Brigham Stewart had never broken 70 in a competitive round of golf in his life.
He has now, in grand style.
Stewart fired an 8-under-par 64 at Twin Pines Golf Course Thursday and teammate Cody Bell carded a 66 as Kennedy captured the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet by 11 strokes.
Stewart, a senior, has shot 70 and 71 before, but had never dipped into the 60s until he tamed the 5,802-yard layout at Twin Pines on a picture-perfect day for golf.
"I played well. I putted pretty well, the driver was really working," he said. "I'm really happy with a 64.
"This is the first time cracking 70," he said. "Hopefully this is just the start."
The Mississippi Valley Conference begins the boys golf season with its Super Meet with all 14 schools in attendance, so the golfers have to be sharp from the start. The Super Meet is the first of three tournaments to decide the conference champions. The Super Meet scores carry over to the divisional meets on Sept. 12 and Sept. 26.
The Cougars have a huge lead because they were razor sharp.
Stewart had nine birdies and one bogey, when he 3-putted the 17th green.
"I knew I was capable," he said, "and I just had to turn it on. I think today was the day I did it. I'm just looking for a great season, for me and the rest of the team."
Bell supported Stewart with a 6-under 66. He began his round with a birdie, par, eagle (on the 13th) and another birdie, so he was 4-under after four holes.
"That really got me off the blocks and I was able to coast the rest of the way," he said.
Mitchell Martin and Jake Wilding carded even-par 72s for the Cougars, giving Kennedy a four-man total of 14-under 274. That was 11 shots better than Dubuque Hempstead in second place.
Harrison Moore shot a 73 and freshman Conner Koberg had a 76 for Kennedy, but the Cougars were so strong Thursday that they didn't need to count those solid rounds.
Stewart, a senior, has a new driver in his bag and has added about 25 yards to his tee shots. He figures he belted one about 300 yards on Thursday.
"He's grown, he's taller, he's stronger and mature," said Kennedy Coach Mark Wilden. "He's worked hard."
Stewart has worked with Elmcrest Country Club pro Larry Gladson on his swing and mental approach, and he served as the standard-bearer for Zach Johnson's group when Johnson held his fundraiser at Elmcrest last week.
"It was fun to watch him," he said.
Bell hit .400 for Kennedy's baseball team this year, helping the Cougars reach the state tournament, and he didn't start swinging a golf club this season until two weeks ago.
"I'm just starting to get my game together," he said. "It felt really good today and it was really nice to play a round like that."
Kennedy finished second at the Class 4A state golf meet in 2010, continuing a string of strong performances for the Cougars. They placed fourth at state in 2009 and third in 2008.
"It looks like it's time for a first for us," Bell said with a grin.
Kennedy graduated state runnerup Dane Worley and Dan Wasta from last year's club, but appears to have another group that's capable of competing for a state crown.
"I think we have the ingredients to definitely do that," Wilden said. "It's just a matter of timing. You have do it on those two days (at state).
"We're just going to keep knocking on the door and hopefully we'll kick it in."
Jason Beer shot a 3-under-par 69, Ben Sagers had a 2-under 70 and J.P. King shot a 72 to help Xavier place third in the team standings.
Tyler McCann fired a 5-under 67 to take third place in the individual standings and help the Linn-Mar Lions place sixth overall. Trevor Berry carded a 1-under 71 for the Lions.
Prairie got a 3-over 75 from Matt Edl and finished eighth. Dominic Rodriguez shot an even-par 72 to help Washington place ninth. Zach Denny shot a 2-over 74 as Jefferson finished in 10th place.
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