Prep Sports

Linn-Mar boys' golf getting back to competition after dealing with derecho damage

Linn-Mar's Dillon Burr follows his tee shot on the 12th hole during the Mississippi Valley Conference, Valley Division g
Linn-Mar's Dillon Burr follows his tee shot on the 12th hole during the Mississippi Valley Conference, Valley Division golf meet at Jones Park Golf Course in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

MARION — Linn-Mar’s boys’ golf team is trying to get back into the swing of things.

After a slow start to the season, the Lions have their sights focused on the six weeks ahead than what is behind them.

Linn-Mar played its first varsity meet last Thursday, ending a two-week stretch without competition after some other Mississippi Valley Conference programs teed off their seasons. The season resumes Thursday against Dubuque Hempstead, Waterloo East and Dubuque Hempstead at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.

“It will be a good test to see where we’re at,” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said. “I think the guys are just excited to get back out there to compete.”

The Lions have dealt with effects of last month’s derecho storm, both personally and athletically. Hunters Ridge Golf Course didn’t open until this week due to the destruction, leaving them without a home course for practice. Linn-Mar defending state champion Dillon Burr said his neighborhood was hammered by the storm.

“My neighborhood was severely damaged,” Burr said. “We had a lot of fallen trees.

“We all had a lot of help from neighbors, friends and family. The cleanup was pretty fast. I know a few of the guys (teammates) were helping out at Hunters.”

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James spent time helping family, who were impacted worse. He still doesn’t have home internet service, which forced him to park in a friend’s driveway to borrow the Wi-Fi signal just to email updates to his team.

“You have to adapt,” James said. “It’s just our normal right now.”

Practice opened with a qualifying round interrupted by the storm Aug. 10. Their next official practice came more than a week later about 30 minutes away at Finkbine.

Players drove to other courses to work on their game and didn’t remain idle. They continue to prepare for the season.

At one point, Linn-Mar had less than two full practices, a junior varsity meet and a quadrangular at Airport National, placing fourth behind winner Cedar Rapids Kennedy, runner-up Cedar Rapids Prairie and Western Dubuque.

“They knew it was going to be a few weeks,” James said. “Luckily, they were able to find other courses to play. Overall, they’ve done a good job of handling it. They’ve been around the area. They know what is going on.

“It’s just been odd. It’s been like everything else this year.”

This season still holds a lot of promise. Burr, Drew Muilenburg and Carter Vieth are among top returners from last season. Caden Postma is among the top players, posting the second-best opening round on the squad behind Burr’s 32.

“I think we’re going to have a good season,” Burr said. “We have a lot of potential on the team this year. A lot of low scorers.

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“Now, that we’re out with Hunters Ridge being open, being able to practice, I think we’re going to have a pretty strong season.”

Burr became the program’s first state individual champion last season. The two-time MVC Super Meet medalist is ready to make the most of his senior season, despite all the current circumstances.

“The expectations are high, but I’m trying to treat it like any other season,” Burr said. “Obviously, with how it started out, that’s not going to happen.

“I’m taking it one event at a time, cherishing my last season with the team, playing good golf and trying to do the best I can to have a good season.”

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

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