No. 1 Hawks thump field, win sectional title

JEWELL – Beating the top-ranked South Hamilton boys’ golf team on any course is an uphill battle. But to beat the Hawks on their home course?

Forget it.

The road to a fourth consecutive state tournament appearance was smooth and free of traffic on Friday, as South Hamilton cruised to a Class 2A sectional championship at the Jewell Golf and Country Club.

The question wasn’t if the Hawks would win, but by how much?

The answer: 25 shots.

Seniors Braxton Risetter and Trevor Ullestad – the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked individuals in 2A – seized control of the first- and second-place positions on the leaderboard and South Hamilton’s team total of 302 was the lowest score shot in the class in the sectional round.

And just like that, step No. 1 was complete.

“I’m very happy with (the score),” South Hamilton head coach Mark Ullestad said. “We thought a round under 310 was the target and if we could get close to that 300 score, that would be even better.

“It was still pretty wet out there, so that’s pretty solid golf.”

Risetter and Ullestad turned their home course into a pitch and putt at times. Risetter recorded three birdies and an eagle at the par-5 seventh hole on his way to a 2-under 70 to earn the individual title. Ullestad got off to a rocky start with a double-bogey on his opening hole – the par-4 fifth – but he rebounded with five birdies over his next 17 holes and shot an even-par 72.

“Trevor and Braxton continued to do what they’ve done all year and that’s anchor our team,” Mark Ullestad said. “This might sound wrong, but I don’t think they even played their best (on Friday). But they were very solid.”

Jordan Bowers gave the Hawks a third sub-80 round; his 79 placed him in a three-way tie for fourth place.

South Hamilton’s top three players shredded the 493-yard par-5 third hole. They combined to play the hole at 5-under.

Jordan Toillion closed out the Hawks’ scoring lineup with a solid 81. Nathan Sogard (84) and Colton Coy (89) also took part.

Clarion-Goldfield (327) and Hampton-Dumont (333) also advanced to Friday’s district tournament, which will be held at Fox Ridge Golf Course in Dike. Joining the three qualifiers from Jewell will be South Winneshiek, Waterloo Columbus, Denver, Aplington-Parkersburg and New Hampton.

The top two teams and top four individuals at districts will advance to the state tournament, which will again be held at Spring Valley Golf Course in Livermore on May 30 and 31.