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Iowan Elliott Gets Better With Age

The list of players who have won both the Crump Cup and the Coleman Invitational, played at Pine Valley and Seminole golf clubs, respectively, is very short. But it now has two Iowans, thanks to Gene Elliott’s impressive win at the Crump three weeks ago. He joins fellow West Des Moines resident and close friend Mike McCoy as a champion of each of America’s most prestigious mid-amateur invitational championships. Elliott was a co-medalist in the 36-hole Crump qualifying rounds, and he cruised through the match-play portion. He won his first two matches by the same score of 6 and 5, survived a 1-up semifinal match against Michael Muehr and then dispatched Matt Sughrue, 5 and 3, to win the title after falling short in the final three previous times. An impressive display of golf on a very challenging golf course. Elliott began his 40-year love affair with the game when he moved to Bettendorf, Iowa, at age 10. All the kids in the neighborhood belonged to Crow Valley Golf Club, home of the first four editions of the Quad Cities Open, as the present-day John Deere Classic was called back in the day. Elliott persuaded his father to join the club, and during his freshman year in high school, a new pro by the name of Butch Harmon arrived at Crow Valley. (Raise your hand if you knew Harmon ever put in time in Iowa.) Harmon took an interest in young Elliott and his pack of friends, telling them stories of the past and encouraging them to play. Elliott remembers Harmon pushing him to sign up for a U.S. Open local qualifier at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.


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