IOWA CITY – The six seniors on the Kennedy boys golf team were hoping to close their stellar high school careers with a state championship but settled for a fourth-place finish Saturday in the Class 4A meet at the Finkbine Golf Course.
“I don’t want to use the word disappointed, because that doesn’t sound right for this group of kids,” said Cougar Coach Mark Wilden. “Still, I know they would have liked to have done better than fourth.
“But they finished in the top four in the state four years in a row. That’s not bad. They’ve had a good run.”
Their season-long pacesetter, Cody Bell, started the second day of the tournament tied for 11th place after an opening-round 79 but came back Saturday with a 75 to tie for sixth. He placed fourth in the state last year.
“I drove the ball a lot better today,” Bell said Saturday afternoon following two days of balmy, but windy weather. “And I hit my irons really well. I just didn’t have a real good feel for the greens. I could have played a lot better.”
In reality, neither he nor his teammates had much of a chance to overcome the contingent from West Des Moines Valley.
Led by medalist Jeff Swegle, a sophomore who shot an even-par shot 144 par over the 36 holes, Valley took the team title with a total score of 607, 17 strokes better than runner-up Waukee. Dowling Catholic of West Des Moines was one stroke behind at 625 for third, and Kennedy came in at 634.
Linn-Mar, the only other Metro school in the 12-team tournament, finished in next-to-last place with a 660 total, seven strokes in back of Iowa City City High and three better than Bettendorf.
“With our five seniors on the team, our goal was to finish in the top five,” said Lion Coach Steve Kahler. “I know the kids are disappointed. We were about 20 strokes over our season average and had a bad couple of days.
“But there were a lot of good teams in the tournament, and we were ranked 10th coming in. So maybe it’s about right.”
Lion senior star Tyler McCann rebounded from a disastrous first-round 87 with a 77 on Saturday to claim a tie (along with Kennedy senior Tyler Kalina) for 36th place among individuals.
“I’m pleased that I came back,” McCann said at the end. “I sort of lost my game on Friday. If I’d had two days like today, I would have been right in the mix. It’s too bad, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Linn-Mar’s low scorer was fellow senior Trevor Berry, who had rounds of 79 and 81 to finish tied for 22nd with a 160 total. He was matched by Kennedy senior Brigham Stewart, who shot an 80 both days.
“I’m a little disappointed in how I played,” Stewart said. “And I wish the team could have finished higher in our last tournament together.
“But we had a good senior year, won our conference and the CRANDIC tournament. These two days aren’t the end of the world.”
The lone junior among Kennedy starters, Harrison Moore, shot a 78 on Saturday and paired it with a first-round 81 to tie for 18th at 159. Cougar senior teammate Mitch Martin tied for 25th with a two-day score of 162.
“I didn’t hit the ball terrible both days,” said Martin. “I put myself in the right position to make putts. But I just didn’t make the putts.”
On one hole, for instance, he had a 30-foot downhill putt for a birdie. He hit his shot past the hole and ended up four-putting for a double bogey.
Qualifying for individual honors, Xavier senior J.P. King began the day tied for eighth following a first-round 78. He tailed off with an 82 on Saturday to close at 160 in a tie for 22nd. But King and his Coach Tim O’Brien said it was a good way to finish up his senior season.
“He only had two holes higher than bogey out of 36 holes on a very tough course in very windy conditions,” O’Brien said. “I couldn’t be more proud of his effort. He stayed in his game the whole way.”
For his part, King said he started out well.
“Then, I had a few rough holes when I was hitting the ball all over the place. But overall I had a couple of pretty good scores.”
Kennedy's Wilden could say the same about his group of close-knit golfers over the past four years. They finished fourth in the state twice, third once and runner-up once.
“It’s been a great class,” the veteran coach said. “I’m going to miss them.”
BOYS CLASS 4A STATE GOLF TOURNAMENT
At Iowa City
(Finkbine Golf Course, par-72)
1. WDM Valley 309-298--607
2. Waukee 311-313--624
3. WDM Dowling 314-311--625
4. CR Kennedy 319-315--634
5. Ankeny 322-313--635
6. Ames 329-314--643
7. Ottumwa 322-322--644
8. Muscatine 327-323--650
9. Cedar Falls 337-316--653
10. Iowa City High 323-330--653
11. Linn-Mar 334-326--660
12. Bettendorf 331-332--663
1. Jeff Swegle (WDM Valley) 69-75--144
2. Tomas Gouveia (WDM Valley) 76-75--151
3t. Jon Calhoun (WDM Dowling) 77-75--152
3t. Connor Littlefield (Waukee) 75-77--152
5. Colin Pearson (Fort Dodge) 80-73--153
6t. Andrew Huseman (Ankeny) 80-74--154
6t. Jacob Bermel (Cedar Falls) 79-75--154
6t. Cody Bell (CR Kennedy) 79-75--154
9t. Dustin Atkinson (Ames) 78-77--155
9t. Sammy DeBartolo (WDM D) 77-78--155
9t. Isaac Vandersee (WDM V) 80-75--155
12t. Kurt Martin (Ames) 80-76--156
12t. Grant Campbell (Waukee) 75-81--156
14t. Sam Elliott WDM Valley) 84-73--157
14t. Austin Howe (Waukee) 78-79--157
Cody Bell 79-75--154
Harrison Moore 81-78--159
Brigham Stewart 80-80--160
Mitchell Martin 79-83--162
Tyler Kalina 82-82--164
Jake Wilding 83-86--169
Trevor Berry 79-81--160
Tyler McCann 87-77--164
Trevor McCann 85-84--169
Clay Vieth 86-84--170
Kyle Hackett 84-92--176
Mark Drake 93-86--179
JP King 78-82--160
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