ANKENY — Ottumwa natives Dusty Stewart, Jeff Collett, Cale Leonard and Aaron O’Brien joined the field in 32nd annual Iowa Golfers Association Match Play Championship.
After two days of play, Leonard has emerged among the final 16 golfers still in line to capture the title. After earning the 11th seed in the round of 64, the soon-to-be Ottumwa High School junior topped Waterloo native Trevor Heinen 3 and 1 to advance to the round of 32 later on Tuesday.
Leonard faced another southern Iowa golfer, Kaleb Hagge of Morning Sun, on Tuesday afternoon at the Talons of Tuscany Golf Club. Leonard advanced, winning 2-up to earn a spot in the round of 16 on Wednesday morning.
Stewart set the pace during stroke play qualifying on Monday, blistering the course making six birdies on his way to a round of 67 (-5) in hot and windy conditions.
Defending champion Jon Olson, of Ankeny, posted a fine round – turning in a score of 68 (-4) to earn the second seed into match play. Collett and Leonard both earned top 11 seeds in the round of 64 after both Ottumwa natives posted one-under par rounds of 71.
Stewart was eliminated in the round of 64 on Tuesday morning, falling to Adel native Jon Brown 6 and 5. Collett, who earned the ninth seed, lost his first round match to Ezra Meyer of Spencer 2 and 1.
With the IGA’s COVID procedure of not holding a playoff and utilizing the USGA recommended tie-breaker procedure the cut into match play came at a score of 78 (+6) with two players, Bo McBee and Jon Brown, earning the final two spots. Brown won the event most recently in 2018 and three times overall.
Aaron O’Brien, the defending Ottumwa City Golf champion, finished one shot out of potentially qualifying for the round of 64. O’Brien finished with a 79 (+7), officially drawing the 76th overall seed after tiebreaking procedures.
The IGA Match Play champion will be crowned on Thursday with two rounds of match play taking place over three consecutive days. Round of 16 and quarterfinal matches will be held on Wednesday with the semifinals and the championship match all being held Thursday.