Briarwood keeps Bobcats at bay

ANKENY – Marshalltown junior Michael Schrempf took it upon himself to request a chance to play with one of the state’s best golfers when the Bobcats faced off head-to-head with West Des Moines Valley earlier this season.

Schrempf got that chance Monday when the Marshalltown golf team traveled to Briarwood Club of Ankeny to play in the Valley Classic.

The Bobcats’ No. 1 golfer was matched up with three of the better golfers in the state and came away with a 10th place finish overall as the Bobcats finished in a tie for eighth place as a team.

“I had asked the Valley coach if I could play with (Valley’s No. 1 golfer) Jeff Swegle earlier this season because I have never gotten to play with him and wanted to before he went off to college,” said Schrempf, who carded a six-over 78 on the day. “Playing with three of the better players in this meet was a benefit to me because it showed me where I need to be at with my game. It kept me more focused and allowed me to play a better round I think.”

Swegle will play collegiate golf at the University of Stanford next season. The state’s top-ranked golfer in Class 4A came two strokes shy of medalist honors though as 24th ranked John Stroud of Dowling Catholic finished with an even par 72 in claiming the individual title.

Swegle’s 74 was good enough for runner-up honors, while Dowling Catholic’s Sam DeBartolo, Johnston’s Korbin Sesker and Ankeny Centennial’s Andrew Huseman all turned in 75s to round out the top five. Cory Mullins of Valley also shot a 75 to finish sixth. Sesker and DeBartolo are both ranked in the current top 15 of the state rankings.

Marshalltown got a strong performance from its No. 5 golfer Brandin Chaloupek, who carded his best round of the season with a second straight 84. Brant McKibben’s 93 and Connor Johnson’s 95 were the other two counting scores. Sam Weatherman, who battled a back injury, carded a 96 and Beau Ragland finished with a 104.

“Given the windy conditions, Michael and Brandin both can be pleased with how they played today,” Marshalltown coach Lucas Johnson said. “Michael held his own with some of the best golfers in the state. He got into a groove toward the end of the round, finishing with six straight pars.

“Brandin used his length off the tee to his advantage, getting back-to-back birdies on the par 5 third and fourth holes en route to one of his best rounds as a Bobcat.”

Schrempf came into the day hoping to take home a medal against some of the state’s best golfers. After missing this tournament last year due to injury, he did just that and came one stroke off a tie for the seventh position.

“I played pretty good actually,” Schrempf said. “The wind was swirling, and I never felt real comfortable with my shot because you weren’t sure what the wind would do to the ball.

“I only three putted once. The greens were tricky. The practice greens rolled true but were sort of slow. The actual greens also stayed true but were much faster. There are a lot of tricky holes out there.”

Combine the tricky holes with the gusting wind, and the Bobcats carded a finish that left them near the bottom of the standings.

“Briarwood demands accuracy off the tee with the thickest rough we’ve seen all year in addition with out of bounds in play in many holes,” Coach Johnson said.

Marshalltown’s score of 350 was good enough to tie Central Iowa Conference Northern Division rival Mason City for eighth and was just one stroke off Ankeny’s seventh-place finish.

Host West Des Moines Valley earned the team title with three golfers claiming a top-10 individual tally. The sixth-ranked Tigers carded a 305 to best No. 2 Dowling Catholic by one shot. Ankeny Centennial was third with a 311, while seventh-ranked Johnston was fourth at 319. Ames, ranked 14th overall, and Newton tied for fifth with a 344.

Johnson hopes playing in the conditions his team played in Monday and getting experience on that type of course will help the Bobcats today when they head to Copper Creek for the Southeast Polk Invitational.

“We’ll face a similar test (today) in playing Copper Creek, which also has quite a few tight holes,” Coach Johnson said. “We’ll need to do a better job at keeping the ball in play to improve our team finish.”

Not only did Schrempf’s score beneift from playing with some of the top golfers in the state. He also could see an improvement in his game down the road after receiving some friendly pointers from Swegle.

“Swegle has a beautiful swing, and he is a great player,” Schrempf said. “He talked to me a little bit, he has similar footwork that I do, and we both have a tendancy to leave our foot open. He actually gave me a couple of drills I can do on the range to help me not move that foot.”

Action today at Copper Creek Golf Club begins at 9 a.m.

Notebook

Swegle told Schrempf that playing golf for the University of Stanford was his dream. The Cardinal offered the Valley senior, who was eighth at the state meet last year, this past summer and it didn’t take long for him to accept. … Centennial’s Huseman was third at the state meet last fall. … Dowling finished fourth at state last year, while Valley was seventh, Ankeny 10th and Ames 11th. … Mason City is currently ranked 11th in the Class 4A rankings. Marshalltown sits 16th, while Newton and Ankeny are 18th and 19th, respectively. … The rankings were last updated by the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association on Sept. 3. … The Tigers have been playing their Valley Classic at Briarwood Club of Ankeny since 1999. The tournament started with three teams, has had as many as 18 and now settles on 10.