Light The Fuhs: Rookie propels Lynx to 2nd at 3A sectional

BOONE – A lack of sleep and a belly full of butterflies may have been on Alec Fuhs’ mind as he went through his warm-up session in the chilly conditions Friday morning, but he was all business once he stepped to the first tee.

And business was good.

Dang good.

Fuhs, a Webster City freshman competing in his first postseason tournament, put his nerves aside for four hours and delivered arguably the finest round of his life at Cedar Pointe Golf Course, and in doing so he helped end 10 years of frustration for the Webster City boys’ golf program.

Fuhs fired a 3-over par 75 on the 6,357-yard, par-72 layout to finish second on the individual leaderboard and propel the Lynx to a runner-up result at the Class 3A sectional meet. Their 325 placed them one stroke behind sectional champion Ballard (324); both teams advanced to Friday’s district meet at Bos Landen Golf Club in Pella – the same track that hosted the 2003 state meet when WCHS placed third.

The Lynx haven’t competed at state or at a district meet since 2003.

“I didn’t fall asleep until about midnight because I was so nervous, and when I got here I was even more nervous,” Fuhs said after picking up his silver medal. “I’m just excited we get to play in these tournaments.”

Fuhs birdied back-to-back holes – the par-4 11th and the par-5 12th – during the middle of his round and capped it with a ticklish 5-foot downhill birdie putt that found the bottom of the cup on his final hole – the par-4 third. A center-cut drive left him 50 yards out; he struck a gap wedge perfectly and landed it just past the hole.

“My short game was the thing that saved me the most,” Fuhs said. “I didn’t start off the best, but I got a couple of birdies that got me back in the round.”

His putter was red hot during the late stages of his round. He landed in a fairway bunker with his second shot on the par-5 18th and then shanked his third across the fairway into another bunker in front of the green. He was able to reach the front of the green with his fourth and then sank a mammoth 40-foot putt for par.

“That shank didn’t help, that’s for sure,” Fuhs said. “But I stuck with it and ended up getting par.”

He also rattled in a clutch 7-foot par putt on his 17th hole – the par-4 second.

“Alec has really come on the last two or three meets. He’s really settled down and just played well,” WCHS head coach Dave Brighton said of his No. 3 player. “For a freshman to come out like this in a big meet, you’ve got to be mentally tough.”

Logan Yates and Avery Fuhs both shot 83 for the Lynx, and Sean Vogelbacher put the bow on the district spot with an 84.

Yates and Avery Fuhs – the Lynx Nos. 1 and 2 players – both started their days on the back nine. The soggy turf and gusting winds rattled them both. Yates regrouped on the front with a 1-over 37.

“Logan and Avery are very relieved because they didn’t play as well as they could have, but they didn’t cost us the meet,” Brighton said. “I think they’ll come back and play better (at districts).”

Nevada’s Colynn Black was the medalist with a 74. Iowa Falls-Alden’s Tim Taylor (77) and Ballard’s Ty Mason (78) also qualified for districts as individuals. Only five players in the field broke 80.

The team race was very much in doubt until the final score was recorded. Nevada (328) finished in third, while Gilbert (329) and Iowa Falls-Alden (330) were right in the hunt as well.

“My heart is still beating 100 miles an hour right now,” Brighton said only minutes after the final standings were announced. “I’m extremely happy because the kids have wanted this for a long time and they’ve worked hard at it. We didn’t play overly well, but we played well enough to move on.”

Joining Ballard and WCHS at the district meet will be Grinnell, Norwalk and Adel. The top two teams and top four individuals will advance to the state meet, May 24-25 at the Ames Golf and Country Club.