Fisher plays steady, wins 73rd Herman Sani Tournament

Professional, Darin Fisher (above), finished out with 10-straight pars to seal the deal and win the 73rd Herman Sani Tournament on Sunday, held at Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk.

The first round gave the (now) two-time Herman Sani Tournament champion zero fits as he put together a bogey-free, three-under round of 68. That momentum changed as the second round came around the corner.

“I started off with bogey on the first hole during my second round, so I said, ‘I guess today was going to be one of those where you throw in a few bogeys and make a few birdies’,” Fisher said.

Fisher recorded three bogeys and five birdies to finished tied for the lead going into the final round.

On Fisher’s opening nine, he opened with a one-under 34 to give him a four-shot lead over the low-amateur, Connor Peck. As the two competitors made the turn, Connor found himself two-back after two more birdies on 10 and 13. 

As Fisher approached the 16th hole, he was left with a ‘knee-knocker’ to save his par. The putt hit the back of the cup and fell, leaving Fisher with a two-shot lead with two holes to play.

“That putt was big,” Fisher said. “I was totally fooled on the downhill part of that putt, but I told myself, ‘You’re going to make this, you’re going to make this,’ and I stayed positive, and I just rolled that thing in.”

With pars on 17 and 18, Fisher claimed his second Herman Sani Tournament title.

“This tournament is so great,” Fisher said. “There are so many great players in this event. I won at Hyperion before and so it is great to know now that my game travels here. I love winning events that Chad (Pitts) and his staff run. I am just really proud.”

Peck (right) made a run at the overall title, but late bogeys altered his plans and sent him to a playoff with Anthony Ruthey for the low-amateur title. 

“I made five on 17 and five on 18 so I felt like I gave away two at the end,” Peck said. “It worked out in the end; Anthony and I had a good playoff.”

Peck won the fourth playoff hole to seal the victory and conclude an impressive week. 

Defending champion, Jay Gregory does it again in the Senior Division. Knocking off the Norwalk native and 2021 IGA Senior Player of the Year, Joe Palmer, for the second straight year is a feat in itself. 

“This win is special,” Gregory said. “I look forward to coming back next year and trying to three-peat.”

Gregory’s scores were about as consistent as they could get, tallying rounds of 71, 70 and a final 70 to keep the trophy in his possession. 

“There so many good players,” Gregory said. “Playing in any IGA tournament is tough. I was hitting the ball well all week and I finally made some putts today; I was kind of struggling the last two days.”

Palmer finished one shot back of Gregory (right) at one-under par for the week. Early bogeys on the card left Palmer hanging on as Gregory jumped out of the gate with three birdies on his first nine holes. 

Jeff Collett, the 2022 IGA Match Play Champion, took third place. Collett ended his tournament run with a six-over total and a 74 on the final day. The 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier, Curtis Holck, was the fourth-place finisher at seven-over par.

Wrapping up the Senior Division’s top-five was the 2023 Walker Cup Captain, Mike McCoy, and former Iowa Amateur Champion, Brian Verduyn. The two historic Iowa golfers carded eight-over tallies for the week.

The 2021 Super Senior Player of the Year, Pat Ryan, marches to the finish line in an impressive fashion. Ryan was down five shots after round one, but dug deep and fought to claim the Super Senior Division title. 

“I wanted to win this more than any other tournament,” Ryan said. “Thanks to the Iowa Golf Association and Echo Valley Country Club, this place was fantastic. It means a lot to me.”

A birdie on the 16th and a par on his 17th hole gave Ryan (right) the two stroke lead over the runner-up finisher, Robert Pomerantz. Ryan had been searching for a lead all week and for it to appear just in time showed the strength Ryan brought to the table. 

Rob Christensen took third place after tying Tom Schill for the low round of the day. Christensen carded a 71 to sneak back into contention. Joel Yunek and Jim Madsen round out the top-five with an 11-over tally. 

The 61st IGA Women’s Club Team Championship begins today. Follow our live scoring feature and find out which club shines the brightest at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids. 

Open Division
1. Darin Fisher 68-69-70=207
T2. Connor Peck 69-72-69=210
T2. Anthony Ruthey 67-72-71=210
T2. Matthew Walker 68-74-68=210
5. Matthew Jennings 67-74-70=211

Amateur Division
1. Connor Peck 69-72-69=210 *Won Playoff*
2. Anthony Ruthey 67-72-71=210
T3. Nate McCoy 72-73-67=212
T3. Sam Vertanen 71-67-74=212
5. Ian Meyer 66-77-70=213

Senior Division
1. Jay Gregory 71-70-70=211
2. Joe Palmer 71-68-73=212
3. Jeff Collett 72-73-74=219
4. Curtis Holck 72-70-78=220
T5. Mike McCoy 71-75-75=221
T5. Brian Verduyn 74-70-77=221

Super Senior Division
1. Pat Ryan 76-70-73=219
2. Robert Pomerantz 75-73-72=220
3. Rob Christensen 76-74-71=221
T4. Joel Yunek 73-75-76=224
T4. Jim Madsen 72-72-80=224

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