A look at area golfers and teams to watch this fall ahead of the 2018 Class 4A boys' golf season.
Golfers to watch
Connor Neighbors, Cedar Rapids Washington, sr. — Seventh at 2017 state meet, tied for 10th at 2016 state meet, 2017 Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Player of the Year, first-team IGCA all-state and first-team all-Metro, three-time all-MVC performer, 2018 Rotary Pribyl runner-up, averaged 36.6 per nine holes, 73.2 per round and 37.49 combined adjusted average.
Brock Barnhart, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, jr. — Tied for fifth at 2017 state meet, runner-up medalist at 2016 state meet, 2017 first-team IGCA all-state and first-team all-Metro, 2016 all-MVC Valley second team, Iowa State commit, averaged 36.4 per nine holes, 73.0 per round and 37.25 combined adjusted average.
Ian Johnston, Cedar Rapids Prairie, sr. — Tied for 12th at 2017 state meet, 2018 Iowa Junior Amateur Championship, AJGA Junior Championship, 43rd Junior PGA Qualifier and Pribyl champion, 2017 first-team all-MVC Valley, first-team all-Metro and second team IGCA all-tournament team, University of South Dakota commit, averaged 38.83 per nine holes, 76.2 per round and 39.32 combined adjusted average.
Nick Recker, Cedar Rapids Xavier, sr. — Tied for 18th at 2017 state meet, 2017 first-team all-MVC Mississippi and second-team all-Metro, 2016 second-team all-MVC Valley, fourth at 2018 Pribyl, averaged 39.75 per nine holes, 78.45 per round and 40.1 combined adjusted average.
Kyle Spence, Iowa City West, sr. — Second-team all-MVC Mississippi, 2016 first-team all-MVC Mississippi, averaged 42.6 per nine holes, 78.83 per round and 41.71 combined adjusted average.
Whit Haefner, Cedar Rapids Washington, jr. — Second-team all-MVC Valley, honorable mention all-Metro, state meet participant, sixth at 2018 Rotary Pribyl, averaged 43.2 per nine holes, 83.6 per round and 42.97 combined adjusted average.
Dan Bailey, Cedar Rapids Xavier, sr. — Second-team all-MVC Mississippi, honorable mention all-Metro, state meet participant, averaged 43.5 per nine holes, 83.64 per round and 42.87 combined adjusted average.
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Dillon Burr, Linn-Mar, soph. — Third at 2018 Pribyl, averaged 40.0 per nine holes, 80 per round and 40.70 combined adjusted average.
Teams to watch
Cedar Rapids Prairie: The Hawks had a memorable season last year, qualifying for the Class 4A state tournament for the first time in program history. The question remains the ability to follow it up with the graduation of four starters. Ian Johnston will likely provide the Hawks with a low score. Jared Tjelmeland was seventh at the Pribyl and has state experience. If Prairie can round out its four scorers, another trip to state is possible.
Cedar Rapids Washington: The Warriors return plenty of experience, including one of the state’s best golfers in Connor Neighbors. He is almost a lock for a low score each round and is one of three back from last year’s ninth-place state team. Whit Haefner, Ben Skogman and Kyle Neighbors are back as well. Washington also has some young talent, including freshman Nile Petersen, who was fifth at the Pribyl, that could contribute to the lineup, giving the Warriors depth and balance.
Cedar Rapids Xavier: The Saints were eighth at the state tournament and were district champions. They return four players with state experience. Nick Recker leads the way, shooting just under 79 per 18 holes. Dan Bailey, Michael Glavan and Matthew Schmit give the Saints four solid players to build around, trying to reach state for the fifth time in seven seasons.
Iowa City Liberty, Western Dubuque: Both programs will enter the Mississippi Valley Conference for the first time. The Lightning are a young program, while the Bobcats have bounced between 4A and 3A competition over the years. Liberty has been assigned to the Valley Division with Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Wahlert, Iowa City West, Linn-Mar and Waterloo West. Western Dubuque joins Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Dubuque Senior, Iowa City High and Waterloo East in the Mississippi Division.
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