Seven from Iowa set to complete at 66th U.S. Senior Amateur

Photo courtesy of Fred Vuich/USGA

Iowa is taking over Michigan on August 28, at the Country Club of Detroit. A total of seven fellow Iowans (one now living in North Carolina) have qualified for the 66th U.S. Senior Amateur Championship and will be headed to Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. This is the first time in recent memory, if not ever, that seven Iowans have made it to the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. A few Iowans had to qualify for a chance to compete at the highest level for Senior Amateurs, while three others earned exemptions.

Gary Ellis, of Norwalk, qualified in Williamsburg at Stone Creek Golf Club for a spot in his first ever USGA Championship. Ellis defeated Jim Butler on the first hole of a playoff. With an advantage off the tee, the long-hitting Ellis took advantage of the par-five playoff hole and was on the green in two.

Peosta’s, Jim Ihm was the second qualifier out of Madison, Wisconsin. Ihm fired a 72 at Blackhawk Country Club and earned his place at the U.S. Senior Amateur by two shots. Ihm was one shot behind Jim Doing, of Verona, Wisconsin, but he will try to one-up Doing this week in Michigan.

Scott Briggs, of Burlington, traveled to Quincy, Illinois to battle for a trip to Michigan. Briggs missed the qualifying spot by two shots, but he earned first alternate honors after defeating Harry Roberts, of St. Joseph, Missouri, in a playoff.

Briggs and Roberts were unaware at the time, but that playoff hole was the deciding factor for an entry into the U.S. Senior Amateur. Briggs was able to punch his ticket into the field at the Country Club of Detroit as an alternate.

Originally from Waverly, Joe Jaspers, who now resides in Huntersville, NC, qualified in Charlotte, NC., earning co-medalist honors with 69 (-2). Jaspers , who was a four-time all-Iowa Conference performer for Central College (IA), made three birdies against a lone bogey in his qualifying round.

Gene Elliott, of West Des Moines, earned an exemption into the championship for being the No. 2 ranked Senior in the world according to World Amateur Golf Rankings. Elliott has two impressive wins under his belt this season and would like to add a third at the U.S. Senior Amateur.

The 59-year-old won the Golfweek Senior Amateur Championship at the PGA West Stadium Course back in April. He also made the field at The Senior Open Presented by Rolex after winning the R&A Senior Amateur Championship. More recently, Elliott finished in a tie for second place at the Iowa Senior Amateur.

Back in 2018, Norwalk’s, Mike McCoy was a U.S. Senior Amateur semifinalist. Coming in 10th on the World Amateur Golf Rankings for senior qualifications, McCoy has also had a remarkable season.

In the month of June, McCoy won the George C. Thomas Invitational – Senior at Los Angeles Country Club. McCoy was able to carry over some of that confidence into the U.S. Senior Open Championship. Making the cut and finishing in 62nd place, McCoy was the fourth lowest amateur that week.

After the U.S. Senior Open Championship, McCoy began his run at the Iowa Amateur Championship that he previously won six times. He was chasing the leaders at the start of the final round, but a low-round of 63 propelled him into a fifth-place finish. He carried over that confidence into the Iowa Senior Amateur championship, where he won by five shots.

A man who knows how to win, in match play specifically, is headed to Michigan as well. Joe Palmer, of Norwalk, has been known as the match play king this season. He was the first player in IGA history to win the IGA Senior Match Play and the IGA Match Play in one season.

Palmer doesn’t just know how to succeed in match play, he has two second place finishes at the Iowa Senior Masters and the Herman Sani Senior Tournament. He is also the current leader for Iowa Senior Player of the Year and has won almost every event he has played in Iowa.

These seven Iowans are capable of making some noise in Michigan. You can follow alongside these players and the rest of the field on Saturday August 28th up until the final day of match play on September 2nd. The low 64 scores following stroke play will compete in match play to determine the 66th U.S. Senior Amateur Champion.

From left – Gary Ellis, Mike McCoy, Gene Elliott and Joe Palmer.

Click here to view stroke play qualifying tee times

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