WILLIAMSBURG — The day started a little less than ideal for Williamsburg.
The conditions were tough and the competition was just as much of a challenge, with Williamsburg trailing Central Lee by three strokes at the turn.
The Raiders responded on the back nine of their home course and produced the success that has been the trademark of the program for much of the last decade.
Williamsburg erased the difference, winning the tiebreaker and team title at a Class 2A golf sectional Friday at Stone Creek Golf Club. The Raiders tied Central Lee with 341, but claimed the tiebreaker with the best fifth-player score.
“We were a little pressured, a little tight,” Williamsburg Coach Brad Schaefer said. “I think we settled in on the back.
“I’m proud with how they continued to fight. On our home course, I thought we’d be in the hunt, but some of these guys hadn’t been tested, yet, for postseason play, so it was good to see what we’re made of.”
Schaefer had confidence in the Raiders. They had the luxury of being familiar with the back nine and used it to their advantage. Schaefer estimated his team was eight to 10 strokes better than the rest after the turn.
“We know the tips are tougher for high school golfers,” Schaefer said. “We know the greens. We know where to hit it. We know where to miss.”
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Depth and balance paid dividends for Williamsburg. Five Raiders shot 88 or better, which would have scored for any of the other six teams. Ryan Cavett paced the Raiders with an 81. Gage Blythe and Ty Buresh added 86 apiece. Brothers Dylan and Austin Burns both scored 88, rounding out the team total and accounting for the decisive tiebreaker.
Austin Burns edged his Central Lee counterpart by two strokes, overcoming a slow start and a broken putter on the front nine that had to be replaced.
“He comes back with a 41,” Schaefer said. “I’m proud of him.
“All of a sudden one stroke can make you. It was so close that if we were five or six strokes worse we’re in trouble. We’re staying home.”
Cavett, a sophomore, earned runner-up medalist honors. He was out in 39 and in with 42. Cavett was able to manage the length of the course.
“I liked the par-5 holes today,” Cavett said about shooting 1-over on those five holes. “I was hitting my drives very well on them and I was hitting greens on the longer holes.”
The Raiders own a streak of eight straight state meet appearances and moved from 3A to 2A this season. They face one more challenge to extend it to nine in a row.
“As a team, it feels really good,” Cavett said. “The teams before us were basically our role models. We always looked up to them. We always wanted to achieve and get to state like they did.”
Mid-Prairie finished third and will advance, because Williamsburg was on its home course. The Golden Hawks were led by medalist Noah Schlabaugh, who was the only player to break 80. Schlabaugh birdied the 18th hole and carded a 79, helping Mid-Prairie to third with a 347.
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The qualifying teams and individuals will advance to district competition Friday, May 18 at Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club in Wapello. Williamsburg will play in a meet Monday and then turn its attention to preparing for postseason play again.
Schaefer said the Raiders are excited for next week’s opportunity.
“Go out and play golf and settle in and have fun,” Schaefer said. “You’re playing a game. The work is done in practice and then when you go to the meet just enjoy it. Just get focused and be ready to go.”
The 2A state tournament is May 24-25 at American Legion Memorial Golf Course in Marshalltown.
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