Fast start fades, MHS girls golf takes 10th

PLEASANT HILL – Two days after playing its first 18-hole event of the season, the Marshalltown girls’ golf team got off to its best start of the spring in another invitational hosted Thursday by Southeast Polk.

But the upstart Bobcats fell off over the second nine holes, sliding from seventh to 10th place at the 12-team tournament at Copper Creek Golf Course.

Marshalltown finished with a 389 team total, hindered by a rough finish to the round. The Bobcats shot a combined 182 over the par-35 front nine and carded a 207 on the back, dropping them back in the competitive, mostly CIML field.

Ankeny won the event with a 350, holding off Carroll Kuemper’s 353, West Des Moines Valley’s 354 and Dowling Catholic’s 357.

The Bobcats finished ahead of Des Moines Roosevelt (402) and Des Moines East (444) two days after taking sixth out of eight teams at their own Linda Bloom Invitational.

“We had our best nine-hole score of the year on the front nine, carding 182 as a team,” said MHS coach Lucas Johnson. “Niccole (Wolken) played the best nine holes of her career, shooting a 41 on the front.”

All four scoring Bobcats shot 48 or better on the front, but only one went under that number on the back side. Ashley Harris shot 45-47-92 to lead MHS, and Wolken’s 41-52-93 was the Bobcats’ next best.

Katie Lynch carded a 48-52-100 and Natalie Kueny shot 48-56-104 to finish off the team scoring.

None of the Marshalltown golfers finished inside the top 10 individually.

“Our putting is an area we need to shore up,” Johnson added. “We struggled with the undulating greens and getting the right speed on our putts down the stretch.

“We can build on today’s round, but I’m hoping to see more consistency as we head into the final weeks of the season.”

Dowling’s Sarah Splittgerber was the meet medalist with a 5-over 76, and Ankeny’s Clara Healy was one shot off the pace for runner-up honors.

Marshalltown returns to action Monday with a trip to the Fort Dodge Invitational, which tees off at 10 a.m. at Fort Dodge Country Club.