MARION — Dillon Burr and Nile Petersen forged a friendship through golf.
They also formed a good-natured rivalry on the course, starting with local youth events and then playing rounds together at Elmcrest Country Club. They push each other, while pulling for the other to do well.
The bond has propelled them to success as two of the area’s top high school golfers, finishing 1-2 at last year’s Class 4A state tournament with Burr claiming Linn-Mar’s first individual boys’ golf title. The pair continued that relationship, leading the Rotary Pribyl Junior Golf Classic after Wednesday’s third round at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.
Burr fired a 73 for a total of 225, entering Thursday’s final round at Elmcrest. Petersen carded 78 for a three-day score of 230.
“I’m never rooting against him,” Burr said. “I’m always rooting for him. I hope he plays well. He’s definitely one of my favorite people to play with.
“He’s one of my main drives. He’ll beat me some days at Elmcrest and I’ll beat him. It’s tough to lose to someone. Nile’s a great competitor. He’s a great golfer. He’s pushing me every day.”
Petersen, who attends Cedar Rapids Washington, estimated they have played hundreds of rounds of golf together. The competition to out-perform the other is mutually beneficial. They get along well off the greens as well.
“We feed off each other,” Petersen said. “I’m always trying to beat him. He’s always trying to beat me. We’re not giving each other any room. He’s like a brother to me at this point.”
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Both were tied for the lead after two rounds. Petersen opened with a 73 at Gardner and followed with 79 at Cedar Rapids Country Club. Burr was consistent with 76 each day. He posted the lowest score of the day at the Lions’ home course.
“I did well,” said Burr, noting that he was looking forward to the upcoming high school season. “I had a lot of pars and a double (bogey).”
The Pribyl remains one of the top junior golf events. Washington Coach Dennis Goettel estimated 133 players signed up this year, which is believed to be one of the best for registrants. Burr looks forward to it.
“It’s one of my favorite tournaments,” Burr said. “It’s a good warmup for high school golf. You get to play with everybody you’re going to be competing against all season. It’s a lot of fun and you get to play great courses.”
Neither played in as many competitions this year, entering some American Junior Golf Association and Iowa PGA events. The early part of the summer was relegated to practice. They were able to still make strides.
“There are so many positives I can take out of this summer,” Petersen said. “I’m hitting it longer and feeling a lot more confident. I’m excited to see where it takes me and what happens.”
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