The kids are alright

Young players abound in championship flight

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Chad Plaehn walks along the 12th green at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course on Saturday as his putt rolls toward the cup. Plaehn is in a tie for second place after the first day of the Times-Republican City Golf Tournament with a first-round 70, while Sam Weatherman sits in the lead with a 69.

It was a tough day for scoring at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course on Saturday for the first round of the 31st annual Times-Republican City Golf Tournament.

When it was all said and done, only two players finished with a round under par — one from the open division and one from the super senior class.

Rob Christensen, a three-time City Open champion and top-10 finisher last year, had the lowest score of the day with a 4-under-par 67 to lead the super senior division, while 2016 Marshalltown High School graduate Sam Weatherman led the open division (par-70) with a 1-under-par 69 on the first day.

Weatherman said he was able to come in under par for two reasons: his early start and the group he was playing with.

“Through nine holes I don’t think we had any wind, the wind didn’t pick up until we were on the back nine,” Weatherman said. “Our group was playing well so I was kind of just trying to beat the guys in my group. Riley [Wirth] shot 1-under on the front and Cole [Davis] made an eagle on 15 so he was like 1-over. I was just playing with the group and not really thinking about the field.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Sam Weatherman tees off on the par-3 16th hole at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course on Saturday. Weatherman leads the open division of the City Golf Tournament after coming in with a 1-under-par 69, the only under-par score in the open division.

Both Wirth and Davis made it into the championship flight today, proving Weatherman’s point of them feeding off of each other.

Because of the group’s 9:18 a.m. start, they were done earlier than most of the contenders, but as the scores slowly trickled in Weatherman realized he might lead after the first day.

“I expected some people to go lower than they did, I feel like nobody really played their best today it looks like,” he said. “It’s kind of weird.”

Two players currently sit one stroke back of Weatherman, 2018 MHS grad Keygan Hansen and 2014 GMG graduate Chad Plaehn.

Plaehn had an up and down day by his account, hitting birdies on one hole and bogeys on the next. He had a chance at tying Weatherman’s 69 with a par putt on the 18th hole, but he missed it just left and had to settle for the even-par score.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Rob Christensen watches as his putt approaches the cup on the 13th green on Saturday at the Legion. Christensen had the low round of the day, shooting a 4-under-par 67 in the super senior class.

“I was even after 13 and said I needed to get to 68, I would have liked to be 2-under,” Plaehn said. “I bogeyed the easy 14th then made an eagle on 15, so I thought I was right on track. Had a good look on 17 and missed a four-footer, then missed a five-foot par putt on 18. I hit some alright shots but it didn’t all come together.”

Still, given he didn’t play his best and is still only one shot back of the lead, the 2016 top-10 finisher said he could be in a worse position.

“I can’t be mad after I shoot a 70 and seeing I’m only one off the pace,” Plaehn said. “With how bad I struck the ball I am very pleased with where I’m sitting.”

Hansen is making his first appearance in the championship flight of the City Open, let alone playing in the final foursome.

“It’s going to be a mental game right there, it’s all in the head,” Hansen said. “More people will be watching, just try not to get scared.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Keygan Hansen hits an iron for an approach shot on the 15th hole at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course on Saturday. Hansen is in a tie for second place after the first round of Times-Republican City Golf Tournament after shooting an even-par 70.

Hansen has experience playing in tough situations at Elmwood Country Club though, after winning the state championship with the rest of the Bobcats last fall.

Six of the seven varsity members of Marshalltown’s state championship team are in the championship flight today, with Tate Carlson also in the last foursome with a 71, Mason Reid and Cole Davis in the second-to-last group with 71s, JD Pollard in the third-to-last group also with a 71 and Luke Appel in the fourth-to-last group with a 73. Conner Beaty, who was also a Bobcat golfer last season, is in the group with Appel after shooting a 74.

