One down, one to go
Bobcats carry 1-stroke lead into final round at Elmwood
When the 80 best Class 4A high school golfers in the state descended upon Elmwood Country Club for the first round of the Iowa High School State Golf Tournament on Friday, they were welcomed by a thick blanket of fog that had settled upon the playing grounds.
It took a couple hours for the fog to subside enough for the golfers to take the course, and by the time the first round got underway at 12:30 p.m., what was left for the athletes was a soggy and rain-filled afternoon of competition.
When all 18 holes had been played on day one, tournament host Marshalltown was on top by one stroke, leading Johnston heading into day two, 291-292.
Lucas Johnson, head coach of the top-ranked Bobcats, liked the way his guys battled through adversity in the opening round of the program’s first state tournament berth in 14 years.
“Our guys stayed in it throughout the whole day, they know that every shot matters in a tournament like this, even over the course of two days,” he said at the conclusion of play. “You see how close it is at the end of today and I anticipate it being just as close tomorrow. Our guys know they need to give it their all on every shot and they did that today.”
Johnston head coach Steve Smith also said he liked how his guys ground out a good round to remain within striking distance.
“I thought the kids did a really good job of sticking it out today,” Smith said. “It was a long and tough day and they did a really good job sticking it out through that time. They all overcame at least a double bogey in their round.”
The Bobcats were led by sophomore Cole Davis’ 1-under-par round of 69, one of only two sub-par rounds on the day. That would be a good round by itself, nevermind the poor weather, but especially considering the way Davis had to fight back after carding a 9 on the par-5 seventh hole.
“I just snap-hooked two drives out of bounds and then I decided to pull out an iron and I hit it to the 250 marker,” Davis said of his quadruple bogey. “I was feeling good before that, it was just two bad swings, but I kept the momentum and ended up birdieing five of my next six holes. Then I just parred my way in from there.”
Johnson said Davis showed a lot of grit recovering from such a crooked number on his seventh hole to finish off the day as strong as he did.
“At the top we get Cole, who did what we preach all year, which is be resilient when you have a bad hole,” Johnson said. “He has 60 strokes that he takes on 17 holes and nine on hole seven. He may look back on that and think ‘what could have been’ but just the way he bounced back from that shows tremendous character. That’s what you want to see from your players, so that’s a big highlight for me.”
One person had a better round than Davis, and it happened to be someone he played the round with. Ben Bermel from Cedar Falls owns individual lead after one day of play with a 2-under 68. Davis said the Tigers junior has a good short game, which helped Bermel shoot the low score of the day.
Davis wasn’t the only good score for the Bobcats of course, as senior Nate Vance shot a 1-over 71 to finish day one in a tie for fourth with Caleb Peters from Johnston and Benjamin Krapfl form Indianola.
Vance shot an uncharacteristic 77 in the district meet on Tuesday, so Johnson said seeing his senior leader get back on the horse and keep his score low was encouraging.
“Nate didn’t have his best game at districts, but it was great to see him come back and give himself a lot of looks at birdies and put himself in good positions. He was swinging well today,” Johnson said.
Junior JD Pollard had the third-best score with a 74 for Marshalltown, while senior Luke Appel carded a 77 as the last Bobcat to finish play for the day, securing the one-point lead.
“I am super proud of the way Luke Appel played today when we needed him,” Johnson said. “We knew it was either going to be him or Keygan (Hansen) coming in as a counter, and his brother (assistant coach Michael Appel) went out and walked with him those last three or four holes and he did a good job coming in with that score in the 70s, which we needed.”
Johnston’s four scorers were Peters with a 71, Nick Pittman with a 72, Brady Green with a 73 and Nathan Petrak with a 76.
Sitting right behind Marshalltown and Johnston is Indianola, who’s team score of 297 is just five behind second place. Ames and Waukee are also close behind, tied for fourth with a 298, while sixth-place Cedar Falls is 10 back with a 301.
It might sound crazy, but the score to lead state was actually the worst score this season at Elmwood for the Bobcats. Tate Carlson, who was the top finisher for Marshalltown at the district meet and has a 75.7 average in 18 holes, shot an 83 on Friday, a score that likely will improve moving forward. Keygan Hansen was the fifth score for Bobcats with an 80.
Johnson said owning a one stroke lead is comforting after day one, but clearly the Bobcats still have some work ahead of them to come away with a state title.
