Bobcats win first Mark Mann Invite in six years

MASON CITY – The Marshalltown boys’ golf team shot its lowest 18-hole score in six years when the Bobcats carded a 297 in the season opener against Fort Dodge at Elmwood Country Club 11 days ago.

Marshalltown wasn’t that low Monday, but the Bobcats still claimed their first Mark Mann Invitational title since 2008.

Senior Michael Schrempf shot a 75 and was two shots better than anyone else as he claimed medalist honors and led the Bobcats to a 10-shot win over Cedar Falls at the Mason City Country Club.

“It’s a great honor for our guys to win the Mark Mann Invitational, knowing how much he meant to golf in both Marshalltown and Mason City,” said MHS coach Lucas Johnson. “The course had taken on more than four inches of rain leading into this morning, which made it play longer than normal. But the softness of the greens allowed us to be aggressive with our approach shots.”

The Bobcats also got top-six performances from junior Sam Weatherman and freshman Nate Vance and Marshalltown carded a 318 on the day. The Bobcats fired a 317 when they took third in 2012 at Highland Park Golf Course and the 2008 championship included a 297 at Highland Park Golf Course.

Weatherman’s 79 was good enough for fourth, while Vance carded an 81 to take sixth. Brant McKibben fired a fourth counting score of 83, while Brandin Chaloupek turned in an 86 and Beau Ragland added an 88 to round out the Bobcat lineup.

“Sam hit the ball well and used his strong short game skills to scramble for a few pars,” said Johnson. “Seeing the course for the first time, Nate did a solid job navigating a few of the holes where strategy off the tee comes into play. He could have easily been in the 70s again except for a three-hole stretch on 7-9 where he played five-over.”

Cedar Falls finished with a 328 to take second, Newton was third at 331 and host Mason City ended up fourth with a 355. Fort Dodge (362), Waterloo West (373), Des Moines East (377) and Des Moines Lincoln (391) rounded out the eight-team field.

The Bobcats climbed to the top of the Mark Mann Invitational because the returning golfers were much better than they were a year ago. Schrempf was third last year with a 78, while Weatherman improved his score by five strokes. McKibben was eight shots better than last year and Chaloupek’s 86 was seven better than his score in 2013.

Schrempf defeated Cedar Falls’ Matt Bauman by two shots to win medalist honors. Austin Reynolds was one shot back of Bauman at 78 and Weatherman bested last year’s champion – Mason City’s Jared Rowe – by one stroke. Vance’s 81 was one shot back of Rowe.

“Michael hit it pure almost all day,” said Johnson. “He capped off his day with a chip for birdie on No. 18.”

After winning the title in 2008, the Bobcats took second in 2009, 2010 and 2013 and settled for third in 2011 and 2012. Waterloo West won three straight championships from 2009 to 2012 before Mason City claimed the top spot last year.

The Bobcats next play at the Newton Invitational on Sept. 4. That tourney will start at noon and will be played at Westwood Golf Course.