What to many would look like insurmountable odds was just a numbers game for the Waukee boys’ golf team as they captured the Fort Dodge Invitational crown Tuesday at the Fort Dodge Country Club.
It was an 18-team field that included some of the top teams in the state but it was the Warriors to come out on top with a collective team score of 302. Ames came next in a close second with a 309 team score followed by Ankeny and Ankeny Centennial tying for third with team scores of 317 each. It was a calender circling even for Waukee as noted by head coach John Kotz.
“We were excited to play in this field and able to see three really good teams in Ames Ankeny and Ankeny Centennial,” said Kotz. “To win this tournament and beat the teams we did was a real confidence builder for us.”
All three of those teams are currently top ten teams according to the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association rankings. Waukee bested fifth ranked Ames by seven strokes, and both Ankeny (top ranked Class 4A team) and Ankeny Centennial (tenth ranked) by 15 total strokes.
For the third straight outing, Waukee’s Jack Starr led the Warrior line-up but this time he not only paced the Waukee roster, but led the way across the entire 18 team field. Starr’s 18-hole outing consisted of a three-under-par mark of 68, his best score of the 2019 season so far.
“Starr is really rounding into shape,” stated Kotz. “He had a slow start to the season with a very heavy late summer schedule and then a very busy start to the high school season. I think the quality practices and reduced number of competitions has allowed Jack to relax and reinvigorate his hunger again for quality competition.”
Starr now moves into the top ten individual rankings with his tournament win. He is alongside fellow teammate Charlie Andrews who resides inside the top 20 individual rankings. Following Starr’s masterful performance were a pair of strong 18-hole rounds from seniors Charlie Andrew and Charlie Steer. Both took home nine-over-par scores of 77 which were then followed up by fellow senior Josh Nichols who capped off the Warrior scoring by carding an 18-hole round score of 80.
The whole day had pretty much a little bit of everything from challenging course maneuvering to a rain delay and more. Throughout all of that, the Warriors collectively carded a one-over-par across the front nine and provided strong course management, something coach Kotz was very pleased with following the invitational.
“I’m really proud of how our players battled today,” began Kotz. “Fort Dodge Country Club requires good course management and solid execution of shots. We played both front nine and back nine very well even though we had a rain delay and wind to contend with. I know our players were a little disappointed that we didn’t play as well on the back nine, but with the minimal experience they’ve had on that course, I though they did what they could for the most part.”
The third ranked Warriors have been churning out high quality performances all season so far and Tuesdays’ outing was another highlight of that. Despite the great effort, the perfection hungry Warriors still look to improve upon some aspects as coach Kotz noted.
“We just need to keep working on our game and not worry what everyone else is doing,” said Kotz. “We keep improving on our collective short game and more, we will be just fine going forward.”
With the Fort Dodge victory, the Warriors improve their record to a mark of 46-3. The Warriors will be without competition until September 10th when they travel to Willow Creek Golf Course to battle the West Des Moines Valley Tigers in a dual meet format.