“We know that we got three very good scores at the top today and we know that we have the potential to get three other good scores tomorrow,” Johnson said. “We feel good where we are at, obviously to be in the lead after day one feels good but it’s not that big a deal because, as I’ve said, you can’t win it on day one. Whether we are one stroke ahead or tied or five strokes behind, we know that tomorrow’s the day where we are going to come out and truly compete for the championship.”
The second round of the 4A state golf meet is set or a shotgun start today at 11 a.m. at Elmwood Country Club.
Iowa High School Boys State Golf Tournament
Class 4A Fall Golf
Elmwood Country Club, par 70
Team Standings — 1. Marshalltown 291, 2. Johnston 292, 3. Indianola 297, 4. (tie) Ames 298, Waukee 298, 6. Cedar Falls 301, 7. Dowling Catholic 304, 8. Cedar Rapids Xavier 308, 9. Cedar Rapids Washington 311, 10. Ankeny Centennial 316, 11. Dubuque Wahlert 319, 12. Cedar Rapids Prairie 320.
Individual (top 10) — 1. Ben Bermel, CF, 68; 2. Cole Davis, MHS, 69; 3. Jake Marvelli, IND, 70; 4. (tie) Nate Vance, MHS, 71; Caleb Peters, JHN, 71; Benjamin Krapfl, IND, 71; 7. (tie) Nick Pittman, JHN, 72; Trevor Heinen, CF, 72; Connor Van Weelden, AMES, 72; Alex Slattery, CRW, 72; Connor Neighbors, CRW, 72.
MARSHALLTOWN (291) — Davis 69, Vance 71, JD Pollard 74, Luke Appel 77, Keygan Hansen 80, Tate Carlson 83.
JOHNSTON (292) — Peters 71, Pittman 72, Brady Green 73, Nathan Petrak 76, Akansh Gupta 76, Jarred Bowser 83.
INDIANOLA (297) — Marvelli 70, Krapfl 71, Jackson Bishop 77, Jacob McGinnis 79, Grady Haynes 79, Jake Trembly 86.
AMES (298) — Van Weelden 72, Sam Balsley 74, Ben Stewart 75, Ryan Cole 77, Nate Espeset 85, Carter Clayberg 85.
WAUKEE (298) — Jackson Starr 74, Bennett Pedersen, Ben Meyer 75, Griffin Parker 75, Nathan Petsche 77, Michael Vicente 81.
CEDAR FALLS (301) — Bermel 68, Heinen 72, Kevin Yang 80, Brandon Nelson 81, Joe Dean 82, Jack Moody 91.
DOWLING CATHOLIC (304) — Jack Hurley 74, Ben Freking 75, Nick Wegman 77, Parker Ardary 78, Edward Bening 79, Jake Calhoun 80.
CR XAVIER (308) — Brad Karpick 75, Nicholas Recker 76, Matt Neumeyer 78, Ryan Keating 79, Matthew Schmit 83, Dan Bailey 84.
CR WASHINGTON (311) — Slattery 72, Neighbors 72, Ben Skogman 83, Whitcomb Haefner 84, Kyle Neighbors 85, Will Sturms 96.
ANKENY CENTENNIAL (316) — Drake Ellgren 78, Christopher McAleer 78, Kaleb Faas 80, Eric Ossian 80, Rusty Rydin 81, Matthew Scharingson 85.
DUBUQUE WAHLERT (319) — Sam Ambrosy 77, Jack Doyle 80, Benjamin Vaassen 81, Craig Collins 81, Mitch Walz 87, Matt Becker 92.
CR PRAIRIE (320) — Griff Clark 77, Ian Johnston 77, Jared Tjelmeland 83, Sam Lockhart 83, Jeremy Jennissen 90, Zak Zahner 94.
INDIVIDUALS — Brock Barnhart, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 73; Jackson Thompson, Sioux City Heelan, 75; Burke Pitz, Des Moines Roosevelt, 78; Steven Gottwald, Bettendorf, 79; Carson Caylor, Valley, 80; Jack Roemer, Pleasant Valley, 80; Joey Kaesbauer, Dubuque Hempstead, 80; Samuel Jacobs, Valley, 80; Alec Henrich, Burlington, 84; Jeremy Love, Lewis Central, 85.