Bobcats tip Tigers by 1

Marshalltown boys’ golf team edges Valley in conference play

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown junior Cole Davis hits his approach shot on the 14th hole at Willow Creek Golf Club in West Des Moines during a CIML Iowa Conference dual against Valley on Wednesday. The Bobcats beat the Tigers, 298-299, and Davis finished as meet medalist.

WEST DES MOINES — The Marshalltown boys golf team hit the road for its first away dual of the season on Wednesday, facing off with CIML Iowa Conference foe West Des Moines Valley at Willow Creek Golf Club.

After dealing with a sudden deluge that soaked the players and the course midway through the round and some deliberation about a contested score from one of the Tiger players, the Bobcats came away as one-stroke victors, 298-299.

Marshalltown head coach Lucas Johnson said his team is starting to show what its potential is, now nearly a week into the season.

“This is the lowest score we’ve shot as a team so we can be pleased with that,” Johnson said. “We knew coming into this year this was going to be a growing year and we are starting to see that growth. You look at the way that our guys played today, I thought they made some smarter decisions.”

Junior Cole Davis came away as the meet medalist for the Bobcats (2-1, 2-1) after shooting an even-par 71, his first round of par or better in the team’s first four meets.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown senior Brent Johnson leans back as he watches his putt roll towards the hole on the 15th green at Willow Creek Golf Course in West Des Moines during the Bobcats’ dual win over Valley on Wednesday.

“I just played solid all around,” Davis said. “Struck it pretty well, putted actually better than average. I’ve never played here before so I’m pretty pleased with that.”

Finishing just behind Davis and playing in the same grouping was fellow junior Mason Reid, who tied for third with a 2-over-par 73. Reid was 1-under par heading into the 18th hole, as was Davis, but Reid finished his round with a triple bogey to balloon an otherwise good round, and Davis had a bogey to put him at even.

“Cole is playing well, it’s good to see him come out with medalist again,” Johnson said. “Mason was playing really too for long stretches, I know he gave away a couple of holes on the inward nine that he would like to have back, but overall we can’t be too disappointed with a 73 from him.”

Placing third for Marshalltown was freshman Colin Schmit, who shot a 4-over 75 to shave off four strokes from his best score of the season. Fellow freshman Grant Greazel came in with a 79 to place fourth and round out the Bobcat scoring, and Johnson said he likes what he’s seeing from his young players so far.

“I was tremendously proud of the way our freshmen played together in that 3-4 pairing,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like but I wanted to see how those two handled playing against a couple of upperclassmen and they handled it very well. Colin Schmit was hitting it very well, his best round as a Bobcat, so I am very happy for him.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown freshman Colin Schmit sends his putt towards the hole on the 10th green at Willow Creek Golf Course in West Des Moines during the Bobcats’ dual win over Valley on Wednesday.

Davis also took notice of how the freshmen are coming along on the course.

“These young guys are starting to feel comfortable and relaxed,” last year’s Class 4A state runner-up said. “They know how to play their game and finally shoot some decent scores.”

Brent Johnson and Lucas Schneider were the final placers for the Bobcats, shooting an 81 and 82 respectively.

Valley’s top scorer was John Boettcher with a 71, followed by Sam Jacobs with a 73, Jai Mukraj with a 75 and Nate Miller with an 80.

After a tough go at Hunters Ridge Golf Course on Monday in the Linn-Mar Invitational on Monday, where the Bobcats placed fifth out of 14 teams on the course where they will play their district tournament, Johnson said it was good to see the scores go down against a good opponent in Valley.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“Willow Creek is a course that is wider off the tee than anything we’ve seen this year and it’s a lot more scoreable than anything that we will probably see the rest of the year too,” he said. “We saw some low scores today and the good thing is we get to come back here for conference and see this course again. Our guys took advantage of some birdie opportunities and had some nice approach shots, so from that perspective it was good.”

Though the defending CIML Iowa champions now have a 2-1 record in conference play, Johnson said his Bobcats still have a lot of growing to do if they want to accomplish the end goal of returning to state to defend last season’s 4A state title.

“We are still at a point where we are building that depth,” he said. “Our experience is not quite where it was a year ago, so we are still working to get to that point where we can legitimately have a full varsity squad that is capable of shooting a score that will want to count.”

Marshalltown now has a bit of a break after four meets in the last seven days, but it will be back on the links on Monday when it travels to Mason City to play in the Mark Mann Invitational at Mason City Country Club, starting at 10 p.m.

Marshalltown 298, Valley 299

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

At West Des Moines

Willow Creek Golf Club, par 71

Medalist — Cole Davis, MHS, 71; Runner-up — John Boettcher, VAL, 71

MARSHALLTOWN (299) — Davis 71, Mason Reid 73, Colin Schmit 75, Grant Greazel 79, Brent Johnson 81, Lucas Schneider 82.

VALLEY (299) — Boettcher 71, Sam Jacobs 73, Jai Mukraj 75, Nate Miller 80, Max Marshall 80, Alex Johnson 81.