Appel, Beaty and Reid are also playing in their first championship flight, while Davis, Pollard and Carlson all have top-10 finishes previous to this year.

Representing the most championship experience in the final flight is four-time winner Sam Zoske, who has finished at least in the top four each of the last seven years.

Like Plaehn, Zoske also wasn’t a fan of how he played a the Legion on Saturday, but he will take being three-strokes back with his round of 72.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“I struggled, I didn’t play well for nine holes, it was just really, really bad,” Zoske said. “I hit the ball well off the tee but my approach shots were just awful. The greens are really soft over here, which is fine, but it took me a while to get used to it. You’ve got to be aggressive and hit it to the pin and I just didn’t do that.”

Zoske finally broke the birdie seal on the 11th hole with a nice putt to bring him to 2-over, but he gave the stroke right back on the next hole.

“On 12 I hit a great drive, right where I wanted it, about 205 in and had a five-iron into the wind,” he said. “I hit it perfect, deadstoned it right at the pin and I thought it was tight, but I got up there and it was gone, in the no-mow off the back. I hit like 240 with a five-iron, that was kind of a blow, but I made some really good putts coming in with the exception of 18.”

Only five strokes separate the Weatherman at the top and the bottom of the championship flight, meaning it could easily be anyone’s game heading to Elmwood for day two today.

Luckily Weatherman spends nearly every day at Elmwood, so he doesn’t feel too much pressure going into the round.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“I work out there so I play out there quite a bit. It’ll be fun being in the last group,” he said. “It’s a lot tighter off the tee so just picking the right club off the tee and not hitting driver all the time is key. I hit driver pretty much everywhere out here, so I will probably hit some more irons off the tee tomorrow. The greens are a lot quicker, so I will have to adjust to that.”

Zoske also said he feels great going into the second round, particularly with his familiarity not only with Elmwood but with what it takes to win the City Open.

“Obviously we have some youth and these kids are really good players, but I remember when I was a kid and you were playing against the old guys like me it’s just really hard,” he said. “You want to break through and get your first city or club championship or whatever and there’s a lot of pressure on these guys and I feel like tomorrow I feel comfortable two or three strokes back to hang in there and make a comeback.”

Zoske won’t be the only elder statesman looking to make a push, as last year’s fifth-place finisher Troy Underhill and other players with championship-flight experience like Lee Van Cleave, Darin Shipley, Pat Ryan and Todd Weaver are all waiting in the wings.

There will also be some good fights at the top for the super senior and women’s class to determine a champion. Though Rob Christensen’s 67 gave him a good lead, he’s only six strokes ahead of Pete Kelly and Tony Giannetto, who are tied for second with a 73.

Leading the women’s division is 14-year-old Amber Henson with an 8-over-par 79. Looming just behind, however, is Jackie Zimmerman with an 83. Zimmerman was the 2016 women’s champion and finished in third last year.

Round two of the Times-Republican City Golf Tournament will start at 8 a.m. this morning at Elmwood Country Club. The women’s flight will start at 9:21 a.m., the super seniors will get going at 10:51 a.m. and the championship flight will start at 12:12 p.m.

Open Division

Championship Flight

12:48 p.m.

Sam Weatherman -1 69

Keygan Hansen E 70

Chad Plaehn E 70

Tate Carlson +1 71

12:39 p.m.

Cole Davis +1 71

Lee Van Cleave +1 71

Mason Reid +1 71

George Kueny +1 71

12:30 p.m.

JD Pollard +1 71

Troy Underhill +1 71

Grant Greazel +2 72

Sam Zoske +2 72

12:21 p.m.

Darin Shipley +3 73

Luke Appel +3 73

Conner Beaty +4 74

Todd Weaver +4 74

12:12 p.m.

Dave Baccam +4 74

Then Baccam +4 74

Riley Wirth +4 74

Pat Ryan +4 74

1st Flight

11:45 a.m.

