116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Two down, two remaining.
Iowa City Liberty sophomore Bella Pettersen is 2-for-2 when it comes to the top prize in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Pettersen won her second straight divisional meet, firing an even-par 72 Monday at Gardner Golf Course and securing MVC Mississippi Division Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. She finished with a three-round total of 226, topping Cedar Rapids Washington’s runner-up Jane Petersen by four total strokes.
“It means two makes four,” Pettersen said with a short laugh. “I hope that I can keep going with this amazing golf and just overcome the disabilities that I have.”
Pettersen has persevered this spring. The cold, wet and windy weather has wreaked havoc with all golfers, but it has compounded her battle with arthritis that is so bad that it forced her to abandon her last round at Gardner. She even suffered a dog bite on her home course at Brown Deer Golf Club as she concluded the MVC Super Meet.
“She finally feels kind of healthy for the first time,” Liberty Coach Brian Wernimont said. “Warm weather is kind of helping her out to feel 100 percent. Forty degrees all April makes a kid who has arthritis have a tough go of it. So, I think she’s feeling a little better now.
“Obviously, some of the scores coming around and her confidence comes around with that.”
A strong start provided a boost, carding birdies on the 15th and 16th holes and putting her 2-under after just three holes.
Pettersen parred 10 of the next 12 holes until her third birdie on the par-five 11th. The last birdie was a product of a good approach and execution.
“My coach came up and said we’re going to hit it straight at this tree,” said Pettersen, who finished the back nine with a 34. “He told me to line up with it on the side of the hill and I did it. It got on the side of the green, chipped up and got a birdie.”
Work on the green helped power her lowest 18-hole score of the season. Pettersen wasn’t pleased with her putting at the end of last week, so she spent 10 hours with her dad over the weekend at Brown Deer, attempting to fine-tune her putting. Pettersen reaped the rewards.
“I put it together,” Pettersen said. “Today, I had the lowest amount of putts I’ve had all year.”
Cedar Falls won the team title Monday with 349, topping runner-up Washington by four. The Tigers claimed the MVC Mississippi Division championship with a three-round total of 1,068. Western Dubuque was second in the overall standings, finishing fourth with a 361 Monday.
Petersen and Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Addie Berg shot 75 apiece to share runner-up honors. Both earned first-team all-conference honors. Petersen was joined by teammate Mya Messenger on the first team. Messenger recorded an 83 at Gardner.
“Jane was so terrific, as always,” Washington Coach Dennis Goettel said. “Mya Messenger played very well.”
Mackenzie Parks shot 94 to earn all-conference honors. Lydia Jackson and Allie Hayes each had 101, which was the fourth score for the Warriors.
“I was really happy for Mackenzie Parks,” Goettel said. “She worked her way up. She was really good from tee to green all day.
“I was really pleased with the other three. They’ve come on.”