The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

September 26, 2012

Steamers keep title at tournament

GENESEO, Ill. — When Three Rivers Conference medalist Kyle Workman and fellow state qualifier Evan Eissens graduated last spring, the returning players on the Fulton boys golf team knew there was no one to carry them this fall.

Depth kept the Steamers strong this season, and it made the difference Tuesday at the conference tournament.

Fulton put up four scores of 85 or better and edged Morrison 332-333 for first place in the meet at Maple Bluff Golf Club.

"I'm stoked; even if it's one stroke, it's a win," said senior Gunner Decker, who led Fulton with a 78, claiming runner-up medalist honors on a cardback over Griffin Kozeal of Amboy.

The win also determined the season-long conference points title, with Fulton garnering 30 points, to 28.5 for Morrison.

"Before the season started, we knew that without Kyle and Evan, we would all have to kind of count on each other. I would almost say our strength as a team is bonding," Fulton's Logan Rascher said.

"All year we had people step up," said Kyle Wiebenga, Fulton's No. 1 player. "I can count at least one person (in the lineup) who stepped up and shot low when we needed it most."

Tuesday, Rascher and Lucas Wiebenga filled the bill, each shooting an 85.

"Lucas and Logan both shot better than average," Kyle Wiebenga said. "Those two, and Gunner, were the difference."

Rascher, Fulton's No. 4 player, averages 88-90 strokes for an 18-hole round, while Lucas Wiebenga, the No. 6 player, averages about a 92.

"It means a lot to be able to contribute," Lucas Wiebenga said.

First-year Fulton coach Mark Speir said he knew it wouldn’t be easy.

“We knew going in it would be a close battle with Morrison,” he said.

Morrison's Reid Hoffman, the meet runner-up in 2011, won medalist honors with a 1-over-par 73. For him, though, a sensational round turned into disappointment on the final hole. He considered his quadruple-bogey 8 on the hole as the difference in the team title.

"(It hurts more) quite a bit," he said after the team scores were posted. "I'm not a happy person right now. To have them beat us by one stroke kind of hurts."

He took little solace in the fact he shot 5 strokes better than anyone else.

"I do, though (put it on himself)," he said. "I realize the team relies on me a lot."

On the strength of five birdies, Hoffman teed off on No. 18 at 3 under par. But his drive found a side hill and bounced out of bounds, requiring a second drive. His next shot from the fairway sailed over the green. He chipped on, then three-putted.

"Without the out-of-bounds ball, they would have beaten us," Decker said.

"He got a bad bounce off the hill," said Kyle Wiebenga, who was playing in a threesome with Hoffman and Kewanee's Dylan Galloway. "He played a spectacular round except for two bad shots. I really feel for him."

For Hoffman, the hole was a nightmare revisited from a tournament 10 days earlier at Maple Bluff.

"I was 2 under going to 18 and took a double," said Hoffman, whose 72 that day gave him a second-place finish. "That hole is my nemesis. I can't seem to hit the ball down the fairway. There's just something about it; it gets me every time. It's not that hard of a hole by any means."

Except for 18, Hoffman played almost flawlessly on the sunny, 80-degree day. He shot 36 on the front nine and 37 on the back.

"The front nine was a little shaky, but finally on the back I got my putter going and had birdie after birdie," he said.

Hoffman finished the day with five birdies — on the par-4 fifth hole, the par-5 ninth, the par-3 12th, the par-4 15th and the par-5 16th.

"The one on nine was a great hole for me," he said. "I had a nice layup and a great wedge to the green to about 5 feet. That probably was the turning point of my round."

Until it turned ugly for him on No. 18.

Morrison's other scorers — Sam Ottens with an 86 and Colton Smith and Ben Tegeler with 87s — were solid, too, but just not quite as good as their Fulton counterparts.

"They've been on our tail all year," Decker said.

"All tournament, we knew every stroke would matter," Lucas Wiebenga said.

 “With six holes to play we probably weren’t winning,” Speir said. “It was the way we finished that made the difference.”