Chad Moler +5 75

Jeff Miller +5 75

Mark Wolken +6 76

Paul Ainley +6 76

11:36 a.m.

Zach Underhill +6 76

Tim Bell +6 76

Tom Weis +6 76

Matt Yates +7 77

11:27 a.m.

Nathan VanBecelaere +6 76

Travis Stewart +7 77

Joe Schmit +7 77

Michael Fosdick +7 77

11:18 a.m.

Kent Carson +8 78

Jim Herink +8 78

Jeff Arment +8 78

Paul Collins +8 78

2nd Flight

10:42 a.m.

Jeff Schneider +9 79

Derek Peng +9 79

Dave Mattox +9 79

Lucas Schneider +9 79

10:33 a.m.

Ron Mitchell +9 79

Dan Buffington +10 80

Darren Bare +10 80

Michael Younkin +10 80

10:24 a.m.

Jeff Welch +10 80

Jeff Tice +10 80

Greg Van Cleave +10 80

Thad Lents +10 80

10:15 a.m.

Rob Sandvick +11 81

Shawn Morris +11 81

Bret Ferneau +11 81

10:06 a.m.

Grant Smith +11 81

Colin Schmit +11 81

Scott Smith +11 81

3rd Flight

9:57 a.m.

Joel Chandler +12 82

Tom Apgar +12 82

Pat Hala +12 82

Owen Chaloupek +12 82

9:48 a.m.

Thomas Fleming +12 82

Brian Ferneau +14 84

Steve Knutson +14 84

Brad Kadner +14 84

9:39 a.m.

Theron Schutte +15 85

Todd Bolar +15 85

Donny Weeks +15 85

Rob Van Horn +15 85

9:21 a.m.

Ryan Anderson +15 85

Bryan Herschberger +15 85

9:12 a.m.

Warren Wolken +15 85

4th Flight

Nick Stanton +16 86

Chris Paul +17 87

Don Merschbrock +17 87

9:03 a.m.

Ron Davis +17 87

Mark Finch +18 88

Jerry Summers +18 88

Joe Hannam +18 88

8:54 a.m.

Paul Waldron +19 89

Ben Snyder +19 89

Tyler Stahlin +19 89

8:45 a.m.

Marty Sharer +20 90

Robert Mancieri +20 90

Terry Jordan +20 90

Dao Sorlaesith +21 91

8:36 a.m.

Doug Ridout +21 91

Chuck Misek +21 91

5th Flight

Zach Stahlin +22 92

8:27 a.m.

Brian Wilkie +22 92

Aaron Fleming +23 93

Rob Weatherly +23 93

Kirt Daniels +23 93

8:18 a.m.

Josh Capalla +23 93

Jason Kelling +25 95

Steve Ruddick +25 95

8:09 a.m.

Andy Neuroth +26 96

Cory Logdon +26 96

Matthew Hannam +30 100

8 a.m.

James Hogan NS

Jim Kelehan NS

John Casey NS

Super Senior Division

12:03 p.m.

Rob Christensen -4 67

Pete Kelly +2 73

Tony Giannetto +2 73

Mike Anderson +4 74

11:54 a.m.

Jeff Slaughter +6 77

Craig Schutt +6 77

Jim Carlson +9 79

Steve Dunham +11 82

11:09 a.m.

Doug Swenson +13 84

Don Stansberry +13 84

Jack Smith +14 84

11 a.m.

Bing McHone +15 86

Mike Knoll +15 86

Don Anderson +16 87

Gerald Hamilton +19 90

10:51 a.m.

Jon Bru +20 91

Don Dodd +20 90

Doug Weatherman +25 96

Leo Lounsberry WD

Ladies Championship

9:21 a.m.

Henson, Amber +8 79

Zimmerman, Jackie +12 83

9:30 a.m.

Ferneau, Jeannie +36 107

Hoglan, Jamie +45 116

Stewart, Liz +49 120

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON