Prep Sports

Benton Community boys' golf prospers with team effort

Prep golf notes: Bobcats look to return to state meet; Postseason assignments; Area leaders

Benton Community’s boys’ golf team poses with the championship after winning the Class 3A district meet at Pin Oak Links on Friday, May 19, 2017, in Manchester. (From left to right) Benton Coach Jeremy Suiter and players Jacob Heit, Spencer Touro, Tyler Eggert, Landen Pace, Ben Parmenter and Nate Ettleman earned the program’s first team berth since 1986.
Benton Community’s boys’ golf team poses with the championship after winning the Class 3A district meet at Pin Oak Links on Friday, May 19, 2017, in Manchester. (From left to right) Benton Coach Jeremy Suiter and players Jacob Heit, Spencer Touro, Tyler Eggert, Landen Pace, Ben Parmenter and Nate Ettleman earned the program’s first team berth since 1986.

VAN HORNE — Benton Community returned four of its top six golfers from its first state tournament team in more than three decades.

The Bobcats, however, graduated the top two players from that crew. They entered the season with plenty of promise to return to the state meet, but needed competitors to lead the way.

“This year, it’s more of a team effort,” Benton Community Coach Jeremy Suiter said. “I have to pull my weight now.

“The sophomores moving up to juniors are taking more of a leadership role in the way they play.”

Benton has continued its success from a year ago. The Bobcats are ranked sixth in Class 3A with a 157.5 nine-hole average and 166.88 combined adjusted average after Tuesday’s dual victory over Independence.

Nate Ettleman was the medalist Tuesday, shooting even-par 36 at the Bobcats’ home course of Tara Hills Country Club. He is the fourth Bobcat to earn or tie for medalist honors, joining seniors Stuart Tiedemann and Spencer Touro and junior Ben Parmenter.

Ettleman is the fourth player to shoot even at their home course as well.

“A lot of times when you have successful teams you have four solid kids and then two that can go low on any given day to counteract any bad days from the top four,” Suiter said. “That is really what we have right now. It’s a fun time.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The depth and balance extends beyond the six golfers in the lineup. Benton actually returned nine of its top 12 from last season. Competition for starting spots has forced players to work hard in the offseason.

Suiter said Ettleman, Parmenter and Jacob Heit can be found at the course almost daily, working on their game and playing holes. Many have added tournaments to their summer schedule, including Parmenter, who was named Junior Optimist Player of the Year.

“It’s very competitive to get on to varsity,” said Suiter, noting Benton players finished in the top four spots in a summer tournament at Ellis. “If you take a summer off or don’t keep working on your game, you might get passed by somebody who is.”

Four-sport standout Touro leads the way on the score card. He ranks 19th in 3A with a 40.56 combined adjusted average. Touro also has team-best averages in nine (38.25) and 18 (82) holes.

He still gets his time on the course when he’s not playing football, basketball and baseball at a high level.

“Spencer is a freak athlete,” Suiter said. “When he picks up a golf club he’s just a natural. He plays with his dad, but just not as much as the other guys. He’s just a gamer. When he shows up he’s going to be ready to try to win.”

Suiter said the Bobcats push each other and have good-natured competition to post the best round to help the team. He also said the Bobcats have been motivated to improve last year’s state finish, showing the benefits of that experience. They recognized their potential when DeWitt Central claimed the 3A state team title, despite losing to Benton three previous times.

“The goals have kind of changed to where a couple years ago it was getting to the state tournament,” Suiter said. “Then last year, it was make some noise and try to win the thing. This year, it’s more ‘Let’s go win the state tournament’ instead of just trying to get to it.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Postseason assignments

In just two weeks, the IHSAA postseason will begin with sectional competition for Classes 3A, 2A and 1A. Some tournaments will be open the postseason Thursday, May 10 with the majority of sectionals held the next day.

Area teams will start on May 10. Marion, Anamosa, Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Maquoketa, Union Community and Vinton-Shellsburg head to a 3A sectional at Springbrook Country Club in DeWitt hosted by DeWitt Central.

In 2A, Dyersville Beckman will host a 2A sectional on that Thursday at Dyersville Golf and Country Club. The field includes Bellevue, Cascade, Jesup, Monticello, North Linn, Oelwein and Waterloo Columbus.

Williamsburg has reached the state golf meet the last eight seasons. The Raiders moved from 3A to 2A this season. Williamsburg will host a 2A sectional at Stone Creek Golf Club on May 11, facing Central Lee, Columbus Community, Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis, Mid-Prairie, Van Buren and Wapello.

Iowa City Regina will compete at a 2A sectional at Wahkonsa Golf and Country Club hosted by Wilton.

In 1A, defending state champion East Buchanan will hold a sectional at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Winthrop. The Bucs will host Alburnett, Belle Plaine, Central City, Edgewood-Colesburg, Isaac Newton Christian Academy and Maquoketa Valley.

Clayton Ridge, Midland and Iowa Valley also will host sectional meets.

Top area performers

Cascade’s Race Cuckler and Edgewood-Colesburg’s Ethan Streicher rank among leaders in their respective classes.

Cuckler, a two-time state qualifier who finished ninth in 2016, has posted the fourth-best combined adjusted average in Class 2A, coming in at 38.60, which is 13th across all classes. He also owns a 37.33 nine-hole average after three rounds, sitting fifth in 2A and 19th statewide. His low round of 33 is tops in 2A and tied for fourth overall.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Streicher was 11th last season at the 1A state meet. He is fifth in 1A with a combined adjusted average of 39.0 and a nine-hole average of 38.0.

Decorah’s Jay Fjelstul leads the state in nine-hole average, carding a 34 for medalist honors in a dual meet Monday.

Mount Vernon’s Reece Pitlik (seventh at 74.50), Anamosa’s Aman Egge (tied for eighth with 75) and Clear Creek Amana’s Brandon McCarty (10th with 75.5) have top-10 18-hole averages in 3A.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.