Zionsville’s Joey Ranieri won five consecutive matches at Old Oakland Golf Club this week to claim the IGA Match Play Championship and his first amateur win. The rising sophomore at Ball State University was seeded sixth after firing an even par 72 during the qualifying portion of the tournament. Today, Ranieri faced Old Oakland member and Club Champion, Steve Walters of Indianapolis during the final match.
Ranieri took an early lead making par to Walters’ bogey on the opening par-4, 1st. From that point forward, he never trailed in the match. Walters won the par-4, 2nd hole after sinking a long par putt to Ranieri’s bogey, tying things up – but not for long.
“Match play is a different animal,” said Ranieri. “Rather than playing against the course, you’re playing against an opponent. I made a game plan heading into this event, and I tried to stick to it regardless of what my opponent did.”
On the par-4, 4th Ranieri made his first birdie of the day to regain his lead. On the par-3, 8th, Ranieri took a 2-up lead after getting up-and-down for par.
But Walters proved he wasn’t ready to give up, sinking a 10-footer for birdie on the par-5, 9th and minimizing Ranieri’s lead to 1-up.
Ranieri fired back with two consecutive birdies on holes 10 and 11, sealing Walter’s fate and gaining a lead he would never relinquish.
The match ended on the par-4, 15th with pars for Ranieri and Walters for a 4 and 3 finish.
“All the players I faced were very good,” said Ranieri. “I played against some really good college players earlier in the week and those matches definitely prepared me for today. Overall, I had a really good time this week with some great players, and even better people.”
Next week, Ranieri will compete in the Indiana Open Championship at Otter Creek.
“Today was my first amateur win and I hope to do well at the Open next week,” said Ranieri. “With that being said, golf is just a small aspect of my life and tomorrow morning it’s back to work.”