America Youth Golf Foundation Junior Championship. 

In Tjoa’s penultimate tournament, he earned second alternate honors at the Watertown, Wisconsin U.S. Amateur Qualifier. The conclusion to his season came with a made cut at the Junior PGA Championship. 

Tjoa’s accomplishments and strong play this season gave him an astounding 540.5-point lead in the Iowa Golf Association Junior Boys’ Player of the Year race at year’s end.


IGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year – Bella Pettersen

After an impressive season in 2022, North Liberty’s, Isabella Pettersen, made a name for herself, earning her first Iowa Golf Association Junior Girls’ Player of the Year title. 

Pettersen opened her year up with a third-place finish at the IGHSAU 4A State Tournament, firing rounds of 77 and 72 for a 149 total. She followed up her state tournament performance with a victory at the 12th IGA Women’s Four-Ball alongside partner, Addison Berg. 

Succeeding her victory at Veenker Memorial Golf Course for the IGA Women’s Four-Ball, Pettersen dominated the field at the Iowa Junior Girls’ Amateur Championship. She claimed the title by 11 shots over Lauren Briggs and Maura Peters. 

Up next for Pettersen was Iowa Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, where she finished inside the top-three for the fourth consecutive time this season. Pettersen went on to place 7th at the Iowa Women’s Amateur Championship.

Pettersen wrapped up the season with a fourth-place finish at the American Junior Golf Association’s Bass Pro Shops / Payne Stewart Junior Championship. Her impressive performances gave her a 320-point victory in the Iowa Golf Association Junior Girls’ Player of the Year race. 

‘Up and Down’ the Iowa Golf Scene – Kinney adjusts to life on tour

Kinney Packages Vigilance, Hard Work in Pursuit of PGA Tour Career

Whether he’s competed at junior golf, high school, amateur or Division I collegiate levels, Tripp Kinney (above left with Chris Baker) has always put full effort into strengthening his golf game. Such dedication and determination have paid dividends as Kinney has continued a pattern of advancing forward at all of golf’s various stages. 

Now playing golf professionally, the 25-year-old Iowa State graduate and Waukee native just completed his rookie season as a full-fledged member of the Korn Ferry Tour. Kinney recently sat down with Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene to share his experiences and future ultimate goal of playing golf on  the PGA Tour.

Tens of thousands share this dream, only hundreds achieve it, and the list includes just a handful of Iowans over the years. Kinney’s dream was ignited in 2007 when as a nine-year old he watched fellow Iowan Zach Johnson outduel Tiger Woods to win The Masters. It was bolstered during his freshman year at Iowa State as teammate and friend Nick Voke was preparing to launch his professional career. 

“I’ve always held the belief that I could play golf at the highest levels,” Kinney said. “I know my game is good enough, but you have to put everything together for four days, and then keep it going week in and week out.”

Kinney earned playing privileges on the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour by virtue of advancing through the first and second stage qualifying tournaments, then finishing in a tie for 14th in the Q-School finals. The top 40 finishers earn initial status and then earn additional starts throughout the season based on performance. The top finishers on the Korn Ferry money list then advance to the PGA Tour for the following season. 

Kinney played in 23 Korn Ferry events in 2022, made eight cuts and earned $33,237 to rank 148th on the money list. His top finish was a tie for 21st at the Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS in Springfield, IL, where he fired a 17-under par 267 total for 72 holes. His statistics were rock solid but underscore the challenge of playing professionally. Kinney’s stroke average was 70.73 to rank 115th, putts per round 30.16 to rank 141st, greens in regulation 70.22 to rank 61st. Kinney averaged 305.0 yards off the tee, and that ranked him 85th in driving distance. His driving accuracy was 67.63 percent to rank 12th, helping him to an overall ranking of 19th in total driving, one of his game’s strengths. 

“All things considered, I think it was a successful year,” Kinney said. “Yes, I wanted to finish higher up on the money list, but it was a great learning and growing experience and there are so other aspects of playing professional golf that don’t always have a numerical value attached to it – how to travel, what to do Monday through Wednesday, and who to hang out with.”

He credited fellow Cyclone golfers Chris Baker and Nick Voke for helping with the adjustments and to get ready for the competitive nature of the tour.

 “Every course is a bomber’s course,” Kinney remarked about how far he and his fellow competitors hit a golf ball. “People hit it far, extremely far out here. I don’t know if there’s a course we play where it’s a disadvantage for hitting it too far.”

