Score it an experience
MARION – Marshalltown junior Michael Schrempf played about as consistently as possible over his two rounds at the Class 4A Boys State Golf Championships.
He just wished the consistency produced a little bit lower scores.
The Bobcats first individual state tournament golfer since 2008 carded an 85 during Friday’s first round and then followed that up with an 86 during the second round Saturday. His two-round 171 put him in a five-way tie for 52nd place at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.
“The biggest problem was my irons,” said Schrempf. “I hit my irons terrible both days. I can’t recall many iron shots that I hit well. You have to hit your irons well. That is the key to the game.”
The individual state championship came down a playoff on No. 1. Defending champion Matthew Walker of Ottumwa rallied Saturday to get to the top of the leaderboard but got clipped in the playoff by Ankeny Centennial’s Griffen Mathias. Both golfers carded 147s for the tournament. Mathias recorded a par on the first playoff hole, while Walker, who shot an even par 72 in round two, bogeyed.
Ankeny Centennial cruised to the team title after registering back-to-back 310s to finish at 620. Cedar Rapids Kennedy carded a 312 Saturday and finished in second with a 629, while West Des Moines Valley rallied to take third with a 645. Bettendorf (649) and Des Moines Roosevelt (650) rounded out the top five.
As a junior, Schrempf knows he has one last chance next season to return to the state meet. But the talented Bobcat knows nothing is guaranteed.
“Matthew Walker is one of the best golfers around and he and I tied at districts,” said Schrempf. “If he takes a few more shots he likely doesn’t get to state. I got a little taste and you want to be back. I want to work on getting back here and proving that I was better than this.
“I have to get better at keeping my composure. I kind of lost my focus out there both days. I tried too hard to turn it completely around.”
Schrempf’s group – which included runner-up Walker – began on No. 18. Schrempf began the day with a bogey on No. 18 and a par on No. 1 but then carded a double-bogey and triple-bogey on his next two holes.
“Every hole out here, there is not much room to miss,” Schrempf said. “And I found where you can’t miss at about every hole. I played the par 4 No. 13 six-over for the two days and you just can’t do that. If you want to be even decent, you can’t play a single hole six-over for the two days.”
He recovered with three straight pars and then birdied the No. 7 par 4. The par and bogey on his next two holes gave him a 41 on the front nine.
“There were similarities to both days,” Johnson said. “He played really well in stretches but then he had one or two holes where a few bad shots would cost him. He was able to make one or two bad shots turn into bogeys on previous courses but today those shots turned into doubles and triples.”
Schrempf struggled with his tee shot on the back nine. He needed multiple attempts on No. 10 as his first shot sailed out of bounds. He ended up with a triple bogey on the hole and then bogeyed No. 11 to move to plus-nine for the day.
The water hazard on No. 13 gave Schrempf trouble both days. He double bogeyed the hole Saturday but managed to recover with pars on 14, 15 and 16. The bogey on No. 17 gave him a plus-14 for the day.
“Michael played well this weekend,” Johnson said. “I know he didn’t do as well as he would have liked, but after he has some time to put this into perspective, he’ll realize just how big of an accomplishment this is. It’s a tough thing to get to state. I don’t think the general population understands how tough it is to get here. There are so many great golfers that aren’t here. It shows what an accomplishment that is.”
Schrempf was the first Marshalltown golfer to reach the state tournament since Jake Butler shot a 161 in 2008. He hopes to make it two in a row in 2014.
“There have been a lot of good players in the program that have made so it feels good to be up there with them,” Schrempf said. “It is hard to get to state. One of my best friends – Ben Woolam – never made it to state and he is golfing in college right now. It just shows that there a lot of good players that played in the program, but it’s difficult to make it.”
The biggest thing about Schrempf advancing to state this season may be that Johnson’s young core of golfers now know that it is possible. The only varsity golfer not returning next year is senior Connor Johnson.
“It shows that it’s doable,” Coach Johnson said. “It takes a lot of hard work for a golfer to get here. It takes one special day to get here. To give yourself a chance for that special day, you have to put the time in in the offseason.”
Des Moines Roosevelt’s Aaron Wirt shot a 71 Friday to take the lead after round one. Wirt though ended up third and finished two shots back after carding a 78 Saturday. Ankeny Centennial’s Andrew Huseman was fourth with a 151, while Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Conner Koberg and Davis Sutton were fourth and fifth after firing 152 and 155, respectively.
Dowling Catholic and Southeast Polk tied for sixth in the team standings after firing a two-day total of 651. The rest of the field included Johnston (655), Burlington (658), Cedar Rapids Xavier (663), Pleasant Valley (667) and Cedar Rapids Washington (684).
Schrempf likes to be grouped with the best and got the chance to play with Walker on both days at state. That will only help him for future rounds, according to Coach Johnson. “It gives him a lot indicators where he needs to put some work into his game,” said Johnson. “It helps to play with the best. There will be things he’ll find that he needs to work on.” … This also was the first time Schrempf played golf and wasn’t on the football team. “It gave me more time to practice,” said Schrempf. “There were some points when I missed football. It definitely helped my game to be able to practice more though.” … Stanford recruit and 2011 champion Jeff Swegle of West Des Moines was seventh overall after two straight rounds of 78. … There were several college golf coaches in town for recruiting purposes. Those schools included Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Arizona, Minnesota and Upper Iowa.