CLINTON — A young Clinton golf team struggled despite decent weather and home-course advantage Wednesday at the River King Invitational at Valley Oaks Golf Course.

The River Kings finished tied for seventh out of nine teams competing Wednesday afternoon, tying Davenport North with a team score of 377. Muscatine took the top spot in the field with a team score of 329.

The Muskies were led by senior Bryce Howard, who took the top individual slot with a score of 76.

“I didn’t shoot what I wanted to, but I am content with the way I played,” Howard said. “I had a couple of slip-ups but was able to correct them. Team win and individual win, it’s a good day.”

Howard was one of two athletes to shoot under 80 Wednesday, which he said was because of the weather and the difficulty of Valley Oaks.

“Morale wasn’t as high as you would think for a team that won, but we had a couple of guys step up and score pretty well,” Howard said. “This course can really get to you if you don’t hit the shots you need to. Plus, it was really windy today.”

The River Kings were led by senior Jared Simpson, who finished with a score of 81, the fourth-best score of the day.

“I’m happy with the way Jared played today,” Clinton head coach Paul Niedermeyer said. “He’s really been on a quest to break 80, and he came close today.”

For the rest of the young varsity squad, four of the remaining five players finished in triple digits.

“When you’re bringing pretty much all junior varsity players up and throwing them onto varsity it’s tough for them,” Niedermeyer said about his team. Clinton has only two players with previous varsity experience. “We’re young, Jared is the only senior today. We’re trying to rebuild a little bit this year and come back next year strong.”

Niedermeyer could be seen talking to his frustrated players Wednesday, trying to remind them that it’s one hole at a time.

“It is frustrating for them sometimes. It’s really hard. You just have to tell them once that shot or that hole is done you have to put it behind you and restart and say the next hole is important,” Niedermeyer said. “If you have a bad hole, put it behind you.”

Andrew Brisch was one of those frustrated players.

“I don’t think I played very good,” he said. “I couldn’t get anything to fall; my chipping wasn’t very good. I could have done a lot better.”

Still, Brisch says the team has good attitudes and is improving. They had their best team score at the end of August at Duck Creek Golf Course.

“We lost our two best players last year, and now we’re just trying to have fun,” Connor Hyde said. “We’ve been doing a lot better lately. Team chemistry is really great.”

The lone senior, Simpson, says there is some mental work to be done, especially going into the bigger tournaments coming up within the next month.

“After this one we need to do some work because this is not very good for our home course,” he said. “I think it’s focus because we make a lot of mental mistakes, and we need to practice more seriously so we play better in the tournaments.”

RIVER KING INVITATIONAL

Valley Oaks Golf Course, Par 35-35-70

TEAM STANDINGS–1. Muscatine 329; 2. Pleasant Valley 331; 3. North Scott 334; 4. Western Dubuque 346; 5. Assumption 351; 6. Burlington 368; 7. (tie) Clinton, Davenport North 377; 9. Davenport West 430

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS—

1. Bryce Howard (Musc.) 76; 2. Drew Daly (WD) 79; 3. Jack Roemer (PV) 80; 4. (tie) Matt Cain (Assump.), Jared Simpson (CHS), Miles Utley (Musc.) 81; 7. (tie) Alec Henrich (Burl.), Brady Frank (NS), Eric Thompson (PV) 82; 10. Eric Dobbe (NS) 83

CLASS LEADERS—Freshman Runnerup: Jack Dumas (PV) 85; Freshman Medalist: Jack Roemer (PV) 80; Sophomore Runnerup: Brigg Burback (Musc.) 95; Sophomore Medalist: Zach Stasz (DW) 94; Junior Runnerup: Mitchell Temperley (NS) 85; Junior Medalist: Joe Logan (PV) 84; Senior Runnerup: Drew Daly (WD) 79; Senior Medalist: Bryce Howard (Musc.) 76

CLINTON—Jared Simpson 39-42-81; Andrew Brisch 54-54-108; Connor Hyde 48-52-100; Zach Bohle 51-52-103; Ty Koehler 51-45-96; Joe Simpson 46-54-100

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