’Cats club Dowling in season opener
Kassy Vest wins medalist, Kyra Feldman takes runner-up
One of the last spring sports to get its season started for Marshalltown High School this season is the girls golf team, but the long wait to opening tee finally ended on Thursday when Dowling Catholic came to down for a dual at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course.
Not only was it the first meet of the year for the Bobcats, it would turn out to be the first win of the season, as the girls downed the Maroons in a decisive 201-252 victory.
MHS head golf coach Lucas Johnson said it wasn’t necessarily a perfect showing, but considering how the weather has affected their practice time he’s excited to get the win.
“I am very happy with the way we played, Dowling was a state qualifier last year and they surprised a lot of people by qualifying for state but a lot of those girls have the experience of playing in a state tournament,” he said. “They lost their No. 1 girl who is now lighting up at the D-I level, but still they are a team that has had some good experiences, so for us to come out with a win on day one, that’s mission accomplished.”
Nobody played better than Bobcat senior Kassy Vest, as the lone returning state qualifier from last year started her final season off strong by taking medalist honors with a 10-over-par 46, a score Johnson said Vest won’t be satisfied with.
“To start out the year with a medalist win is a great boost of confidence for her,” Johnson said. “I know she will look at the holes and say ‘this could have been even lower.'”
Vest had a good day driving the ball, starting with reaching the green on the par-4 first hole in just two shots and finishing with another birdie opportunity on the par-3 ninth after landing her ball around 10 feet from the cup.
“I have been working on that quite a bit, I have a new driver and I have been trying to work on that since it’s my main club, but it just went for it really,” Vest said. “It was the first meet and there was nothing to lose, just go for it.”
Coming in just behind Vest for a runner-up finish was the newest member of the MHS team, as freshman Kyra Feldman took second with her nine-hole score of 50 in her first high school competition.
“The fact that Kyra started off her Bobcat career with her lowest ever score in golf, whether it be for fun or for competition, that’s a lot of fun for her,” Johnson said. “That will give her a lot of positive thoughts as a golfer because she hasn’t played a ton of competitive golf and it’s a different feeling and she responded really well.”
Feldman said she wasn’t sure what to expect in her first time competing on the high school, let alone the varsity, level. But after her first shot on the ninth hole landed on the green and close to the pin for an easy two-putt for par, her confidence shot up.
“I was nervous coming into this, then after the first hole I was like ‘OK, I’ve got this,'” Feldman said. “Then I just kept hitting the ball and went one shot at a time.”
It was a pair of seniors who finished out the counting scores, as Bella Russell finished with a 52 and Emily Hass came in just behind with a 53. Finishing out the scoring for Marshalltown were Ciara Feldman with a 59 and Taylor Naughton with a 68.
Both of the non-counting scores would have been in the top four for Dowling Catholic, as the Maroons only had one girl shoot in the 50s.
Johnson said there are still obviously some areas the team could stand to improve, particularly on the green, but just getting out and playing should solve some of those issues.
“That was right where I kind of thought we would be,” he said of the overall performance. “Some of our other girls are definitely going to be able to work and get their scores down quickly when they have a few less putts.”
Vest said it was actually her middle game that needed the most work, since she was driving well and putting alright when on the green.
“My second shots coming into the green are probably the worst thing right now, I’ve been going pretty far right but a couple of range days I think I can fix that up and hopefully shoot a little better,” she said.
As for Kyra’s thoughts on how to build off of her runner-up finish, she said she just wants to keep focused on getting better.
“Hopefully my momentum continues, I’ve never seen some of these other courses so hopefully I can pick up on those easily and keep it going,” she said.
There will be plenty of opportunity to improve in competition in the next few weeks, because as Johnson explains it the girls will essentially be sleeping on the fairway.
“We are starting a stretch where in the next two weeks we have six competitive meets on the schedule,” Johnson said. “We are going to start picking up pretty heavily here, so the girls will get their repetitions in and they will only get better the more they play.”
That first meet in this stretch will be the first tournament of the season, as Marshalltown will compete in the Valley Classic at Willow Creek Golf Course in West Des Moines, starting at 10 a.m.
American Legion Golf Course, front nine, par 36
Medalist — Kassy Vest, MHS, 46; Runner-up — Kyra Feldman, MHS, 50.
MHS (201) — Vest 46, K. Feldman 50, Bella Russell 52, Emily Hass 53, Ciara Feldman 59, Taylor Naughton 68.
DOWLING CATHOLIC (252) — Maddie Baldwin 52, Abby Sachs 60, Lucy Kramer 68, Sarah Rush 72, Cate Brunia 72, Isabella Brunkhorst 79.