MARION — After one day of action at the Class 4A State golf tournament, Matthew Walker finds himself still in the hunt for a second state championship.
"He has a chance tomorrow," Ottumwa golf coach Scott Maas said.
Ottumwa's defending state champion carded a 75 at Hunter Ridge Golf Course, which left him in a tie for fourth place with Conner Koberg of Cedar Rapids Kennedy. It was a solid score on a day when most golfers' rounds were higher than usual because of the wind.
"You just have to stay patient," Walker said about playing the course's difficult back nine on a windy day.
"The wind was blowing like crazy," Maas added.
While difficult on even the most pleasant of days, The wind made the back nine, with its par fives and water traps, especially treacherous. Still, Walker played well enough to stay in contention for the championship. Ottumwa's standout golfer said the strongest aspect of his performance was probably his short game.
To repeat as champion, Walker will have to pass the three other golfers currently in front of him. Aaron Wirt of Des Moines Roosevelt, someone Walker has competed against several times this fall; is in first place after carding a 71. Griffen Matthias of Ankenny Centennial finished just one stroke behind Wirt with a 72 and occupies the second-place slot. Matthias' teammate Andrew Huseman fired a 74 and is in third place.
The final round of state golf action begins at 9:30 a.m. this morning.