Prep Sports

Cedar Rapids Kennedy edges Xavier in first round of MVC Valley boys' golf

Cougars junior Carter Vander Zee and Saints sophomore Charlie Allen share medalist honors

Carter Vander Zee, Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Carter Vander Zee, Cedar Rapids Kennedy

IOWA CITY — Hard work has paid dividends for Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Carter Vander Zee.

The junior golfer has made gains and has cashed in on some of the rewards.

Vander Zee earned co-medalist honors with Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Charlie Allen, helping the Cougars finish first in the team race at the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division meet Tuesday at Finkbine Golf Course. Vander Zee and Allen each shot 80, while Kennedy edged the Saints, 335-336.

Vander Zee has transitioned from a part-time starter last season to a consistent contributor to this year’s lineup.

“I put in a lot of work,” Vander Zee said. “I went from trying my best to shoot 90s and playing bogey golf to shooting mid- to high-70s. Now, I’ve just gotten a lot better and it shows. I play every day.”

Vander Zee has shaved double digits from his nine and 18-hole averages. Kennedy Coach Mike Green said he has seen the improvement.

“He’s way more consistent this year,” Green said. “It just shows the hard work he’s put in to get better.”

Vander Zee carded birdies on the par-4 No. 5 hole and par-5 15th, which played 462 yards. The latter followed five straight pars after the turn, including the difficult 160-yard island green on No. 13.

An effective short game provided a boost on a course with challenging greens.

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“I just putted pretty well, except for the last hole,” Vander Zee said. “The driver wasn’t doing too well, but I made up for it with some of my approach shots and recovery. I just made sure not to get down on myself.

“I just tried to put the ball in the right place.”

Despite missing a starter due to COVID-19 and a lineup without a senior, the Cougars grabbed a lead after the first of two divisional rounds to determine MVC team champions and all-conference performers.

Brady Shea was third with an 82. Gannon and Reid Hall, added 85 and 88, respectively, to round out Kennedy’s score.

“It was nice,” Green said. “When the scores came in, I didn’t know what anybody else had shot. I saw our scores and thought it wasn’t going to be good today, but it was a tough day for everybody. We were fortunate today we were one stroke better.”

Allen closed strong to share top honors. He finished with four straight pars and seven in the final eight holes to come in at 38. His lone birdie came on the 411-yard par-5 No. 6.

“I felt the key was hitting wedge shots close,” Allen said. “I wasn’t hitting a lot of greens (in regulation). Those wedges came in and helped a lot.

“Those pins were in really bad positions and getting above them was not a good idea. I just tried to get the ball below the hole. If you did miss, make sure your chip was below the hole.”

Xavier is on Kennedy’s heels with Dubuque Senior placing a distant third with 351. The Saints’ Clayton Nurre fired 83 to tie for fourth. Matthew and Ryan Schmit shot 86 and 87 for Xavier.

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“Overall, we played pretty good,” Allen said. “I was surprised the scores were as high as they were, but we did well.”

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE

VALLEY DIVISIONAL

At Iowa City

(Finkbine Golf Course, par 72)

Teams — 1. C.R. Kennedy 335, 2. C.R. Xavier 336, 3. Dubuque Senior 351, 4. Dubuque Hempstead 363, 5. C.R. Jefferson 366, 6. Waterloo West 367, 7. Waterloo East 473.

Individuals — 1. (tie) Charlie Allen (CRX) and Carter Vander Zee (CRK), 80, 3. Brady Shea (CRK), 82, 4. (tie) Clayton Nurre (CRX) and Wil Sigwarth (DH), 83.

KENNEDY (335): Vanderr Zee 80, Shea 82, Gannon Hall 85, Reid Hall 88.

XAVIER (336): Allen 80, Nurre 83, Matthew Schmit 86, Ryan Schmit 87.

JEFFERSON (366): Adam Panoch 91, Logan Miller 91, Landon Augustine 92, Logan Augustine 92.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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