The annual tournament that brings Iowa’s top professional and amateur golfers together was held Aug. 20-22 at Lake Panorama National (LPN) near Panora. The Brokers International Ltd. Iowa Open drew 108 players to the course that previously hosted the tournament from 1985 to 1998.
Zack Vervaecke of Grimes, head golf professional at Jester Park Golf Course near Granger, won the tournament with a three-day total of 205. Vervaecke shot 66 the first and third days, with a 73 the second day. He earned a $7,000 check for the win.
“I was about as nervous today as I’ve ever been playing golf,” Vervaecke said, following an awards presentation on the 18th green. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this. Everyone connected with the tournament – the spectators, the volunteers, the other players – have been wonderful.”
Second place went to Sean McCarty, head pro at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville. McCarty was two strokes behind Vervaecke, and won $4,800. Mark Rohde of Marshalltown won the senior division with a final score of 214, earning a $2,258 check. The addition in 2010 of a senior division was one of the new enhancements for the annual tournament.
Prize money for the 2010 tournament increased significantly with Brokers International Ltd. as the title sponsor. The total purse for the open division was $37,575, with more than $7,000 awarded in the senior division. A contract between the Iowa Section PGA and Brokers International Ltd. signed in July 2009 brings the tournament to Lake Panorama National for at least five years. The Panora insurance marketing company committed $25,000 annually to the event, the largest single sponsor contribution in the history of the Iowa Open.
When the contract was signed more than a year ago, Brokers International Ltd. founder and CEO Roger McCarty said the Brokers International Ltd. Iowa Open would be a “first class operation. We’re going to do it right, and do some things that haven’t been done before at this tournament.”
On the second day of the tournament, McCarty announced he was personally increasing the prize money another $2,000 for first place and $1,000 for second place in the open division, plus $500 for first and $300 for second in the senior division.
While the three-day tournament for professionals and amateurs was the main event, a pro-am tournament Aug. 19 also generated plenty of interest with 31 teams competing. A “draw party” was held at Lake Panorama’s Boulder Beach, as names of 31 pros were drawn to match with the amateur teams.
Besides Broker International Ltd., five additional corporate sponsors each committed $5,000 to help cover tournament expenses. Those were Allianz, American Equity, Aviva, Menadue Development, which owns The Port and Lakeside Inn on Lake Panorama, and People’s Trust and Savings Bank.
The 144-player field is open to professionals and amateurs who were born in Iowa, as well as golfers with Iowa ties. McCarty said his company is committed to making the 2011 Brokers International Ltd. Iowa Open bigger and better. “Everyone is having so much fun with this,” he said. “The Iowa Open is back where it belongs — at Lake Panorama National.”