MHS junior Kassy Vest advances to state
GRANGER — Kassy Vest and her group of No. 1 players were first off the 18th green Monday at Jester Park Golf Course. They were also the ones who had to wait the longest for all the results of the Class 5A regional round to come in.
Vest and MHS golf coach Lucas Johnson spent a little time sweating while crunching the numbers, but Vest had confidence in Johnson telling her she ended up tied for fourth and headed to the Class 5A state golf tournament in Ames.
“The coach was telling me I was tied for [fourth] and my heart was pounding,” Vest said. “Other than that, I was pretty excited. Last year, I wasn’t even close to making it and this year I’m already in the top five. So, that’s pretty good.”
Vest shot an 86 to tie for fourth, earning her an automatic qualifying bid to next week’s state tournament at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames. As a team, the Bobcats were fourth with a 390. Ankeny Centennial won with a 345, Dowling Catholic secured the second team qualifying bid with a second-place 363, and Johnston was third with 367.
Vest shot a 42 on the front nine, finding four pars and just one double bogey, and paired it with seven bogeys, a par and a double on the back nine. But the 18th Hole was the perfect cap.
After finding her first double bogey on No. 17, Vest snuck her tee shot under some trees and in tougher grass. She deliberated with Johnson before punching out to the middle of the fairway.
“I told her she doesn’t know how great that shot was,” Johnson said, walking up to the 18th green.
Vest bogeyed the final hole and awaited her fate at the picnic tables outside the clubhouse.
She becomes the first golfer in two years to qualify for the state tournament from Marshalltown. Ashley Harris was a three-time qualifier in 2012, 2014-2015. She placed ninth in 2015.
“I’m all sorts of emotions right now,” Vest said. “I want to cry but I’m all smiles right now. I can’t even explain the emotions right now. It’s amazing for Marshalltown. Marshalltown doesn’t get a very good rep for many sports, [so], just making it to state, that’s pretty cool.”
Johnson said the gamplan fell perfectly into place on an extraordinary day for golf. Just days after a torrential storm dumped buckets on the Jester Park Golf Course and left greens soggy and trees blown over, the sun shined and allowed golfers the opportunity to shoot as low as they could go.
“I’m very proud of the way Kassy played,” Johnson said. “I knew her game had been rounding into the form that it takes to get to the state tournament. When she shot that 37 on the back nine in Mason City, that’s when I thought she’s playing the golf she needs to be able to play to put herself into that position.”
Johnson added the Dowling Catholic girls snagged the Bobcats’ team gameplan for the afternoon. The Maroons upended the No. 5 Johnston girls’ hopes of going to the state tournament by having the individual medalist (Anne Gradoville, 69) and two other players with 90s (Ellie Pigott, 92 and Taylor Griese, 98).
“We talked about coming in and talking about all it takes is one day,” Johnson said. “And for Dowling, I give them a lot of credit. Their No. 1 girl shoots a 69 and get a couple good scores from their two and three girls in the low 90s. That was our gameplan coming in, to have those few low scores in the low 90s. But I was proud of the way our girls battled.”
Emily Hass shot a 97, Bella Russell was in with 103 and Emily Vest tallied a 104 to round out scoring for the Bobcats.
Kassy will hit the links Tuesday at the 5A tournament in Ames, a place she’s somewhat familiar with and has had success. She placed 14th with Bobcat J.D. Pollard at the state co-ed meet last spring, shooting a round of 81 at Coldwater.
State qualifiers will tee off in a shotgun start format at 9 a.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Regional Girls Golf Finals
Jester Park Golf Course, par 71
Team Standings — 1. Ankeny Centennial 345, 2. Dowling Catholic 363, 3. Johnston 367, 4. Marshalltown 390, 5. Sioux City East 400, 6. Ankeny 417, 7. Ames 429, 8. Urbandale 444, 9. Sioux City North.
Individual Qualifiers — 1. Anne Gradoville, DC, 69; 2. Tenley Moretti, AC, 77; 3. Abbie Gault, JNST, 78; 4. Kassy Vest, MHS, 86; 5. Nikki Ault, AC, 86.
MARSHALLTOWN (390) — Vest 86, Emily Hass 97, Bella Russell 103, Emily Vest 104, Ciara Feldman 114, Kyli Jacobsen 115.