Joe Palmer claims his fourth Iowa Senior Match Play title
Iowa Senior Match Play winner Joe Palmer
Iowa Senior Match Play winner Joe Palmer

When talking Iowa Golf, the names Gene Elliott and Mike McCoy often come up in the same sentence. Both players have achieved acclaim on a national scale, and won more than their share of state amateur and senior amateur titles. And when they partner together -- look out.

But another longtime competitive amateur (also from West Des Moines like Elliott and McCoy) name Joe Palmer just won his fourth Iowa Senior Match Play title, tying Elliott's total and bringing his total combined state senior win total to seven -- he's won three Senior Amateur stroke play titles as well.

Today at Iowa State University's Veenker Memorial Golf Course, Palmer defeated Bret Taylor of Boonville 4-and-3 in the morning, broke for lunch -- having a little extra rest because he played just 15 holes- -- and teed off again versus Tom Schill of Gowrie. That's a long day of golf for anyone, let alone a senior competitive golfer.

The match was tied through six holes, but Palmer built a 2-up lead by the end of nine holes and never looked back, winning 3-and-2. He played the equivalent of par golf on a relatively cool spring day.

"I’ve always had good luck on this golf course," said Palmer in an AmateurGolf.com interview. "I was able to tie for low qualifier, and never got down in any of my matches."

They say there are "courses for horses" (or is it the other way around?) and Palmer said he claimed one of his other four Senior Match Play titles at this year's host course, Iowa State's Veenker Memorial.

Palmer last won the Iowa Senior Match Play in 2018 -- that was one of his best years as a senior golfer. He qualified for the USGA Senior Am and advanced to match play, while picking up a 5th place finish in the Trans-Miss Senior and a 6th at the Carlton Woods Senior. At the end of the year, he was ranked 50th in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Player Rankings and was named the Iowa Senior Player of the Year.

Back then, nobody would have imagined there would be tournaments played with social distance guidelines. But that's where we find ourselves in 2020, and Palmer said that the Iowa Golf Association did an excellent job handling the situation. "Our qualifying was in twosomes and obviously all matches were in twosomes," said Palmer, describing the precautions taken. "Each player could walk or ride by himself and no caddies or spectators were allowed."

A couple of nice touches - the Iowa Golf Association tournament staff raked the bunkers and players were allowed to take out the pins -- using hand sanitizer after each hole.

As for senior golf in Iowa? Rest assured, if Elliott, McCoy, and Palmer picked one other Iowan to play a 4-man state senior match, they could go up against any state in the U.S.


Richard Gorbell, of Cedar Falls, won his first IGA Super-Senior championship when he defeated defending champion Steve Kahler, of Marion, in 19 holes. Gorbell did it with a birdie on the first extra hole.

View results for Iowa Senior Match Play
ABOUT THE Iowa Senior Match Play

Must be an active IGA Member and must have reached their 50th birthday. 18 hole qualifying round, from which the low 32 proceed the the Championship Bracket. Places 33-64 proceed to the President’s Bracket. The defending champion is exempt from the 18-hole qualifying round. The defending champion may choose to compete in the qualifying round to earn medalist honors but is assured of no lower than the #2 seed in Match Play.

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