Courier sports staff
POLK CITY —
Matthew Walker is leading the pack and the Ottumwa boys golf team is in the hunt.
The Bulldogs are in fourth place and Walker is tied for the individual lead after Friday’s first round of the Class 4A Boys State Golf Tournament, held at The Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City.
Walker’s first-round score of 69 is tied with Johnston’s Grant Smith for the lead, while the Bulldogs carded a team round of 312, just five strokes off of leader Cedar Rapids Kennedy (307).
“It was cold and windy,” said Ottumwa coach Scott Maas. “It’s a tough course, and I’m sure every team shot higher than they had hoped.”
The cold and windy conditions left for a very competitive meet, however, with four teams within five strokes of the lead and eight teams within 10 strokes.
“There are probably five or six teams that feel like they have a chance to win it,” said Maas. “So it’s exciting for everybody. We’ll just go out and play and see what happens.”
Waukee is one shot behind Kennedy and Johnston is two strokes back. Ankeny follows Ottumwa at 315, three shots behind the Bulldogs, while three teams — West Des Moines Valley, Cedar Rapids Xavier and Pleasant Valley — are all knotted up at 317.
Walker and Smith are three strokes up on their next closest competitors, as Kennedy’s Conner Koberg and Ankeny’s Andrew Huseman are both at 72. Jeff Swegle of Valley, the defending state individual champion, carded 77 Friday and is likely out of the title hunt.
“Matthew just had a tremendous score,” said Maas. “It’s fun and exciting — we have Matthew in the hunt for the individual title and we’re still in the hunt for the team title.”
Joe Wetrich shot 79 in round one for Ottumwa, while Jacob Gardner and Hoyt Grooms both carded 82. Dillon Patritto carded 87 for the Bulldogs, while Braxton Coble had to withdraw. Coble had some equipment problems and unfortunately was unsure of whether or not he could continue play. By the time he found out that he could continue play, it was too late for him to return to the course. He will not be able to participate in today’s second and final round.
So the five remaining Bulldogs and the rest of the state tourney field will take to course at 10:30 a.m. today in a shotgun start.
“We’re going to try to keep the same frame of mind we’ve been playing with all along,” said Maas. “We’ll try not to worry about the score, just take it one shot at a time and see where we end up.”
CLASS 4A Boys State Golf Tournament
At The Tournament Club Of Iowa
Team scoring — 1. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 307, 2. Waukee 308, 3. Johnston 309, 4. Ottumwa 312, 5. Ankeny 315, 6. West Des Moines Valley 317, 6. Cedar Rapids Xavier 317, 6. Pleasant Valley 317, 9. Dowling Catholic 325, 10. Ames 328, 11. Bettendorf 329, 12. Muscatine 334.
Leaders — Matthew Walker (OTT) 69; Grant Smith (JOHNS) 69.
Top Ten — 1. Matthew Walker (OTT) 69, 1. Grant Smith (JOHNS) 69, 3. Conner Koberg (CRK) 72, 3. Andrew Huseman (ANK) 72, 5. Dustin Atkinson (AMES) 74, 6. Jake Campbell (JOHNS) 75, 6. Jon Ingwersen (CRX) 75, 6. Matt Junge (CRX) 75, 9. Jacob McKinney (WAU) 76, 9. Jack Kennedy (PV) 76, 9. Harrison Moore (CRK) 76
Ottumwa individuals — Walker 69, Joe Wetrich 79, Jacob Gardner 82, Hoyt Grooms 82, Dillon Patritto 87, Braxton Coble WD.