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Bobcat golfers come up one spot short

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown sophomore Kyra Feldman chips onto the 12th green at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course during the Class 4A Region 3 tournament on Monday. Feldman placed ninth individually with a career-best 89, but the Bobcats failed to qualify as a team or as individuals for the state tournament.

The Marshalltown girls golf team knew it would have to shoot one of its best scores of the year to have a fighting chance for a state qualification in the Class 4A Region 3 tournament on Monday, and it managed to do that but it still wasn’t enough.

The Bobcats turned in one of their best 18-hole rounds of the year with a 375 at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course, nearly 12 strokes better than their season average, but that still couldn’t overcome first-place finisher Cedar Falls, which shot a 342, and Linn-Mar in second with a 358.

To twist the knife even more, two MHS girls finished just outside of the top six — which is an automatic individual state qualification — with freshman Amber Henson placing seventh with an 87 and Kyra Feldman ninth with an 89.

Marshalltown head golf coach Lucas Johnson said he can’t be upset about the way his girls played, but it was heartbreaking to get so close and come up empty handed.

“We came in as the third-seeded team and that’s where we played,” he said. “We knew it was going to take a very good day to be able to compete with Linn-Mar and Cedar Falls. We knew we had everything in front of us as far as who we needed to beat, so our girls competed hard. We had two of our girls in Kyra Feldman and Brynn Van Buren shoot their best scores of the year, so I can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown freshman Amber Henson hits a shot on the 12th fairway at the American Legion Memorial Golf Course during the Class 4A Region 3 tournament on Monday. Henson finished in seventh place with an 87, one spot away from a state qualification.

Rounding out the scoring for Marshalltown were Emma Younkin with a 99 and Van Buren with her career-best 100, while Norah Wilson came in with a 110 and Sydney Faltys with a 129.

Though MHS had two top-10 placers, they both had very different feelings about their rounds. Henson came into the meet averaging an 80 in 18-hole meets, the second-best of all the girls in the Region 3 field, but her final 87 was her worst score of the season and left her three strokes away from a state appearance.

“She is disappointed right now, there’s no doubt that she will look back and say, ‘out of all the days to shoot my worst score of the season, why on regional day?'” Johnson said. “That’s the conversation that we will have after the day settles in a little bit, just help her to look at it and still say that she had an amazing season. She’s going to be an all-state player, she beat girls that are probably going to compete for a state title many times throughout the season. She’s going to be disappointed today, and it’s going to sting, but she’s a freshman and has three years left and I know she’s only going to get better.”

Feldman, on the other hand, had the round of her life. She had never broken the 90 barrier in her golf career, high school or otherwise, so shooting an 89 and earning a ninth-place regional honor was a proud moment for the sophomore.

“I was nervous going into this because our practice round on Saturday didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but when I came back on the back nine with a 41, then I knew my score was going to be in the 80s, which is my first time in the 80s ever. I was pretty excited,” she said.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Feldman capped the day with a nice showing on the 18th hole, where she chipped onto the green after missing on her tee shot and then sunk a five-foot putt for par.

“I do not like the 18th hole, it is so hard for me,” she said. “To get a par on it, I was pretty happy with that.”

Feldman struggled to start the day as well, shooting a 48 on the front nine at the Legion, but she credited Johnson for coming over and talking her down and getting her ready for a strong second half.

“When you go back and look you see that this regional had a lot of the top players, so for her to get a top 10 here bodes very well for her moving forward,” Johnson said of Feldman. “She’s a multi-sport athlete, so she doesn’t necessarily have the time to donate to golf in the same way as some others, but she’s and athlete and we want her competing. Our best Bobcat athletes are the ones that play multiple sports.”

Younkin had a similar day to Feldman. She started her front nine with a 54, then brought that all the way back with a 45 on the back nine to finish under 100 in her final meet of the year.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“She struggled a little bit on the front nine but it was good to see her bring it back on the back,” Johnson said.

Van Buren had the most consistent day of the bunch, shooting a 50 on both the front and the back nine for her season-best score.

“That was a super good round from her, for her to shoot a 50 on the front, she was putting lights-out throughout the day,” Johnson said. “She had five one-putts on the front nine, she put together a very nice score.”

Of the six competitors for Marshalltown on Monday, four were freshmen competing in their first meet. Johnson said that lack of experience at this level might have been what kept them out of the state tournament, but he can accept that.

“We know that from an experience standpoint that we were one of the youngest teams here. These are teams with juniors and seniors, a lot of upperclassmen who had been to state before,” he said. “Regional day feels different and we know that, but that being said you can’t simulate it in practice and until you feel it you don’t quite get the feel of what that pressure feels like.”

Now that the girls have a taste of what that next level of competition is like, Johnson said there is no doubt they will come back strong and ready to make some noise next year.

“We know that this is a crew that we will have for a few more years together and they are only going to get better,” he said. “I think they have bought in and realize the more they practice, the more they play, the closer they are going to get. To come out and be as young as we are and still be one place out of the state tournament should give them a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Feldman agreed with her coach, saying she is ready for next season to start right now.

“I definitely am excited for the future and I can’t wait to keep going with my teammates and improve every year,” she said. “I think this is the team that can go to state.”

Class 4A Region 3 meet

At Marshalltown

American Legion Memorial Golf Course, par 71

Team Standings — 1. Cedar Falls 342, 2. Linn-Mar 358, 3. Marshalltown 375, 4. Ankeny 384, 5. Newton 400, 6. Norwalk 421, 7. Ottumwa 424, 8. Urbandale 425, 9. Waterloo West 444.

Individual (top 10) — 1. Amara Lytle, CF, 78; 2. Jaci Webb, Ank, 78; 3. Rylee Heryford, NEW, 80; 4. Tatum Depuydt, LM, 81; 5. Tori Niemeyer, LM, 82; 6. Megan Sawyer, CF, 84; 7. Amber Henson, MHS, 87; 8. Riley Marten, CF, 88; 9. Kyra Feldman, MHS, 89; 10. Jaden Bradford, OTT, 90.

CEDAR FALLS (342) — Lytle 78, Sawyer 84, Marten 88, Grace Considine 92, Marley Richter 92, Tegan Schultz 94.

LINN-MAR (358) — Depuydt 81, Niemeyer 82, Abby Hoefle 96, Mckenzie Jensen 99, Sydney Stephenson 102, Avery Carlson 114.

MARSHALLTOWN (375) — Henson 87, Feldman 89, Emma Younkin 99, Brynn Van Buren 100, Norah Wilson 110, Sydney Faltys 129.

ANKENY (384) — Webb 78, Kelsey Hensen 99, Hannah Loftus 103, Caroline Price 104, Rachel Moore 120, Gabby Schnepf 122.

NEWTON (400) — Heryford 80, Abby Price 99, Bekah Vasseau 100, Jordon Pritchard 121, Arieal Lum 124.

NORWALK (421) — Lauren Davis 100, Emily Ellis 104, Kailee Elsen 106, Katie Johnson 111, Taylor Gassman 113, Ashley Luedtke 126.

OTTUMWA (424) — Jaden Bradford 90, Kjierstin Ridgway 101, Shayleigh Dunham 107, Leticia Francisco 126, Ava Green 127, Lilly Frazier 130.

URBANDALE (425) — Lydia Dayton 99, Keeli Stevens 103, Claire Phillips 109, Emma Christiansen 114, Madi Lynch 115, Maia Bibbs 123.

WATERLOO WEST (444) — Maddie Dolan 105, Chase Doland 107, Hayleigh Zikuda 112, Evan Miehe 120, Kate Brazan 121, Daniela Cajic 130.