Courier sports staff
POLK CITY —
It was a good day for Matthew Walker and the Ottumwa boys golf team Saturday.
Walker came through with a first-place finish — and it really wasn’t even close — while the Bulldogs placed third as a team at the Class 4A Boys State Golf Tournament. The two-day event was held Friday and Saturday at The Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City.
“It was a happy ride home,” smiled Ottumwa coach Scott Maas.
After Friday’s first round, the Bulldogs were in fourth place while Walker was tied for the lead with Grant Smith of Johnson, as both golfers had carded 69 Friday. Walker’s 72 on Saturday left his final score at 141, five strokes better than everyone else. Ottumwa’s team score of 317 on Saturday left the Bulldogs at a 629 total, four shots better than fourth-place Dowling Catholic. Waukee was the state team champ at 617, edging first-round leader Cedar Rapids Kennedy by just one stroke. The Bulldogs finished 12 shots behind Waukee.
“The guys were pleased,” said Maas. “They all would have liked to have won first as a team, but they are not disappointed with third. They brought home a trophy. “There is so much talent out there. Of the 12 teams, 10 of them had a legitimate chance to win it going in.”
Smith finished tied for second at 146 along with Andrew Huseman of Ankeny and Dustin Atkinson of Ames.
“Matthew played an extremely solid round.” said Maas. “In high school golf, when you’re playing, you don’t know what the other guys are doing, so Matthew just worried about his score. He took it one shot at a time.”
Walker was paired with Huseman from Ankeny, and with nine holes to go, Walker did know he was two shots behind Huseman.
“He shot under par on the last nine holes to win it,” said Maas.
Walker, just a sophomore, will have a target on his back next season, but Maas said that the pressure and the accolades wouldn’t likely hurt his play.
“He is a humble kid,” said Maas. “I think he’ll keep a level head.”
Joe Wetrich finsihed at 155 for Ottumwa, while Hoyt Grooms shot 166, Dillon Patritto 172 and Jacob Gardner 180. Wetrich and Gardner are the only seniors in Ottumwa’s top six.
“It’s been a lot of fun working with those guys this year,” said Maas, who is in his first season as Ottumwa golf coach. “They’ve been great leaders for this team and we will certainly miss them.”
CLASS 4A Boys State Golf Tournament
At The Tournament Club Of Iowa
Team scoring — 1. Waukee 308-309-617, 2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 307-311-618, 3. Ottumwa 312-317-629, 4. Dowling Catholic 325-308-633, 4. Pleasant Valley 317-316-633, 6. Johnston 309-327-636, 7. West Des Moines Valley 317-320-637, 8. Bettendorf 329-316-645, 9. Cedar Rapids Xavier 317-328-645, 10. Ankeny 315-333-648, 11. Ames 331-323-654, 12. Muscatine 334-329-663.
Individual Champion — Matthew Walker (OTT) 69-72-141.
Top Ten —
1. Matthew Walker (OTT) 69-72-141, 2. Grant Smith (JOHNS) 69-77-146, 2. Andrew Huseman (ANK) 72-74-146, 2. Dustin Atkinson (AMES) 74-72-146, 5. Jon Calhoun (DOWL) 77-74-151, 6. Davis Sutton (CRK) 78-74-152, 6. Harrison Moore (CRK) 76-76-152, 6. Jeff Swegle (VALL) 77-75-152, 6. Aaron DeNuci (WAU) 77-75-152, 10. Conner Koberg (CRK) 72-81-153, 10. Matt Junge (CRX) 75-78-153.
Ottumwa individuals — Walker 69-72-141, Joe Wetrich 79-76-155, Hoyt Grooms 82-84-166, Dillon Patritto 87-85-172, Jacob Gardner 82-98-180, Braxton Coble WD-WD-WD.