Both Lucas Wiebenga and Rascher had strong closing holes, which they said were crucial.

"I kind of wanted to give up because I had just doubled before, but I parred the hole from 25-30 feet," Wiebenga, who finished on No. 2, said.

"On the last hole (No. 1), I got on the green knowing I really needed a par," Rascher said. "I tried really hard to par and got it." He missed a 12-foot birdie putt but stuck in a 5-footer for par.

Kyle Wiebenga and Decker also had difference-making holes they could point to.

"Probably my best hole was No. 7, a par 3," Wiebenga said. "I put an 8-iron in the sand trap behind the green — and not just in the sand but in a shoe print where someone didn't rake — and I got up and down."

Decker said back-to-back pars on Nos. 10 and 11 stuck out to him.

"Ten is a hole where I had taken two eights (in earlier meets this year), and I came in for a birdie putt and missed but made par. It was a relief par. Then I parred 11, the hardest hole."

Pars were nothing unusual for Decker, though. He finished with 13 of them.

"My putting was good," he said. "My irons weren't too strong, but I hit my drives down the middle, and it helps when your driver is on."

And with such a close battle, the Steamers needed all the help they could get.

Text Only
Sports
  • River Hawks win triangular CLINTON -- Cration Andresen claimed medalist honors and teammate Logan Wilhelm took second Thursday as they led Easton Valley to first place at a boys golf triangular hosted by Camanche at The Oaks Golf Course. Easton Valley finished with a 190-strok

    April 19, 2014

  • White Sox whipped by Texas Rangers ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez turned toward first base, waiting for the call he hoped was coming. When the umpire's arm went up signaling a strikeout on Dayan Viciedo's check-swing with a full count, the young Texas Rangers left-hander pumped his

    April 19, 2014

  • L'Kings keep Hot Rods cold BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- There's nothing like jumping on a team when it's down, and the Clinton LumberKings did just that Friday night. For the second night in a row, the LumberKings used a five-run inning to take a victory at Bowling Green Ballpark, th

    April 19, 2014

  • Saints split on the road CEDAR RAPIDS -- Ashford split a pair of lopsided softball games on the road Friday. The Saints beat Mount Mercy 14-2 in the first game of the doubleheader, but the Mustangs came back to take the second game 9-1 in five innings. Special to the Herald

    April 19, 2014

  • Cubs drop fifth straight CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija has had a hard time finding run support this season. The same could be said for all Chicago Cubs' pitchers. First, the good news: Chicago managed to break a 24-inning scoreless streak. And then, the usual dose of bad news:

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19-14 1B-Photo, Fulton catch HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL Hall halts Steamers FULTON, Ill. -- Fulton knew it had its hands full heading into Friday's baseball game against Hall. After all, the Red Devils entered the game with an 8-1 record, and they had momentum after blanking Rockridge the day before. Fulton fell to Hall 5-2

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shutout gives Ashford split CLINTON - Kevin Delzell's strong pitching helped Ashford come away with a split as it began its final home weekend of the season with a split against Clarke in college baseball Friday afternoon at Ashford University Field. Ashford got a strong pitchi

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-18-14 1C-Photo, Blackhawks Blackhawks start blue in Cup defense ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues went the distance, and then some, to get the jump on the defending Stanley Cup champions. Alexander Steen scored at 26 seconds of the third overtime to cap the longest playoff game in franchise history and give the Bl

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • River Kings light up the Day DAVENPORT -- Clinton continued its strong season in boys track and field, taking first place Thursday at the Jesse Day Relays on the final day of qualifying for the Drake Relays. The River Kings scored 138 points. Solon edged Davenport Central 120-11

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18-14 3C-Photo, Rasche Clinton tennis splits with Muscatine CLINTON -- The Clinton tennis team faced Muscatine at Max Lynn Tennis Complex on Thursday where it was a tale of two duals. The girls' team won 9-0 over the Muskies while the River Kings fell 8-1. Queens sail in sweep In the six singles matches, not

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

High School Sports