CEDAR RAPIDS — Depth has been a strength for the Cedar Rapids Xavier boys’ golf team.
The Saints may not have that ultra-low shooter that other teams possess, but they do have up to seven players who have a combined adjusted average at 43.20 or better.
“Our depth is incredible,” Xavier Coach Tim O’Brien said. “We have two regular-season meets left and we have a playoff for a spot. We have seven boys that we’re confident in playing right now. That is a great sign. They all know they have to keep getting better.”
Xavier ranks among the top 10 in Class 4A in 18-hole average and team combined adjusted average. The Saints have relied on their balance and will need that to continue as the regular-season winds down and postseason rapidly approaches.
“I like where we are,” O’Brien said. “I like our chances, but you still have to go out and play well.”
The Saints moved into second place in the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division standings last week, sitting a distant second to top-ranked Cedar Falls. They moved just one stroke ahead of Cedar Rapids Washington, entering Monday’s final divisional round at Gardner Golf Course.
Xavier has finished in the top two in its division standings since 2009, according to O’Brien. The streak won’t be easy to extend.
“We’re going to have to play well to do that,” O’Brien said. “We’re pretty proud of that. It’s something we’d like to continue.”
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Xavier added a sixth-place finish at Washington’s Warrior Invitational that was held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., last Wednesday. The Saints were the highest-placing area team, edging the Tigers by a stroke. It was the first competition Cedar Falls didn’t win this year.
“It was a nice win,” O’Brien said. “I was really pleased with that, even though we didn’t play our best. We had kids scratching it out at the end and trying to post a score.”
Xavier averages 311.67 per 18 holes and owns a combined adjusted average of 160.25. Individually, Nick Recker leads the way with a 39.84 adjusted score. Max Henderson isn’t far back at 40.22. Three more own averages under 42.
Seniors Recker, Henderson, Dan Bailey and Hunter Hartgrave have been strong leaders and created good chemistry.
“This is a fun group,” O’Brien said. “They really enjoy each other’s company. It’s definitely a blessing. I think that is one of the crucial elements of a good team. I think the seniors have had a nice time and have gelled with the younger players.
“They’re really nice kids.”
Postseason for the fall golf season begins in less than two weeks. Golfers will open 4A district competition Monday, Oct. 1 at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion.
Linn-Mar will host the first of four districts to be held across the state. The field includes Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Iowa City High, Iowa City Liberty, Iowa City West, Burlington, Davenport Assumption, Marshalltown, Muscatine and Pleasant Valley. Currently, Washington (309.33) ranks fourth in 18-hole average, while Pleasant Valley (310.43) and Marshalltown (311.14) are sixth and seventh, respectively.
The other three districts will be held the following day.
Cedar Rapids Xavier and Western Dubuque travel to Dubuque for a district Tuesday, Oct. 2 at The Meadows Golf Club. They are joined by top-ranked Cedar Falls, Bettendorf, Clinton, Davenport, Dubuque and Waterloo public schools, Dubuque Wahlert and North Scott.
Des Moines Roosevelt and Sioux City East also will host districts.
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The top three teams at each district and top two individuals, including ties, advance to the state meet Oct. 5-6 at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville.
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