Hawks prepare for HOIC tourney by taking on TCI

POLK CITY – Playing from the Deacon tees – the shortest of the three men’s tee boxes at the Tournament Club of Iowa – almost isn’t fair when Trevor Ullestad is in the field.

The South Hamilton senior has made a career at turning the challenging course into a pitch and putt from the short tees over the last two years and the trend continued in horrid playing conditions yesterday.

Ullestad’s even-par 35 on the front 9 put him at the top of the standings and propelled top-ranked (Class 2A) South Hamilton to a mini-Heart of Iowa Conference tournament victory over four other league teams.

The Hawks turned in a 158 – not necessarily up to their lofty expectations, but certainly good enough as the conditions continued to deteriorate throughout the round. Roland-Story was second with a 166, followed by Nevada (167), North Polk (181) and Saydel (196).

“A 158 isn’t what we want to shoot, but in these conditions we’ll take it,” South Hamilton head coach Mark Ullestad said. “The weather was bad. It was cold, it was windy and it was misting rain. But we practice in this stuff, so that helped.”

Just seeing the course was key for all five squads; they will return to the Arnold Palmer designed layout on Monday for the 18-hole league tournament. South Hamilton and Trevor Ullestad are the defending team and individual champions.

“It’s important (to see the course),” Mark Ullestad said. “Most of the kids have played it, but it’s still good to get in there, see it and get familiar with it again. We’ll go back on Friday and play the back in a practice round.”

Trevor Ullestad opened his round yesterday with back-to-back birdies at the par-3, 156-yard third and par-5, 548-yard fourth holes. He cruised along with five straight pars before finding trouble at the par-5, 511-yard first. He eventually found the green and had a lengthy putt for par, but ended up three-putting for a double-bogey.

He closed with a par at the 365-yard second.

Trevor Ullestad’s coach and father says the shorter Deacon tees – the front 9 plays at 3,043 yards compared to 3,197 from the Palmer tees and 3,493 from the King tips – play right into his third-ranked golfer’s hands.

“From the Deacon tees, a lot of the (par-4 and par-5)?holes Trevor can hit a hybrid or 3-wood off the tee and he’s pretty straight,” Mark Ullestad said. “That’s right in his wheelhouse. His tee ball is his strong point and that gives him a lot of looks at birdie.”

Braxton Risetter – the No. 1 individual in the class according to the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association – carded a 38 to again give the Hawks a formidable one-two punch. Jordan Toillion (41) and Chris Mogren (44) completed the team’s scoring.

Risetter placed third.