Category: USGA

Defending champion, 7 Other USGA Champs Into Round of 32 at CRCC

Defending champion Lara Tennant, of Portland, Ore., rolled in a nerve-wracking 4-foot bogey putt to halve the 18th hole on Monday and seal a 1-up victory over Susan West, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Cedar Rapids Country Club.

Tennant birdied the par-5 15th hole for a 3-up lead with three holes to play, but she was bunkered on No. 16 and three-putted No. 17 for bogeys to West’s pars, bringing the match to the uphill, 320-yard, par-4 18th. Tennant’s approach shot left her with a daunting putt from the left side of the green, and she left it 18 inches from the hole. Tennant barely tapped the sliding, sidehill putt, but it missed the hole and ended up 4 feet past. She made the comebacker for bogey to halve the hole and win, 1 up.

“It’s one of those greens that I don’t think anybody is going to figure out,” said Tennant, 52, of the closing hole on the Donald Ross-designed course. “Maybe my goal the rest of the week should be to try to finish my matches before 18.”

No. 1 seed Martha Leach, of Hebron, Ky., completed her opening match on the 14th hole, notching a 6-and-4 victory over Jane Curtin, of Silver Spring, Md., after earning medalist honors in stroke play for the first time in her 71 USGA championship starts.

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U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur moves on to match play

Martha Leach, of Hebron, Ky., who is competing in her 71st USGA championship, shot a second-round 73 on Sunday for a 36-hole total of 1-under-par 143 to earn stroke-play medalist honors in the 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Cedar Rapids Country Club (pictured above).

Leach, 57, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, edged Ellen Port and Mary Ann Hayward of Canada by two strokes for the No. 1 seed in match play, which begins on Monday. Port, of St. Louis, Mo., a seven-time USGA champion, and Hayward, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, completed two rounds at 1-over 145. It was Leach’s first medalist honor in her 71 USGA championships—and while it’s a proud accomplishment, it’s sometimes seen as unlucky.

“I’m not low, am I?” Leach joked after she completed her round, in which she played with Hayward and 2002 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, who finished alone in fourth place at 2-over 146. “Nobody really wants it. My compadres today were hoping that I got it and they didn’t get it.”

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Iowa well represented at U.S. Senior Amateur Championship

The state of Iowa will have a total of four competitors at this year’s U.S. Senior Amateur to be played at Old Chatham Golf Club, Durham, NC (pictured above).

The 65th U.S. Senior Amateur Championship will be contested Aug. 24-29 at Old Chatham Golf Club, with 156 of the best players 55 years of age and older competing to have their named engraved on the Frederick L. Dold Trophy.

Representing Iowa will be Gene Elliot (West Des Moines), Joe Palmer (Norwalk), Mike McCoy (Norwalk) and Sam Billmeyer (Ankeny).

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Olson, Anderson earn spots into U.S. Mid-Amateur at Glen Oaks CC

Jon Olson (right) and J.D. Anderson (left) earned the two qualifying spots at today’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Sectional Qualifier a Glen Oaks Country Club.

Olson put together a round of 69 (-2) to earn medalist honors. Olson made a total of seven birdies on the day. Anderson posted 71 (E) to secure the second qualifying spot by a shot over four other players.

“I played well and I made a really good putt on #1 to get started.,” Olson said. “I didn’t look where I stood until #17. The weather was great today and golf course was as good I has ever seen it. I had a good lesson with Mark Atchison last week that really helped me today.”

Scot Cook was earned 1st alternate and Topher Baron was 2nd alternate by way of a playoff following the qualifying round.

The 39th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will be held at Colorado Golf Club, Parker, CO, September 14-19. CommonGround Golf Course, in Aurora, CO, will serve as the Stroke-Play Co-Host venue. Olson and Anderson will join Iowa’s Mike McCoy and Gene Elliott who are exempt into the event already.

“I went to college in Colorado, so this has been on my radar,” Olson said.

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U.S. Senior Amateur, Senior Women’s Amateur Sectional Qualifier held at CRCC

Sam Billmeyer (above), of Ankeny, IA, punched his ticket to the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur after firing an even par 72 at Cedar Rapids Country Club. Billmeyer’s round was highlighted by four consecutive birdies on holes three through six which helped him make the turn in 3 under par 33. James Butler, of Fort Madison, IA, also shot 72. Butler had two birdies on the day, coming on the 3rd and 8th holes. With his runner-up finish, he claims the first alternate spot.

