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Golf notes: Cedar Rapids Washington brings competitive “home” meet to Illinois
18 teams compete in Thursday’s Warrior Invitational at Eagle Ridge South Golf Course in Galena, Ill.
Cedar Rapids Washington Coach Dennis Goettel has a clear objective for his program’s annual boys’ golf meet.
He wants to provide a unique opportunity competitors normally don’t experience. Last year, the tournament was played at Cedar Rapids Country Club. It has been held twice at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., which is home of the PGA’s John Deere Classic, Elmcrest Country Club, Amana Colonies Golf Club and Glynns Creek Golf Course.
“My theme has been to get these kids on courses they wouldn’t otherwise play in a high school meet,” Goettel said. “I love it. I feel it’s been building up for this for quite a while.”
Washington will host its Warrior Invitational Thursday at Eagle Ridge South Golf Course in Galena, Ill. The field consists of 18 teams, including Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Linn-Mar, Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet champion Cedar Falls and some of the best teams in Class 4A with a couple from Illinois.
“We have 11 of the top 13 teams in Iowa here,” said Goettel, noting the Moline team qualified for state in Illinois and a small Galena school will bring a couple good individuals. “It will be fun.”
The event was originally hosted by Dubuque Wahlert, but Goettel estimated Washington took it over about 10 years ago. It was first competed at Eagle Ridge and this is the first time back at the course with the Warriors in charge.
“It’s a beautiful course,” Washington senior Braden Becker said. “It should be fun, challenging but fun.”
Linn-Mar Coach Chris James, a former golf coach for Washington, said Eagle Ridge presents uneven lies, difficult downhill and uphill approaches and undulated greens. The only thing tougher than the course is the competition.
“I think it’s a great event on multiple fronts,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said. “For one, it’s a chance for these kids to play a new course they probably haven’t played before. Typically, the course we play provides a unique challenge as well.
“The other thing I like is the field that will be there, usually about 17 solid teams. Not only do you get a good idea of where you stack up with others across the state but also it allows the kids to play with different athletes they may not usually get a chance to compete against.”
The Warriors played a practice round Wednesday before an overnight stay. They planned to have dinner and play some games as a team. Some of the other programs had similar itineraries.
“With no school, we get to have some bonding,” Goettel said. “We’re up here for two days. A lot of teams are doing that. We have four teams from Des Moines over here. It tells you how much it means to them.”
Liberty Lightning strikes for win
Iowa City Liberty has produced a strong start to the season. The Lightning opened the year with a fifth-place finish at the MVC Super Meet last week, but it didn’t take long for them to earn their first title.
Liberty claimed the team crown with 309 at the Muscatine Invitational on Friday at Geneva Golf and Country Club. J.J. Grimm was the runner-up medalist, shooting 73 and helping the Lightning top Pleasant Valley by four strokes. Tate Brunk added a 76, while Ryan Schmierer and Lucas Bartachek each carded 80.
Liberty also shot 322 to place third at Iowa City West’s Blue Top Ridge Classic on Monday, coming in behind Johnston and Pleasant Valley.
Reid Hall leads area golfers
Kennedy junior Reid Hall leads Gazette-area golfers in 18-hole average. The returning MVC Valley Player of the Year owns a 73.5 average, shooting 73 and 74 in two rounds at Hunters Ridge Golf Course. Hall is tied for 13th in all of 4A entering Thursday’s Warrior Invitational.