TITLEIST: Ullestad flirts with TCI course record, wins individual title with 1-under 70; Hawks unseat No. 1-ranked PCM as HOIC champion

POLK CITY – Trevor Ullestad would love – and I mean love! – to have his final two holes back.

The course record was there for the taking yesterday at the Tournament Club of Iowa. All he needed was a birdie at the par-5 17th and a par at the par-4 18th to have his name etched in gold inside the clubhouse. Heck, two pars would have been good enough to give him a share of the record.

But the Golf Gods giveth and the Golf Gods taketh away.

Still, winning the Heart of Iowa Conference individual championship isn’t exactly a lousy consolation prize.

Ullestad, a South Hamilton junior, bogeyed his final two holes and still shot a blistering 1-under par round of 70 on the 6,113-yard, par-71 track to give him the league crown by three shots over teammate, classmate and runner-up Braxton Risetter (73).

The fearsome twosome propelled the fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Hawks to their first HOIC team title since 2011. They shot a 311 to top No. 1-ranked (2A) PCM by nine strokes. The Mustangs, the 2012 league champions who were unbeaten prior to yesterday, were second, followed by Gilbert (323), Roland-Story (331) and Nevada (336).

Playing from the Deacon tees, Ullestad’s round included five birdies and he stepped to the 17th tee at 3-under with a 68 or lower within range. The TCI record from the Deacon tees is 68, shot by Jim Mitchell on Sept. 18, 2009.

“If I would have just parred out (at Nos. 17 and 18) … I’m not complaining. Well, I’m kind of complaining,” Ullestad said in a half-kidding kind of way afterwards. “I’d much rather win the team race than the individual, but winning both is pretty cool.”

South Hamilton head coach and proud papa Mark Ullestad knows it will be a round he won’t soon forget.

“It’s awesome,” Mark Ullestad said. “Your kid comes a couple of strokes from breaking the course record out there. I couldn’t have done that and I thought I was a pretty good high school golfer, but I didn’t have that in my bag.

“I’m very proud of Trevor and Braxton as well. Braxton played awesome as well.”

Trevor Ullestad was in control of his game from the opening shot. He birdied four holes on the front nine and went out in 2-under 33 to jump into the driver’s seat. Six days earlier he hiccuped his way to a 7-over 42 on the same stretch of holes during a dual meet.

“I learned a lot from my round last Tuesday … it was a big turnaround,” he said. “I kind of knew what to hit out there. I put it where I wanted to in the fairway and I hit a lot of greens.”

Ullestad, who was third at the 2012 conference tournament, birdied the par-5 13th to get to 3-under.

Risetter got off to a rocky start with bogeys on three of his first five holes, but he quickly righted the ship and played the final 13 holes at 1-under. His round included three birdies; South Hamilton made a tournament-best 12 birdies as a team.

“This is a big deal because we’ve been struggling the past two weeks,” Risetter said, mentioning last Friday’s debacle in Jewell when the Hawks shot a 168 on their home course in a dual-meet loss to Gilbert. “But we just decided to go out there (yesterday) and do the best we could do. We can all shoot really low numbers when we play well.”

Beating PCM added to the Hawks’ excitement as well.

“It’s PCM. They’re No. 1 in the state and they hadn’t lost this year,” Risetter, who finished fourth at the HOIC tournament a year ago, said. “So it’s a pretty big deal.”

Jordan Bowers gave South Hamilton a third golfer in the top 12. He collected three birdies en route to an 82 and 11th-place finish. Jacob Haugland added one birdie and a steady round of 86.

PCM placed a tournament-best three players in the top 10, but the Mustangs were unable to match the front of South Hamilton’s pack. PCM senior and defending league medalist Hunter Van Veen struggled to a 10th-place finish with an 81.

“I knew Hunter was going to be tough to beat, but he had a tough day,” Trevor Ullestad, who played alongside Van Veen in the lead group, said. “I was happy to play with him so I knew how I needed to play.”

PCM will be out for a small measure of revenge today when it tangles with South Hamilton and Des Moines Christian in a triangular meet at Jester Park in Granger.

“I’m sure we got their attention and I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw a low number at us,” Mark Ullestad said. “But we play against PCM so much for a reason. You always want to play against the best.”