The U.S. Senior Amateur will take place August 24-29 at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina.

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From left – Leeann Fairlie, Therese Quinn and Susan Marchese.

Heidi Person (left)

Sixteen women from across the United States teed it up today for a chance to make it to the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur. With four spots on the line, Therese Quinn, Jacksonville, FL, Heidi Person, Pauma Valley, CA, Leeann Fairlie, Oklahoma City, OK, and Susan Marchese, Omaha, NE, all punched their tickets to the national championship. Therese Quinn fired a 7 over par 79 to claim medalist honors. Her round was highlighted by a birdie on the 10th hole. Heidi Person shot a 9 over par 81, Leeann Fairlie and Susan Marchese both shot 10 par over 82.

The U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur will take place August 24-29 at Cedar Rapids Country Club.

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Feldick, McCoy qualify for U.S. Amateur at Wakonda Club

When the dust had settled at Wakonda Club after 36 holes of golf, Cedar Falls’ Jonathan Feldick (69-72) and Ankeny’s Nate McCoy (71-71) grabbed the two spots available into the U.S. Amateur on Monday.

Each player took different roads to earn their spot to Pinehurst however.

Feldick (pictured above), who was medalist, rode a rollercoaster for most of the afternoon finishing with 11 birdies over his 36 holes. Meanwhile, McCoy settled for a bushel basket of pars, making 32 on the day. McCoy then survived a playoff against Sam Vincent, of Ames, to secure his spot into the U.S. Amateur.

“I just tried to keep it in play off the tee,” Feldick said. “I struggled with that though, but I putted well today and I finished strong. I birdied the last two holes (this afternoon). It has been a life-long dream of mine to qualify for the U.S. Amateur. Wakonda Club has been good to me, I qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur when I was 17 here. I can’t be happier, I am shocked to be honest.”

Feldick, who opened with 69 (-3) in the morning, said he didn’t really have a number in mind in the afternoon, he just knew he couldn’t let up.

“I didn’t have a number in mind,” Feldick said. “Luckily I birdied the last two holes to finish even (for the afternoon round). I just wanted to get back to even and finish strong, other than that I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could.”

McCoy (right) admitted he simply could not get a birdie putt to find the bottom of the cup

“I had 32 pars today,” McCoy said. “I was getting frustrated out there actually, I just couldn’t get a putt to fall. When you’re stuck around even par you feel like people are passing you. I gave myself a lot of opportunities, but I just couldn’t get any to drop. The greens were tough and I was grinding a lot.”

McCoy admitted that playing with Vincent (1st Alternate via the playoff loss) was enjoyable and kept his mind sharp the whole day.

“I had a ton of fun playing with Sam,” McCoy said. “I knew he was going to be tough. I just tried to stay even with him most of the day.”

Nate will also join his dad, Mike, who is exempt into the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst. It is believed to be only the fourth time a father/son dou has played in the same U.S. Amateur. Nate commented that it will be a special week for sure in North Carolina , August 11-18.

“He (my dad) kept telling me to go punch your ticket,” Nate McCoy said. “I hope we can play a few practice rounds together. Hopefully it will make my hotel rental a little cheaper. It might be a win-win for me.”

Earning Second Alternate was Ankeny’s Jon Olson.

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Inside the Ropes at the U.S. Senior Open – From a Caddie’s Perspective

Staff Note: Mark Gambaiana, a member of the Iowa Golf Association Foundation Board, will be sending periodic reports this week from his experience as a caddie at the 40th U.S. Senior Open set for June 27-30, at the University of Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.

Friday, June 28
Iowans Mike McCoy and Jay Gregory battled valiantly but fell just short in a quest to play the weekend at the 40th U.S. Senior Open at the University of Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course Friday. McCoy fired his second consecutive 71 to post a two-over par 142. Exactly 60 players shot 141 or better to make the cut as the USGA trimmed the 156-player field to the low 60 and ties.

McCoy birdied the 404 yard par-4 ninth hole…his 18th of the day but fell short by the narrowest of margins. He was the low amateur for the tournament. McCoy’s round of 71 Thursday was spiced by a hole-out for eagle on the par-4 13th hole. Gregory shot a pair of 72’s to post a 144 and finish in a tie for 81st. He was tied for the second lowest amateur score.

