POLK CITY - It's been a focus for improvement all year, but the short game continues to be the Achilles' heel of the Marshalltown boys golf team.
The greens weren't any kinder to the Bobcats Wednesday, as they finished 10th out of 11 teams with a score of 366 at the Central Iowa Conference Invite at the Tournament Club of Iowa.
"All season we've been talking about our short game and that's where the majority of our strokes were lost again today," said MHS head coach Lucas Johnson. "We need to keep working on it."
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown junior Connor Johnson sinks a putt at the Central Iowa Conference Invite at the Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City Wednesday. Johnson carded an 83 to lead the Bobcats, who will vie for a state tournament berth at the district meet in Fort Dodge Tuesday.
Class 4A No. 1 ranked West Des Moines Valley captured the team title finishing at 293 to edge No. 2 Waukee by three strokes. No. 3 Dowling Catholic (301), No. 9 Ames (303) and No. 12 Southeast Polk (309) rounded out the top five.
"I think we left some shots out there. Team score wise we had some pretty high numbers that we'd like to see a little bit lower," said Johnson.
No. 6 Johnston (316) edged No. 8 Ankeny (316) for sixth, while Mason City (8th - 318), Urbandale (9th - 358) and Fort Dodge (11th - 369) also were in the field.
Central Iowa Conference Invite
At Polk City
Tournament Club of Iowa, par 71
Team Standings - 1. WDM Valley 293, 2. Waukee 296, 3. Dowling Catholic 301, 4. Ames 303, 5. Southeast Polk 309, 6. Johnston 316, 7. Ankeny 316, 8. Mason City 318, 9. Urbandale 358, 10. Marshalltown 366, 11. Fort Dodge 369.
Individual (top 10) - 1. Isaac Vandersee, WDM Valley, 70; 2. Dustin Atkinson, Ames, 71; 3. Jon Calhoun, Dowling Catholic, 71; 4. Jeff Swegle, WDM Valley, 71; 5. Grant Campbell, Waukee, 73; 6. Mike Woofter, Waukee, 73; 7. Parker Howe, Waukee, 73; 8. Sam DeBartolo, Dowling Catholic, 73; 9. John Hartung, SE Polk, 73; 10. John Walsh, WDM Valley, 74.
WDM Valley (293) - I. Vandersee 70, J. Swegle 71, J. Walsh 74, N. Reddig 78
Waukee (296) - G. Campbell 73, M. Woofter 73, P. Howe 73, T. Kinney 77
Dowling Catholic (301) - J. Calhoun 71, S. DeBartolo 73, A. Barber 76, J. Gradoville 81
Ames (303) - D. Atkinson 71, C. Power 75, D. Sorrentino 75, Z. Stuart 82
SE Polk (309) - J. Hartung 73, J. Blocher 77, B. Nordman 79, N. Metge 81
Johnston (316) - G. Smith 76, A. Burns 78, K. Sesker 81, J. Campbell 81
Ankeny (316) - A. Huseman 75, D. Schnepf 79, G. Matthias 81, B. DePrez 81
Mason City (318) - Ja. Rowe 76, D. Mejia 78, Jo. Rowe 80, B. Butler 84
Urbandale (358) - C. Feldotto 85, B. Egger 89, R. Olson 92, M. Hansing 92
Marshalltown (366) - Connor Johnson 83, Riley Wirth 92, Drayton Lents 95, Sam Weatherman 96, Brant McKibben 96
Fort Dodge (369) - E. Puls 87, A. Hage 89, N. Sunken 94, A. Sorensen 99
Junior Connor Johnson fired an 83 to lead the Bobcats.
"Connor hit the ball tee-to-green really well. Putting was his downfall, as he had 12 3-putts which on a course like this is tough to swallow," said Coach Johnson.
Johnson wasn't the only one to struggle with the greens at TCI though it's an area he knows must be addressed.
"I hit the ball well, I just didn't putt too well. The greens were tough to read," Connor Johnson said.
MHS seniors Riley Wirth and Drayton Lents carded a 92 and 95 respectively, while freshmen Sam Weathermen and Brant McKibben each turned in a 96. Grant Whitmore tallied a 98 to complete the Bobcats' top six.
Marshalltown hopes to earn a second crack at the Tournament Club of Iowa by earning a trip to state. Nonetheless, the experience at the challenging course should pay dividends down the road.
"This is a state tournament level competition on the state tournament course so it's a good learning experience. We've got a team that has a lot of youth so we can take away quite a bit moving forward," said Coach Johnson.
One addition that could boost the Bobcats' state hopes is the potential return of Michael Schrempf, who was the team's No. 1 or 2 player before breaking his hand August 24.
"His status is still up in the air," said Coach Johnson.
Regardless of how the line-up shakes out, the Bobcats will return to practice with a sharpened focus on the greens.
"Our short game still needs to improve. We'll put the time in at practice and hopefully it will carry over to the course on Tuesday," said Johnson.
The Bobcats will compete in the Class 4A District meet at Fort Dodge Golf & Country Club Tuesday. Top teams in the field include Waukee, Dowling Catholic and Ames.
The top three teams and top four individuals (plus ties) at the district meet will punch their ticket to state.