Olson etches name in history at NW Am
Jon Olson held off a couple of out of state players to win his first Northwest Amateur title on Sunday. Olson, 40, of Ankeny, shot two rounds of 1-under-par 71 during Sunday’s 36-hole trek around Spencer Golf & Country Club to earn a three shot victory over Brett Benson of Bird Island, MN. Lucas Schaefebauer of Aberdeen, SD finished in solo third, four shots back of Olson.
The win places Olson in esteemed company amongst some of the greatest to ever play the “Iowa Circuit”. In Rick Brown’s recent book on the history of golf in Iowa, he identifies “Iowa’s Big Five” tournaments, which includes the Iowa Amateur, Northwest Amateur, Iowa Open, Iowa Masters and the Herman Sani Tournament. Olson’s win on Sunday gives him titles in four of the five events, joining just six other players to ever accomplish the feat – Jon Brown, Gene Elliott, John Leichty, Mike McCoy, Brad Schuchat, & Steve Spray. Only the Iowa Masters crown has evaded Olson to this point. No player has won all five.
Up by three shots heading into the final round, Olson did not get off to a great start, which was the exact opposite of Benson, his closest pursuer. Olson made a bogey on his first hole of the final round and then made a double bogey on 3 before coming back with a birdie at four. Meanwhile Benson was making birdie on three of his first four holes. That stretch flipped the lead as Olson went from three up to start the afternoon round to two back.
After that double bogey on three, Olson simply played smart, steady golf. In addition to the birdie at four, he carded a birdie at 7 to tie Benson heading into the final nine holes. Schaefbauer, who was three back after three rounds, posted 1 birdie and 8 pars to get within one of the two leaders thru 63 holes. Olson’s final nine holes were simply better than that of Benson and Shaefbauer. He shot a 2-under 34 while the others could each muster a 37, giving Olson the final cushion.
On the Senior side, Chris Kramer of West Des Moines was the champion, shooting rounds of 66-71 to finish six shots clear of Brian Verduyn of Polk City. Bret Taylor of Booneville finished in solo third.
The Senior competition of the Northwest Amateur is complete after 36 holes.
Kramer’s 66 on day one did not include a bogey. Over the two rounds he managed nine birdies and just two bogeys. Verduyn and Taylor both posted a 66 in their second rounds to make the move up the leaderboard.