Valley slips out of Bobcats’ grip

WEST DES MOINES – It was hot and the fairways were very dry. But despite the conditions, the Marshalltown boy’s golf team put up a strong fight against West Des Moines Valley before falling by just two strokes.

Bobcat junior Michael Schrempf and Valley’s Ryan Thompson both carded 38s to share medalist honors, but Thompson got better support from his teammates as the Tigers edged the Bobcats, 157-159, on a sultry Monday at Willow Creek Golf Course.

“A 159 is our best nine-hole team score since we shot a 155 in our opener,” Marshalltown coach Lucas Johnson said. “That was at home, too. From a number’s perspective, you can take a positive there.”

The two teams played Willow Creek’s nine-hole white course. There also is a nine-hole blue course and an 18-hole red course. All of the fairways were dry though, making it tough on both squads as their drives rolled further than normal.

“It was incredibly dry in the fairways today,” said Johnson. “Getting a good lie in the fairway was pretty tough to come by. The ball was rolling an awful long way. Sometimes that was to our advantage. Other times it rolled 20 feet into the trees, which added strokes to our scores. But it’s the same for both teams.”

Schrempf’s three-over 38 came without a birdie. So did sophomore Sam Weatherman’s 39. Connor Johnson birdie his final hole at No. 9 to finish with a 41. Sophomore Brant McKibben and junior Brandin Chaloupek also had birdies but finished with non-counting scores of 42.

The final counting score came from sophomore Beau Ragland, who fired a 41.

“Our guys scrambled pretty well around the course today,” Johnson said. “Sometimes when we didn’t hit the fairway off the tee, we would still be able to get up and down for par.”

Weatherman was a good example of that. He had a great round of golf going until he bogied his final three holes.

“Sam got up and down for par quite a few times,” Johnson said. “He looks at his round today and probably thinks it could have been a lot better.”

It was the second time Ragland’s score counted for the Bobcats. And it was the second straight meet in which the No. 5 (Chaloupek) or No. 6 (Ragland) golfers produced a counting score for Marshalltown.

“Our top four guys are starting to get some support from the back end,” said Johnson. “We have had our five and six guys score for us in our last two meets. That’s positive, but we can still go lower as a team. It is a matter of playing smart.”

Behind Thompson, Valley got a 39 from Kenny Bassett, 40s from Jack Parker and Ben Kruse and a 41 from Trey Creighton. Spencer Mauk carded a 44.

The MHS junior varsity also lost to Valley on Monday. The Bobcats got a 45 from Mason Huntley but trailed the Tigers by 40 strokes thanks to strong performances by Chase Koschmeder (38) and Nathan Schmitt (39). Adam Prust and Jake Goetz also carded 40s.

Cody Mead finished with a 49 for the Bobcats, and the other counting scores came from Nate Harris (50) and Tyler Baccam and Hunter Riedl, who both shot 53.

The Bobcats will have a week to iron out a few things before playing in the Turk Bowman Invitational in Ames next Monday. Action at Ames Golf and Country Club will begin at 9 a.m.

“We are much better than we were last year,” Johnson said. “I think our scores have proven that. We are still looking to put together a round where our top four guys play as well as we can. We know we can go lower, but we are still building.”