BURLINGTON — Starting with their own home tournament two weeks ago, the Ottumwa boys’ golf team had plenty of tournament title to defend this season.
Prior to Monday, however, the Bulldog linksters had yet to defend one of the many team championships they claimed last fall. The Burlington Invitational, however, is a place where winning is becoming second nature to OHS and its defending state champion junior.
Matthew Walker led Ottumwa to the team’s third consecutive team title at Flint Hills Golf Course, earning his third-consecutive medalist title at the tournament. An even-par round of 72 gave Walker a two-shot win over Pleasant Valley teammate Erron Vandemore and Jack Kennedy and helped lift the Bulldogs to a four-shot win over Bettendorf with a team round of 308.
“We’ve come close to defending titles at our tournament and Marshalltown. We don’t feel like we’ve played poorly, we just couldn’t quite get over the top,” Ottumwa head boys’ golf coach Scott Maas said. “The guys were happy to finally get that job done. It made for a much happier ride home.”
While Walker earning his third-straight meet medalist honor was a nice start toward a third-straight team title for the Bulldogs in Burlington, it took complete team effort for Ottumwa to hold off a competitive field. Any of the other top five teams had a chance to dethrone OHS as Bettendorf, Muscatine, Pleasant Valley and Burlington all finished within nine shots of the Bulldogs.
Walker was aided by three teammates finishing within eight shots of the individual lead. Perhaps no one helped out more than freshman Trey Thomas, who finished ninth in the tournament with a round of 77.
“If it hadn’t been Trey, I’m not sure we would have won,” Maas said. “He’s really been coming on.”