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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Washington’s Connor Neighbors season is off to a good start.
Things were even better Tuesday for him and the Warriors.
Neighbors shot 2-under 61, edging teammate Frank Lindwall by one stroke for medalist honors and helping the Warriors capture the team title at the CRANDIC Invitational at Airport National Golf Course.
Neighbors recorded a bogey-free round with birdies on hole Nos. 4 and 18.
“I was striking the ball really well,” Neighbors said. “I was able to hit it pretty close.
“My putting wasn’t great but I was sticking it close to give myself chances.”
Neighbors was one of only four players, joining Linn-Mar’s Andrew Wood and Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Ian Johnston and Sam Lockhart, to score three straight pars from the 14th to 16th. Each were par-3 holes.
“Those played pretty hard today,” Neighbors said. “The wind made it hard getting the right number and hitting the right club. I felt pretty good through that stretch.”
Golfers had to manage windy conditions, especially on multiple tees atop of a large hill. Neighbors, who was averaging less than 75 over 18 holes before the round, knew he could score well on the shorter course with tough greens.
“I know with this course it can go pretty low on it,” Neighbors said. “It was pretty windy, which made it more difficult. I’m pretty happy with 61.”
The Warriors placed three in the top five of the individual race, scoring 257 as a team. Alex Slattery was fifth with 64 and sophomore Ben Skogman rounded out the scoring with 70. Washington is starting to develop depth to go along with low-score potentials in Lindwall, Neighbors and Slattery.
“We’re starting to play well and get that fourth score in there,” Lindwall said. “I think our fourth through sixth are a little new to the atmosphere. They are starting to get a little more comfortable and it’s definitely showing.
“We’ve won a few meets now and the fourth score has been an important part of that.”
Prairie earned its first runner-up CRANDIC finish under Coach Erik Columbus. The Hawks shot 263. Johnston led the way with 63, tying for third. All four Prairie scorers were 14th or better.
“They played well,” Columbus said. “It was a good team effort. It didn’t hurt being on our home course.”
Sam Lockhart tied for seventh with 66. Griff Clark and Ben Drysdale added 67 apiece for the Hawks. Columbus said the team has tried to have more fun playing in competition, taking a page from “Happy Gilmore” by blocking negative thoughts and harnessing good energy. Patience is key the rest of the regular season.
“We’re improving each meet with our goal to peek at regionals,” Columbus said, “The guys are doing all the right things.”
At Airport National Golf Course
Teams — 1. C.R. Washignton 257, 2. C.R. Prairie 263, 3. C.R. Kennedy 265, 4. C.R. Xavier 267, 5. Linn-Mar 270, 6. Iowa City West 288, 7. Iowa City High 304, 8. C.R. Jefferson 315.
Individuals — 1. Connor Neighbors (CRW), 61, 2. Frank Lindwall (CRW), 62, 3. (tie) Ian Johnston (CRP), Brock Barnhart (CRK), 63, 5. Alex Slattery (CRW), 64.
WASHINGTON (257): Neighbors 61, Lindwall 62, Slattery 64, Ben Skogman 70.
PRAIRIE (263): Johnston 63, Sam Lockhart 66, Griff Clark 67, Ben Drysdale 67.
KENNEDY (265): Barnhart 63, Jake Corkery 66, Jonah Beman 67, Brant Barnhart 69.
XAVIER (267): Sam Martin 65, Nick Recker 66, Matt Neumeyer 68, Ryan Keating 68.
LINN-MAR (270): Andrew Wood 66, Cole Yearling 66, Jack Recker 69, Ben Greif 69.
I.C. WEST (288): Kyle Jenkins 69, Kyle Spence 69, Caleb Crossett 74, Ryan Cooper 76, Zach Starman 76.
CITY HIGH (304): Campbell Johnson 72, Will McIntire 77, Devin Rutt 77, Mason Shawver 78.
C.R. JEFFERSON (315): Nile Happel 71, Lucas Brown 79, Austin Schmitz 81, Spencer Smith 84.
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