Bangasser, Spartans in the hunt

Grundy Center 11 strokes back after first round

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Grundy Center senior Jake Bangasser chips onto the green on the ninth hole of Westwood Golf Course in Newton during the first round of the Class 1A Boys State Golf Tournament. Bangasser sits in sixth place after the first 18 holes with a round of 81.

NEWTON — It was no secret that the Westwood Golf Course was going to pose a challenge for the Class 1A State Golf Tournament, particularly on the back nine with its many water hazards.

No one could have predicted just how difficult the course would play, however, as the average score for the first round of action was a 93, 22 strokes over the listed par-71.

It was the back nine that truly did people in, playing nearly half a stroke harder than the front nine despite being listed as a par-35, compared to the par-36 for the first nine holes.

Grundy Center was no exception to that rule, shooting 10 strokes higher on the back nine than the front nine on the way to finishing with a team score of 356, which is tied for sixth heading into the second round.

Spartans head coach Dennis Dirks said there were other factors that led to his guys not shooting as well on the back nine, but ultimately it’s just a tough stretch of holes.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Grundy Center junior Matthew Sternhagen chips onto the green of the 10th hole at Westwood Golf Course in Newton during the first round Class 1A State Golf Tournament on Thursday.

“The wind picked up a little bit around noon time and that’s when we got to that back nine,” Dirks said. “The back nine has those challenging holes on the back side, and it causes some problems.”

None of the teams in attendance shot better than their qualifying score in the district meets, with tournament-leader Harris-Lake Park coming in with a 345, 19 strokes higher than their qualifying score.

Grundy Center had the lowest qualifying score with a 324, and even though his guys are in sixth place at the turn Dirks said he knows the guys have the ability to make up the 11 strokes between them and first.

“We didn’t play our best golf today by any means, I don’t know exactly the reason why,” he said. “It wasn’t like they weren’t prepared, it was just a really challenging day for all of them.”

Spartans senior Jake Bangasser led the team with a 10-over-par 81, though he also was no stranger to the struggles on the back nine. Through his first nine holes, Bangasser was sitting pretty at 1-over, but a double-bogey on the 10th hole foreshadowed the adversity to come.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • AGWSR junior Alex Hames rolls a putt towards the cup on the green of the 17th hole at Westwood Golf Course in Newton during the first round Class 1A State Golf Tournament on Thursday.

Bangasser would shoot 9-over on his trip through the back nine to match his first-nine score of 37 with a 44, though that was still nearly three strokes over the average for that stretch.

Despite that trouble, Bangasser still sits in sixth individually with eight strokes separating he and leader Jacob Hesner from East Buchanan, who shot a 2-over 73, and Dirks said an individual title is still within his grasp.

“I would be surprised if Jake doesn’t shoot in the mid-70’s tomorrow to be honest with you, I’d be really surprised,” Dirks said. “That’s yet to be determined but we will see.”

Coming in next for the Spartans was Andy Cox with an 89, followed by Tanner Appel and Nolan Freeman with 93s, Matthew Sternhagen with a 95 and Travis Kuester with a 98.

Grundy Center was one of only two teams to not have an individual score in the triple digits, along with day-one leader Harris-Lake Park, and Dirks said if they can pick up the pace they are still in this race.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“All the teams out here are saying the same things I’m sure, and I know the guys I have in that van are much more capable than what they proved today,” he said. “It’s going to be a fight tomorrow and it’s going to be a fight for everyone single one of those strokes. For 18 holes, anything is possible tomorrow.”

Hames starts strong, fades late

AGWSR junior Alex Hames had a great start to his round, shooting just five over for his first eight holes. Then he came up on the back nine, where he succumbed to the same issues that plagued much of the field.

In the end Hames would finish his first round with a 93, shooting a 43 on the first nine and a 50 on the back, a score brought down by seven penalty strokes due to driving out of bounds or into the water.

“I started off well, just bogeys and pars, I just need to do that the whole round next time,” Hames said after his round. “I wish I wouldn’t have gone out of bounds and into the water all the time, I had seven penalty strokes there so that wasn’t too good and I didn’t putt too well on the back nine either.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Even with his struggles Hames shot better than the course average on the day, and he currently sits in a tie for 36th, though only four strokes out of being in the top 20.

After playing through Westwood once now, Hames said he has an idea of where he can gain some of those strokes back.

“I need a softer touch on the green and with chipping I need to be better not landing it on the green but landing it short of the green so it rolls up to it,” he said. “Keeping my drives in bounds too will help.”

Round two of the 1A State Golf Championships at Westwood Golf Course in Newton will begin this morning at 8 a.m.

Class 1A State Tournament

At Newton

Westwood Golf Course, par 71

Team Standings — 1. Harris-Lake Park 345, 2. Westwood 348, 3. Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton 350, 4. Bishop Garrigan 352, 5. Winfield-Mt. Union 353, 6. (tie) Grundy Center 356, New London 356, 8. Fort Dodge St. Edmond 371, 9. IKM-Manning 375.

Individual (top 10) — 1. Jacob Hesner, East Buchanan, 73; 2. Kaleb Hagge, WMU, 74; 3. Andrew Arndorfer, BG, 76; 4. Austin Eckenrod, Newman Catholic, 76; 5. Elijah Lamoureux, Westwood, 80; 6. Jake Bangasser, GC, 81; 7. (tie) Tyler Kopp, CAM, 82; Clayton Phillips, NL, 82; 9. (tie) Ethan Streicher, Edgedwood-Colesburg, 83; Lucas Gunderson, HLP, 83; Will Carroll, Exira/EHK, 83.

HARRIS-LAKE PARK (345) — Gunderson 83, Isaac Ihnen 85, Bryce Perkins 88, Adrian Martin 89, Jaxson Heikens 91, Bret Sohn 96.

WESTWOOD (348) — Lamoureux 80, Samule Miller 84, Jacob Miller 92, Carter Copple 92, Eddie Dandurand 94, Jaxon Lutt 113.

EXIRA/EHK (350) — Carroll 83, Everette Carroll 86, Cole Burmeister 87, Cole Madsen 94, Tyler Petersen 100, Dalton Vanderwal 123.

BISHOP GARRIGAN (352) — Arndorfer 76, Parker Schiltz 89, Grayson Rowlet 92, Tommy Kollasch 95, Adwyn Rowlet 99, Kyle Schaaf 111.

WINFIELD-MT. UNION (353) — Hagge 74, Nolan Ross 90, Jarod Kadel 90, Noah Freeman 99, Jacob Kongable 114, Brady Loyd 115.

GRUNDY CENTER (356) — Bangasser 81, Andy Cox 89, Tanner Appel 93, Nolan Freeman 93, Matthew Sternhagen 95, Travis Kuester 98.

NEW LONDON (356) — Phillips 82, Alex Dentlinger 89, Javis Krieger 90, Justin Carter 95, Gavin Prottsman 98, Gabe Carter 103.

FORT DODGE ST. EDMOND (371) — Andrew Gibb 84, Tommy Lennon 90, Drew Schaeffer 92, Peyton Scott 105, Korbin Brown 106, Jacob Galles 121.

IKM-MANNING (375) — Kyler Rasmussen 85, Austin Ahrenholtz 94, Tyler Brandt 98, Jarod Henkleman 98, Tyler Henkelman 108, Conner Richards 122.