MUSCATINE — A young Clinton High School boys golf team opened the season with a 10th-place finish Friday at the 13-team Muscatine Invitational.
Based on the tiebreaker — lowest fifth score — Bettendorf won the team title after both the Bulldogs and host Muscatine finished with 329 team totals. Fellow Mississippi Athletic Conference schools Pleasant Valley (344), Davenport Assumption (346), Burlington (348) and North Scott (350) rounded out the top six.
Muscatine’s Bryce Howard was the meet medalist with a 6-over-par 77. Pleasant Valley’s Jack Dumas and Assumption’s Griffin Steer tied for second one stroke back.
Clinton finished with a 404 team score on the par-71 Geneva Country Club course.
“It was a tough day for some of our kids playing in their first varsity meet of their careers on a tough course,” Clinton Coach Paul Niedermeyer said. “Things will improve, and our scores will get better as the season goes on. We have to learn how to eliminate the big scores on the scorecard, and then we will be much more successful.”
The River Kings were led by their two returning letterwinners. Junior Zach Bohle shot a 93, and senior Jared Simpson had a 96.
Niedermeyer must replace five experienced seniors, including Jake Luett, who tied Steer for 24th place at last fall’s state tournament.
“Since we graduated five seniors that have been on the team for the past three and four years, we will have some big shoes to fill,” Niedermeyer said. “That being said, we will be pretty young and inexperienced this year, with many of our players who will be playing in the top six varsity spots for the first time in their careers.”
Sophomore Ty Koehler had Clinton’s third-best round Friday, a 103, and was followed by senior Hunter Brashaw (112), freshman Joe Simpson (115) and junior Connor Hyde (117).
“I think we will have a fairly deep team without that one standout performer,” Niedermeyer said. “Player number one through player number six could be our team medalist on any given day, so each player will need to keep grinding and working hard to produce a score in order for our team to be successful. We will not be able to rely on that one or two good players but rather produce our success as a team.”
Niedermeyer has a large roster to pick his lineup from. Others who are hoping to battle for varsity spots are juniors Riley Hill and Tanner Dickherber; sophomores Andrew Brisch, LJ Henderson, Andrew Reed, Josh Riessen, Casey Shannon, Darrin Bethard and Lucas Tornow; and freshmen Keaton James, Max Kaczinski and Andrew Stoltenberg.
Geneva Country Club, par 71.
1. Bettendorf 329*; 2. Muscatine 329; 3. Pleasant Valley 344; 4. Davenport Assumption 346; 5. Burlington 348; 6. North Scott 350; 7. Western Dubuque 372; 8. Iowa City High 376; 9. Davenport North 380; 10. Clinton 404; 11. Davenport Central 415; 12. Iowa City Liberty 458. Davenport West also competed but didn’t have enough golfers for a team score. * — Won by tiebreaker (lowest fifth score).
1. Bryce Howard (Mus) 77; 2. (tie) Jack Dumas (PV), Griffin Steer (Assumption) 78; 4. (tie) Benny Flanagan (Bett), Trevor Rogan (Bett) 70; 6. (tie) JT Manjoine (Mus), Alec Heinrich (Burl) 80; 8. Eric Dobbe (NS) 81; 9. Matt Cain (Assumption) 82; 10. (tie) James Flynn (Bett), Josh Hutton (Mus), Lance Patton (NS), Jax Stelzer (WDub) 85.
CLINTON — 32. (tie) Zach Bohle 93; 36. (tie) Jared Simpson 96; 52. (tie) Ty Koehler 103; 61. (tie) Hunter Brashaw 112; 63. Joe Simpson 115; 66. (tie) Connor Hyde 117.