After four days, the IGA/IWGA Match Play Championships are complete. Players qualified on Monday to earn a spot in the match play portion of competition, contested at Ackerman-Allen Course at Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
In the IGA division, 32 players qualified for match play and the semi-finals took place this morning. Noah Gillard faced Ethan Shepherd, both from Greenwood, Ind. Gillard defeated former high school teammate Shepherd, 3 and 2 to secure his spot in the finals. Playing one group behind, Brooks Snyder of West Lafayette defeated Jay Williams of Jeffersonville, 1-up and would face Gillard this afternoon for the title.
Gillard got off to a strong start, going 4-up in their opening six holes. It wasn’t until the par-4, 9th that Snyder was able to get one back – and Gillard headed to the back nine with a 3-up lead.
“I just played smart,” Gillard said. “I didn’t make anything worse than bogey this week, so that was really helpful.”
On 12, Gillard grabbed a 4-up lead for the second time today, and sealed Snyder’s fate with a birdie on the par-3, 13th to make the match dormie. Although Gillard would make bogey on 14, he was able to win on the 15th hole when Snyder conceded Gillard's par putt.
“I’m very blessed to be able to do what I do,” Gillard said. “I’ve been working really hard and my parents have been very supportive.”
This has been a tremendous summer for the University of Illinois junior, grabbing his second IGA title of the season, after winning a few weeks ago at the Indiana Amateur Championship at the Country Club of Indianapolis.
In the IWGA division, 16 players qualified for match play. Today’s finals included Jocelyn Bruch of Carmel and Daniela Ballesteros of West Lafayette. Like Gillard, Bruch also got off to a fast start this morning at Ackerman and was 3-up after 7 holes.
“I feel very comfortable on this course,” Bruch said. “I played consistently all week and it was really fun getting to play with future teammates of mine at Purdue.”
Bruch went on to win big, with a 6 and 4 finish over Ballesteros.
“I have never won an IWGA tournament before and the field was really strong, so it means a lot to me,” Bruch said.”
In the IGA Senior Division, 16 players qualified for match play. Terry Werner, Dyer, and Dave Williamson, Crawfordsville, faced off for the championship.
Williamson took a commanding lead, going 3-up through 11 holes, but Werner fought back until the very end. Through 14, Williamson was 2-up, and by hole 17, Williamson’s lead was only 1. With a two-putt par on 18, Williamson won the match with a 1-up finish.
“It's always an honor to play in these events,” Williamson said. “Being able to play against such great competitors, players, and friends is truly humbling and a lot of fun."
In the Super-Senior Divison, 16 players also made match play. Jerry Crouch, Indianapolis, and Peter Swanson, Noblesville, faced off today in the finals.
Through 11, Crouch was 3-up, and he never relinquished his lead. Swanson, did however, make it a great match getting within 1 on hole 16. The match finished on the par-3, 17th and Crouch won 2 and 1.
“It feels great to be back out on the course,” Crouch said. “I’ve been playing against these guys for years and it’s always fun to beat them because they’ve beat me too many times to count.”
Thank you to Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex for hosting this week’s event!