A star-studded leaderboard will produce an exciting weekend finish. Steve Stricker backed up an opening round 62 with a 64 Friday for an unheard of U.S. Open two-day total of 14-under par 126. Right behind are Jerry Kelly, David Toms and Retief Goosen.

A rough start for my player, Roger Rowland of Jacksonville, FL proved too much to overcome as he shot a second day 75 for two-day total of 146. Being inside the ropes was a magnificent experience for yours truly. I’ve followed these players throughout their careers and having a front row seat only deepened my appreciation for their playing ability. There’s such a fine line that separates the pack.


Wednesday, June 26
Final practice preparations are wrapping up as the 40th U.S. Senior Open begins Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday’s practice round provided an wonderful illustration of the melting pot of players assembled to compete for this championship. Our foursome included a pair of golf celebrities and a pair of journeymen who have toiled for years on the mini and satellite tours.

Two-time U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen joined our group and put on an impressive display of shotmaking. Fresh off a playoff loss to Jerry Kelly in last week’s American Family Insurance Championship, Goosen has to be considered one of the favorites this week. His length, accuracy and distance control were spectacular. Another newly minted 50-year old, Gary Nicklaus, showed good form with his 18-year old son, G.T., on the bag. Son of the golf legend, Gary played three years on the PGA Tour and has competed in a handful of 2019 Champions Tour events via sponsor exemptions, including the Principal Charity Classic. Bowling Green, KY resident David Plumb rounded out the group. Like my player, Roger Rowland, David spent a handful of years on the Nike Tour but the majority of his career on mini tours.

I connected with Mike McCoy (pictured right) Wednesday morning as he was warming up on the range. Mike plays at 9:31 a.m. Thursday morning with Tom Werkmeister of Grandville, MI and Kevin King of Bluffton, SC.

I have a new appreciation for the work of caddies. It seems glamorous from the perimeter (and it is) but it’s also hard work and you have to hustle, especially between shots. Thank goodness the Warren Golf Course is relatively flat and not much distance between greens and tees. It’s also great to see how the status of caddies has elevated over the years. There’s an air conditioned tent for caddies, meals and refreshments provided and a wellness center right next door. The caddies of yesteryear didn’t enjoy such creature comforts.


Tuesday, June 25
Activity at the U.S. Senior Open moved into high gear Tuesday as the 156-player field took advantage of beautiful weather for a full day of practice rounds. Players found the 6,943 yard, Par 70 Warren Golf Course a stern test. The layout features small, contoured and well protected greens which should produce an exciting championship. The 450 yard par 4 third hole, the 492 yard par 4 fourth hole and the 239 yard par 3 fifth hole provide an early round challenge.

There are so many distinguishing aspects of this tournament – you can see the game’s legends of yesteryear…Watson, Langer, Jimenez, Singh…hitting balls on the range next to amateurs and journeyman professionals who earned their spot through open qualifying.

Lineville, Iowa’s Jay Gregory (pictured right) had a great thrill today, playing a practice round with Tom Watson and Stephen Ames. A Hamilton, MO native (hometown of JC Penney) Gregory played college golf at William Jewell and is the pride of Lineville, population 217, which sits on the Missouri border.

Watson, still spry at age 69, is joined in the super senior category by veteran Dick Mast, who also belies his age at 68.

Tomorrow I hope to check in with Iowa’s other representative, Mike McCoy.


Monday, June 24
Twenty-eight years ago this summer, I caddied for a budding young golf professional from Florida at the 1991 Ben Hogan Dakota Dunes Open in Sioux City. History will repeat itself this week as I will again caddie for Roger Rowland, this time at the 2019 U.S. Senior Open.

Roger is the ultimate golf journeyman, having persevered on multiple golf tours over three decades as a golf professional to get to this point – qualifying for his first major championship. His career began with moderate success on the Ben Hogan and Nike Tours in the 1990’s, including 117 events played, 61 cuts made, a pair of runner-up finishes and a high finish of 33rd on the money list. Later he played on the Tommy Armour Tour, NGA Hooters Tour, Florida Golf Association Tour and now competes on the Sunbelt Senior Tour, a place where senior professionals keep their games sharp while making the difficult attempt to gain status on the Champions Tour. In all, Roger has won more than 80 mini-tour events.

