Wind toggles Schrempf’s score at state

MARION – Hauling his clubs toward the final hole of the day, Michael Schrempf breathed a long sigh.

It was one of both relief and exhaustion as the junior Bobcat neared the completion of Friday’s opening round that baffled players across the board with challenging holes complicated by gusting winds.

Feeling the wind’s wrath even more on the back nine, Schrempf came through with a 13-over-par 85 (40-45) in the first day of the Class 4A State Boys Golf Championship Friday at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.

“Playing with the wind and playing against the wind was just so much different today. It was rough,” said Schrempf. “To really sum up the day, one of the holes I hit a 300-yard 4-iron and later I hit a 140-yard 5-iron. That’s a big difference in distances from one club to another.”

Des Moines Roosevelt’s Aaron Wirt claimed the opening round lead firing a 71, while Ankeny Centennial’s Griffen Matthias (72) and Andrew Huseman (74) were second and third, helping the Jaguars (310) hold a seven-stroke edge over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the team race. The Roughriders (320) are in third, with a one-stroke advantage over Bettendorf.

Defending state champion Matthew Walker of Ottumwa is tied for fourth at 75 with Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Conner Koberg.

Schrempf, who started his day on No. 18, sat at even-par through seven holes after swapping bogeys on 3 and 5 with birdies on 4 and 6. The junior said the front nine played pretty true to form, though he felt the force of the wind more beginning on No. 7, with a double bogey after his drive sailed left into some cutup grass mowings.

“Sitting on the cutup grass, I tried to hit this punch shot and it just ballooned way in the air and went left,” said Schrempf. “It just got ugly from there.”

Schrempf bogeyed 8, 9 and 10 before making par on the next two. Though hole 13 summed up the difficulties of the back nine when a pair of shots dropped in the water giving Schrempf a quad bogey.

“He just went a little astray off the tee and had a tough lie. Then he hit another one in the pond,” MHS coach Lucas Johnson said of No. 13.

“That rattled him a bit, but overall the course showed its teeth today. It’s brutally windy out there, the kids just had to battle. There really wasn’t any let-up holes out there where you can kind of catch your breath. Every hole you’re having to grind away and think about where you can stay safe.”

Schrempf found the back nine especially dangerous as the wind didn’t help matters.

“On the back nine you have to hit it straight and I didn’t hit it straight. I hit it out into the wind,” said Schrempf, competing in his first state tournament and Marshalltown’s first appearance since 2008.

“The wind would catch it and it would move right into a hazard. I was just not judging distances very well. It was a hard wind to judge.”

Schrempf doubled on the par-3 14 and 16 while holding even on 15 and 17. Though his frustration grew as the day went on, it quickly dissipated in the clubhouse as he saw others scores come in on the board and soon realized he was one of many that were struggling with the wind.

Johnston’s Jake Campbell (86), Dowling Catholic’s Sam DeBartolo (80) and West Des Moines Valley’s Jeff Swegle (78) – a Stanford recruit – were just a few of the top names that also struggled and gave Schrempf a boost in morale heading into day two.

“Realizing it’s not just me playing bad really gave me some confidence,” said Schrempf, who noted several adjustments to make for Saturday.

“I got a little too frustrated at times. I don’t know if that cost me today, but it will in the future. After I start playing bad, I just need to relax and go play. Today, I tried to do too much.”

Schrempf returns to action today at 9 a.m. with the same trio from Friday including Walker, Dubuque Wahlert’s Charlie Smith (79) and Dubuque Senior’s Jacob Kirman (86).

“While the round was going on, Michael was frustrated with his round,” said Johnson. “But now that he sees how tough the course is playing and sees that a lot of the great players in the state struggled with it, he feels better about his round. Now that he’s played the course once, he’ll have a lot more confidence and feel a little more relaxed going into tomorrow.”