CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn-Mar’s Tori Niemeyer wasn’t necessarily a fan of the strong winds that whipped through Gardner Golf Course Monday.
Make no mistake that it sure beats the conditions golfers have had to play in this spring, if they were able to get on the course at all.
“I’d take wind over cold any day,” Niemeyer said. “This is better.
“This was a good meet for us (Monday).”
Niemeyer and her teammates managed the course and the elements, capturing the team title of the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet. The Lions posted a score of 340, beating runner-up Dubuque Wahlert by 16 strokes in the meet that serves as the first of three 18-hole contests to determine divisional champions.
Linn-Mar was fourth in this meet a year ago. The Lions handled the wind and won decisively without their top-four golfer Claire Callahan, shooting 21 strokes better as a team than at their home invitational last week.
“I was really pleased with how we battled (Monday),” Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said. “Tough conditions. I’m just really happy for the girls.
“They grinded out every stroke. They weren’t concerned with one bad swing here or there, they just worried about the next one and in golf you have to have a short-term memory … the stuff we’ve been working on is starting to pay off.”
Niemeyer earned runner-up medalist honors with an 81, finishing three shots back of Dubuque Senior medalist Abby Marting. Niemeyer tied Wahlert’s Mary Edwards, but won a card-back tiebreaker for second. She carded a 3-over 39 after the turn, matching Marting for the best back-nine score.
Niemeyer was consistent, tallying 12 pars.
“I just kept making my pars,” Niemeyer said. “I was really so close to some birdies sometimes, but I’d rather get pars than bogey.”
James said Niemeyer thrived playing with some of the top golfers in the state. Her short game helped place her among the leaders and lifted her above most of the field.
“Tori is solid,” James said. “She didn’t play the greatest from tee to green, but her wedges and putting was what really held it together for her.”
Niemeyer had plenty of Linn-Mar company in the top 10. Megan Murphy, the highest-placing senior, finished fourth with an 85. Kristen Harding and Tatum Depuydt tied for ninth with 87 apiece.
“It’s great,” Niemeyer said. “We’ve all put in a ton of work. We have all focused in the offseason and in season. We’re really focusing on improving ourselves and then the team.”
The short game played a factor for the team as well. James said the team has been working hard on cutting down strokes, trying to limit putts to two per hole.
“We had four to five girls with 36 or less putts,” James said. “They can see how when they do that it makes their scores go down that much faster.”
Linn-Mar was seventh at state last season. The Lions have their sights set on returning and improving that finish. The Super Meet is a spring board into the bigger events in the next month, including the divisional meets May 7 and 14.
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“We want to keep getting better,” James said. “Obviously, we want to celebrate this, but I think there are some strokes to save out there for us to get better.”
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Ellie Braksiek was the only other area golfer in the top 10. Braksiek, a sophomore, was Out in 45 and In in 41 for a total of 86, placing seventh overall.
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