2017 marks 40th anniversary of historic championship
July 2017 – Des Moines, Iowa
By Bill Reed
The Heart of America Hickory Championship began in 1978 with Warren “Ole” Olson, the tourney originator.
Olson was from Denison, Iowa, and was a previous president of the Golf Collectors Society. This year’s tournament was the 40th edition and another GCS past president and Iowa resident, Bill Reed, keeps this staple of GCS Region 7 history alive and well.
The Open Division was hotly contested and Jeremy Wright, the new owner and president of Louisville Golf Company traveled from Kentucky and edged last years winner, Gary Youngberg of Ames, Iowa, by a stroke.
Mr. Wright, formerly of the Houston, Texas area shot 72 – 76 = 148. Mr. Youngberg shot 74 – 75 = 149. Kirk Watson, also of Ames, Iowa, shot 79 – 78 = 157 to claim the Bronze.
The Senior Division had Mike Harding of Terre Haute, Ind., claiming Gold with 70 -78 = 148. John Hutton of Blackhawk, Colo. shot 76 – 75 = 151 to capture Silver and Jim Fisher of Boone, Iowa, garnered the Bronze Medal with a 79 -76 = 151.
The Statesman Division had impressive numbers as well, proving that tourney competition doesn’t end for those of 70 years of age and older. The Statesman Champion was Bob Jones of Des Moines, Iowa, shooting 79 – 79 = 158. (Yes, you read that correctly: Bobby Jones, who won the Bob Jones Open in 2016 held at Hyperion Field Club in Des Moines, Iowa).
Max Hollon of Evansville, Ind., shot 80 – 80 = 160 for the Silver and Kelly Gay of the Des Moines area shot 79 – 90 = 169 to gather the Bronze.
The Open Reserve (net) Division had the following players in the top three spots:
Gary Swenson of Kelley, Iowa, in first place with 69 – 67 = 136
John Berggren of Kingwood, Texas, in 2nd with 67 – 70 = 137
Chris Palar of Ankeny, Iowa, at 3rd place with 68 – 70 = 138.
The Senior Reserve (net) top three finishers:
Chris Hardy of Port Byron, Ill., won the Gold with 65 – 64 = 129.
Dennis Olson of Long Grove, Iowa, claims the Silver with 61 – 70 = 131
David Rasey of Des Moines, Iowa, won the Bronze with 67 – 68 = 135
The Statesman Reserve Champion was Lloyd Slinglend of Trenton, Mich. shooting 65 – 69 = 134.
Jeanne Swenson of Kelley, Iowa, kept her continued hold on the Ladies Open Division winning the Gold shooting 89 – 90 = 179.
There were Men’s and Mixed Scramble Team Competition as well and the team of Russ Fisher of Des Moines, Iowa, Mike Enich of Pengilly, Minn., and Ray Walton and Chuck Collins, both of Indianola, Iowa, shot lights out and garnered the Gold with a 2 day total of 124, 16 strokes under par.
The 2nd place team included GCS Region 7 Director Ron Luster of Bellevue, Neb., Duane Baylor of Ralston, Neb., John McKenzie of Des Moines, Iowa and Chris Howe of Encino, Calif. Mr. Howe a representative of PBA Galleries, enjoyed his first ever hickory tournament.
The 3rd place team didn’t get much help from the tournament director ( Reed ) but Clayton Copple and John Ausen, both of the Des Moines area, were joined by Ms. Patti Pittenger of Blackhawk, Colo., and those three players combined their talents to claim the Bronze.
The Tournament Committee thanks all of those in attendance, and gives a loud shout out to the City of Des Moines and the entire professional staff who made our stay at Bright-Grandview Golf Course enjoyable and memorable. All of the meals were received eagerly and the course was in great condition in spite of near record high temperatures and heat conditions. This report is submitted by your humble Tourney Director and I personally want to thank the many players who assisted me in my efforts to “Honor the Game.”