There are also many other adjustments necessary to navigate life on a professional golf tour, mentally and physically. Kinney has worked exceptionally hard on his putting and noticed dramatic improvement over the course of the season. He has also been willing to make some minor swing adjustments in an effort to get better, as well as having sessions with a sports psychologist to get in the best frame of mind possible. 

“I’m not sure most amateur golfers understand just how hard this is, and that it is just like having a job,” Kinney said. “I spend eight to nine hours a day, playing, practicing, and working out. You also have to be willing to come out of your shell over the course of a long season and make the effort to strengthen your game or so many other players will pass you by.”

Sessions with a sports psychologist help with the mental aspect of the game and dealing with adversity.

“You can shoot five or six under for 36 holes and still miss the cut by a shot,” Kinney said. “You have to remember that you did not play bad golf and get ready for the next week. It’s crazy how small the margins are out here. With the way they set up the courses and tuck the pins, one foot on an approach shot can be the difference of having a 30-foot putt for birdie or a five-footer. These guys can hit a 210 yard 6-iron that lands softly to a corner pin. What separates the 10th ranked player on the money list and the 200th ranked player is much smaller than you might think.”

Kinney prepared for life as a golf professional by distinguishing himself at the junior, prep, collegiate and amateur levels. He is a two-time Iowa Junior Amateur champion, charted several high finishes at AJGA events and was a key factor in Waukee High School’s state tournament titles in 2014 ad 2015 by finishing second and third in the medalist. He qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Amateur and captured the 2018 Iowa Amateur title. At Iowa State, Kinney was a four-time academic All-Big 12 selection and participated in four NCAA Regional tournaments. He had 12 top ten finishes at ISU and his 72.65 career stroke average is fifth best in school history. 

For now, Kinney is back on the Korn Ferry qualifying school track for 2023, having just advanced through the first stage in Naperville, IL. The second stage is set for the second week in October and the finals are set for early November at The Landings Club in Savannah, GA.

“In the short-term, I will do my best to get back on the Korn Ferry Tour,” Kinney said. “My longer-range goal is to get a PGA Tour card. And to keep getting better every day and master a game that is impossible to master.” 


“Up and Down” the Iowa Golf Scene

A regular feature column written by IGA Foundation board member Mark Gambaiana, Up and Down the Iowa Golf Scene is designed to take the reader beyond the headlines and scoreboards to share stories of those who help make Iowa golf so rich and rewarding. Profiles will spotlight those who advance the game through volunteerism, service, extraordinary achievement, competition, human interest and the many other dimensions of golf in Iowa.

Click the links below to read previous Up and Down features
– IGA Rules Official Sean Flanders
– R&A, USGA Champion Gene Elliott
– Nervig Reflects on Decades of Service to The Iowa Masters
Arseneault Finds Fulfillment in Life’s Next Chapter After Competitive Golf
Ivan Miller remembers the days of the Minnows

IPGA claims 55th Iowa Cup, Amateurs go down swinging

The Iowa PGA Section claimed the 55th edition of the Iowa Cup Matches over the Iowa Golf Association (pictured above), but the amateur didn’t do down without a fight.

The championship came down to the last hole where Sean McCarty topped the amateur, Nate McCoy, to secure the victory for the Iowa PGA. 

To begin this historical tournament, the Iowa PGA grabbed an early one-point lead with a 5.5-4.5 win in the Four-Ball portion. McCarty and Ryan McClintock gave the Iowa PGA the first point to start off with an early lead. 

The IGA stormed back in the Foursome portion, finishing day one with a four-point lead. With seven wins out of the 10 possible matches, the IGA went into the singles matches with their confidence levels at an all-time high. 

After the first five matches, the Iowa PGA closed the four-point gap and they were only down one-point. The IGA’s one-point victory did not last long, as the Iowa PGA claimed four wins out of the following five matches. 

Now holding a two-point lead, the Iowa PGA could see the Iowa Cup Matches title in the distance. However, the IGA did not quit. Three-straight wins came from Dusty Stewart, Aaron O’Brien and Ethan Mechling gave the IGA a one-point lead. 

Coming down the stretch, the Iowa PGA Section tied it back up with three of five matches. With one match remaining, it came down to McCoy and McCarty. After battling back-and-forth, the match that decided it all came down to the last hole where McCarty was able to gain the advantage and seal the deal for the Iowa PGA. 


Overall Standings:
IGA – 19.5
Iowa PGA – 20.5

Singles:
IGA – 7.5
Iowa PGA – 12.5 

Foursome:
IGA – 7.5
Iowa PGA – 2.5

Four-Ball:
IGA – 4.5
Iowa PGA – 5.5

 

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