By Jon Gremmels Herald Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — DAVENPORT — Everything said it was a day for a good score Tuesday when the Clinton golf team traveled to Emeis Golf Course for the boys district tournament — from sunny skies to pleasant temperatures. Everything, that is, except the play of the River Kings.
Most of the River Kings walked off the course disappointed after the team finished 11th in the 13-team event that determined qualifiers for this weekend’s state tournament at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion.
Bettendorf edged Pleasant Valley by one stroke for the team title, 312-313, and Burlington (317) joined those two in team advancement. Marshal Lamb of Pleasant Valley claimed medalist honors with a 2-over-par 74, while five others finished one stroke behind him.
No one from Clinton was very close.
“Our scores were high today,” Clinton coach Paul Niedermeyer said, “a lot higher than we anticipated or were hoping for. This is the time we should be playing our best golf. Obviously, we didn’t do that.”
The River Kings posted a 357-stroke total, winding up one shot behind Davenport West in the team standings. Freshman Jake Luett led Clinton with an 86, while senior Justin Tomona was next at 88. Neither was smiling about his round.
“I wasn’t really too happy,” Tomona said. “I was second, but it’s a bad score, and I can shoot better than that. Pars and bogeys, and a double here and there.”
Tomona said his tee shots were the worst part of his game, but most of the Kings had putting problems.
“They aerofied the greens last week, and you hit a good putt and it would bump off,” Luett said. “I got mad at myself a few times, which cost me a few shots.”
Greens are aerated — or have holes punched in them to loosen soil — occasionally to help get oxygen to the roots of the grass. It takes awhile for the holes to fill in, and sand often is used to fill them. Until they fill in, greens are uneven.
“I think we had trouble adjusting to the greens,” Niedermeyer said. “They were a little bumpier, and we didn’t make good adjustments to those.”
Luett did adjust eventually and ended his round par-par-birdie-par-par, from the eighth through the 12th hole.
“As I got farther in the round, I hit the ball off the tee a lot better,” he said. “On No. 10 (a 349-yard par 4), I had a very good tee shot, probably my best all day. I didn’t hit my wedge quite hard enough, but I was on the green, and I made a 35-foot birdie putt.”
Junior David Orte recorded Clinton’s third-best score, a 91.
“David hasn’t played a lot of varsity meets, and that is his best (varsity score),” Niedermeyer said.
“No holes stick out; I was pretty consistent on every hole,” Orte said. “My iron play went really well today. I tried to keep the ball in the fairway, and when I got close, tried to get on the greens.”
Senior Ryan Rursch rounded out the scoring group with a 92, a score that disappointed him for his final round for the River Kings.
”I guess I was more disappointed in the fact I was 3-over after nine holes, then kind of fell apart,” he said. “I thought I let the team down. I missed three or four tap-ins. The team could have used me.
”I thought I’d go out with a bang, and I really didn’t. I left a lot of shots out there. I hit my driver well and my irons decent, but I had trouble with my short game.”
Junior Koby Cleary (93) and senior Aaron Henry (103) rounded out the lineup.
”It was a pretty tough way of going out,” Henry said. “I had some trouble around the greens and chipping. I duffed 13 or 14 chips, but my goal today was to have fun and play golf.”
Cleary, who didn’t take up golf until he was a freshman, called his day “bad.”
”I had a rough start, and it kept being rough,” he said.
While Niedermeyer said the Kings would miss the three seniors next year, he said the returning players should form a good foundation. They were already looking ahead Tuesday.
”This lets me know what I need to improve on,” Orte said.
”Consistency,” he said.
DAVENPORT WEST DISTRICT GOLF MEET
Emeis Golf Course, par 36-36—72
(Top 3 advance to state meet)
1. Bettendorf 312; 2. Pleasant Valley 313; 3. Burlington 317; 4. Dubuque Wahlert 324; 5. Dubuque Senior 326; 6. Muscatine 328; 7. Davenport Central 335; 8. Davenport Assumption 339; 9. North Scott 348; 10. Davenport West 356; 11. Clinton 357; 12. Dubuque Hempstead 369; 13. Davenport North 375.
(Top 4, plus ties, qualify for state meet)
1. Marshal Lamb (PV) 74; 2. (tie) Alex Pohlman (Bet), Jack Kennedy (PV), Jakob Kirman (Sen), Brian Peterson (Bur), Charlie Smith (Wahl) 75; 7. Cory Hughes (NS) 77; 8. (tie) DJ Bell (DA), Ryan Berg (Bet), Erron Vandemore (PV) 78; 11. (tie) Zach Blizzard (West), Louis DelVecchio (Cent), Alex Grell (Bet), Jared Hoelzen (Bur) 79.
CLINTON — Jake Luett 86, Justin Tomona 88, David Orte 91, Ryan Rursch 92, Koby Cleary 93, Aaron Henry 103.
More photos online View more than 100 photos from Tuesday's district meet by checking out the photo gallery at Clintonherald.smugmug.com.