116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CORALVILLE — Tate Brunk has probably played at least 50 rounds at Brown Deer Golf Club over the last year.
The Iowa City Liberty senior has a lay of the land on his home course. He converted that experience into his best round of the season Monday.
Brunk fired even-par 71 to finish third at the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi divisional golf meet. He posted the best score not from Cedar Falls, which boasted medalist Max Tjoa and runner-up medalist Owen Sawyer. The Tigers won with 285, 14 strokes ahead of second-place Cedar Rapids Xavier.
Brunk topped his best 18-hole round by five shots and he used his knowledge for an advantage.
“It helps on a lot of tee shots that people are in-between clubs,” Brunk said. “I’ve played out here plenty of times over the summer and last year. I really know where to miss and where to hit certain shots to give me a good shot into the green.”
The back nine can cause fits for golfers coming off the tee, but that is where he capitalized on his course management. Brunk tallied birdies on the par-4 11th and 16th holes for a 1-over 36.
“Off the tee, I felt like I hit a lot of the shots where I wanted to hit them,” said Brunk, noting he had 30 putts and reached 12 greens in regulation. “I missed in the right spots, if I missed. I took advantage of the ones that I could.”
Brunk notched five birdies total, including one on No. 7 to open the round and on Nos. 3 and 4 near the end. He capped the round with a par, which reversed a trend that saw him close three recent meets with two triple-bogeys and a quadruple-bogey.
“To end with a par this time took a lot of weight off myself,” Brunk said. “Finally realizing I can do what I need to do.”
Charlie Allen led the way for Xavier, tying Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Tanner Wachtl for fourth with 73. Ryan Schmit and Garrett Nurre each scored 74. Freshman Jacob Schmit added a 78 in his first varsity start.
“We had depth this year and that proves it,” Xavier Coach Tim O’Brien said. “Our top three guys are still solid as all get out. Tip of the hat to Cedar Falls.”
All six Tigers shot 78 or better with three rounding out the scoring with 76 apiece. Tjoa blistered Brown Deer for an 8-under 63. He played a bogey-free round with seven holes under par, carding an eagle on the par-5 10th hole. Sawyer had to settle for second despite shooting 1-under 70.
“Those guys are both D-I golfers and really good players,” said Brunk, who was grouped with Sawyer. “Just getting close and knowing you can compete with these guys just helps you go a long way in life.”
The Saints have been on a steady climb this season, handing Cedar Falls its lone loss of the season last week. They broke 300 for the second time this season and are gearing up for the postseason.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with where we’re at with what they’re doing and their confidence level,” O’Brien said. “We have to continue to do this the rest of the way.”