Last year, Roger made a strong showing at the PGA Champions Tour Qualifying School by finishing in a tie for 13th. Only the top five players earn exempt status however, and the rest are relegated to Monday qualifying where fields of anywhere from 30 to 70 players vie for four spots. He has played the sum total of one Champions Tour event, that being the 2018 SAS Championship where he emerged from the Monday qualifier and finished in a tie for 43rd.

This week, Roger is hoping his determination and persistence will parlay into more status on the Champions Tour. We play at 3:06 p.m. Thursday and 9:31 a.m. Friday.

Iowa Representation
Iowa golf will have a distinct flavor at the U.S. Senior Open as Mike McCoy of Norwalk and Jay Gregory of Lineville are among 20 amateurs in the 156-player field at the U.S. Senior Open. McCoy, a veteran of USGA Championships, punched his ticket into the field by his participation in the 2015 Walker Cup competition while Gregory may have been the last player into the field when he emerged from a playoff for the final spot at the last qualifier held on June 11 at the Golf Club at Creekmoor in Raytown, MO.

McCoy plays at 9:31 a.m. (all times Eastern) on Thursday and 3:06 p.m. Friday while Gregory steps on the tee at 1:11 p.m. Thursday afternoon and 7:46 a.m. Friday morning. All players will play 18 holes of stroke play June 27-28 after which the field will be reduced to the low 60 scores and ties for weekend competition.

Iowa’s Garside, Bowser grab U.S. Junior spots in Illinois

Bettendorf’s Matthew Garside (above left) and Urbandale’s Jarred Bowser (above right) grabbed two of the three qualifying spots at the U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier held at Urbana Country Club, Urbana, IL on Thursday, June 20.

Garside earned medalist honors with a round of 69 (-3), which included a blistering 31 on the front nine. Bowser earned the third and final qualifying spot with an even par round of 72, which included a trio of birdies.

The U.S. Junior Amateur will be played at Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio, on July 15-20.

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Salyers, Curran qualify for U.S. Junior Amateur at Spirit Hollow GC

Spirit Hollow Golf Course was a firm test for players in today’s U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifier. Mix in rain and wind off and on most of the day, the course simply played tough.

Drew Salyers (above left), of Howard, OH, posted an even round 72, that included four birdies on the day to help offset four bogeys, to earn medalist honors. His bogeys came in a four hole stretch on (#6-9). Salyers turned in 39 and was able to shoot 33 (-3) on the back nine.

“I was playing pretty good to start the day,” Salyers said. “Then I got a little off the rails little bit, but started putted well on the back nine. I kept doing what I was doing and got it done. The qualifiers in Ohio didn’t know out for me due to scheduling conflicts. This course looked good to me.”

Sean Curran (above right), of New Lenox, IL, had a fine day as well, shooting 74 (+2) to claim the second and final qualifying spot. Curran who was under par after the opening nine holes (35), however made three bogeys coming in, but his 74 was still good enough.

Overall a total of 14 players were able to break 80 on a tough, challenging day.

Matthew Briggs, of Burlington, and Zach Place, of Roselle, IL, both shot 75 (+3) to finished a shot behind Curran. Briggs won the playoff for first alternate on the third playoff hole with a birdie. Place will be second alternate.

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‘Golf’s Longest Day’ to include several from, with ties to Iowa

Known by many as ‘Golf’s Longest Day’, several player from or with connection to the state of Iowa will compete at Sectional Qualifying for the U.S. Open. Those entered will compete over 36 holes to qualify for the 119th U.S. Open Championship, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif., June 13-16.

Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club
Purchase, N.Y.
– Mike McCoy, Norwalk

Brookside Golf & Country Club and Scioto Country Club
Columbus, Ohio
– Charles Jahn, Sperry
– Sean McCarty, Solon
– Brian Bullington, Former University of Iowa player

Springfield Country Club
Springfield, Ohio
– Frank Lindwall, Cedar Rapids
– Carson Schaake, Former University of Iowa player

Note – Former Iowa State University golfer Denzel Ieremia participated in the Sectional Qualifier at Bent Tree Country Club and Northwood Club on May 20, but was unable to advance.

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