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MHS boys’ golf delayed by derecho damage

T-R FILE PHOTO - Marshalltown High School then-sophomore Grant Greazel attempts a putt on the 12th green during the Bobcats’ dual meet against West Des Moines Valley on Aug. 20, 2019, at Elmwood Country Club. Greazel is the Bobcats’ top returning golfer after averaging an 18-hole adjusted average of 78.27 last fall.

On Monday morning, Marshalltown High School boys’ golf coach Lucas Johnson was prepping for the first day of golf practice when he saw reports of a storm building in Western Iowa.

He sent a text to his team pushing the starting tee times back 90 minutes. But before the clock struck noon, it was clear there would be no practice.

“We always like to schedule the start to the season with three days of playoffs before our first meet,” Johnson said. “So we were scheduled to tee off on Monday at noon at Elmwood.”

A loss of practice time and a likely delay to the Bobcats’ season is just part of the impact from Monday’s storm.

The derecho that struck Marshalltown and a good portion of the state caused significant damage to much of the city and left Marshalltown’s golf courses closed due to power outages and tree damage. Most of the city is without power, including Johnson, and he made clear that golfing isn’t the most important thing right now. But he pointed out the harsh luck the city has had in recent years.

“It’s a punch, for sure,” Johnson said. “In a sense, everyone’s waking up and putting on a pair of work gloves worn out from 2018 and getting to work.”

It leaves the Bobcats’ season in a state of flux. Johnson said it’s unlikely there are other courses in Marshall County that are open and can host a meet for the Bobcats, confirming that “the option of us hosting a meet this week is not likely.”

He said the Bobcats’ season-opening meet Thursday against Mason City scheduled to be held at Elmwood Country Club is going to be postponed to a later date. In fact, Marshalltown’s first three scheduled meets have been either postponed or canceled altogether, including Monday’s tournament at Cedar Rapids Country Club — rated as one of the top-100 golf courses in the country.

It’s a difficult situation for a team that prefers to play in as many meets as possible before school starts, with high hopes coming into the 2020 season — and one that sets them back from their competition in the Central Iowa Metropolitan League.

Competition can begin Thursday, but the Bobcats won’t be there yet. Not by choice, but by circumstance. So when will they get on the course?

It’s a question Johnson wishes he had an answer for.

“We’re kind of in a wait-and-see perspective,” Johnson said. “Just a few hours after it happened, some of the team leaders were texting me thinking of courses where we might be able to play. They wanna play.”

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