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CEDAR RAPIDS — Fall golf may still be weeks off, but the best golfers in the city have their clubs swinging already.
The 2016 Rotary Pribyl Junior Boys Golf tournament brings out many of the best middle school and high school boys golfers from Cedar Rapids and Marion public and parochial schools for a four day tournament across several golf courses in the city.
Nevermind that Tuesday’s second round at the Cedar Rapids Country Club chewed up some of the golfers, resulting in clubs tossed to the turf near the swinging bridge, hats spiked to the ground, and golf balls cast from one green to the next tee box and saw only a handful of golfers shoot under 80 for the day, the Pribyl gives golfers a chance to practice in a tournament format early in the season.
With the next two rounds at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion, and Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids, the tournament also gives those who make the cut a chance to play a wide circuit of courses in the city.
Tuning up for fall golf in the summer is vital, several of the Pribyl leaders said. Ryan Keating of Xavier, Jake Corkery of Kennedy and 2015 champion Frank Lindwall of Washington all said they play five to seven rounds per week.
The trio played in Tuesday’s second round lead group, with Lindwall posting the lowest score of the day, 74, bringing his two-day total to 145.
“I think it sets us up great,” Lindwall said. “Obviously we see a lot of the same kids as we will in the fall, and it’s a good measure to see how you’re doing against other schools.
“It’s a good way to end the summer.”
Lindwall led wire-to-wire in 2015 and is leading through the first two rounds of the 2016 tournament.
His playing partners said the Cedar Rapids Country Club course played rough on Tuesday.
“I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I brought it back, just had to stay patient because the green could get you if you get it in the right spot,” Corkery said. “I lost it a little bit on the back nine.”
The benefits of the early season tournament, despite the frustrations that come with it, far outweigh the drawbacks.
Washington head coach Dennis Goettel, who was observing the tournament on Tuesday, said he encourages all of his golfers to compete in the annual event.
“We have half a dozen, six or seven, and it’s good for the middle school kids who are headed your way, to get them started,” Goettel said.
He also noticed the frustration on the golf course.
“Nobody’s ever played a round where they didn’t think they could be better,” Goettel said. “It’s how you handle it.”