WEBSTER CITY STATE OF MIND: Lynx capture 3A district championship, end 11-year state tourney drought

AMES – The tension between twin brothers Alec and Avery Fuhs is usually palpable when they sling the golf bag over their shoulders and go to work.

They don’t like to lose to each other in anything, whether it’s a game of Scrabble or a long-drive contest.

But both put that sibling rivalry on the back burner yesterday; they were the other’s biggest cheerleader and – surprise, surprise – brotherly love paid monumental dividends.

Playing in the same group with tickets to the state tournament on the line, the Fuhs boys sizzled at Coldwater Golf Links and powered Webster City to a Class 3A district championship and spot in the state field for the first time since 2003.

“That was probably the first time we’ve ever liked each other (on the course),” Avery Fuhs said afterwards. “It was pretty fun out there actually.”

The Lynx shot a 306 to nip runner-up Ballard (307) by a single shot. Both will be in the 3A field next week at the Ames Golf and Country Club.

Alec Fuhs went pin seeking early and coasted in with a 1-over 72 on the 6,406-yard track. After briefly celebrating with his teammates once all of the scores had been posted, he went back out onto the course and won a three-man sudden-death playoff to pick up the individual title.

Avery Fuhs wasn’t exactly shabby. He fought his way back from an opening-hole bogey and shot a 73 to finish fourth.

After topping last week’s sectional leaderboard at Cedar Pointe Golf Course in Boone, Avery Fuhs had five days to rub it in the nose of his brother. He knows the verbal harassment is coming his way now and he says he’ll gladly accept it.

“That’s perfectly fine by me … I didn’t care how we (qualified for state) as long as we did it,” Avery Fuhs said. “There’s not a better feeling. It’s just awesome.”

An individual state qualifier last season, Alec Fuhs relied on that experience to steady his nerves early in the round. He made three birdies going out and fired off a 2-under 33 on the back 9.

Alec Fuhs leaked a little oil coming in with three bogeys on his final six holes, but not enough to change his game plan.

“I think the experience helped a little bit and I knew what to expect with nerves and stuff,” Alec Fuhs, who shot rounds of 85 and 87 to finish in a tie for 39th at the 2013 state tournament, said. “This just feels great … it’s tough not to smile the whole time.”

Ballard’s Nash Bucher and Ty Mason also shot 72s. Mason was eliminated from the playoff on the first hole when he bogeyed the par-4 10th. Alec Fuhs laced a drive center cut on the next hole – the par-4 12th – and then put the brakes on a wedge to get within tap-in range for the win.

“I knew I hit (the second shot) well and I hoped it would spin and stop right next to the hole,” Alec Fuhs said. “There was no pressure in the playoff, so I could just go for it.”

Avery Fuhs shot an even-par 35 on his opening nine holes. He birdied the par-5 seventh and then parred his final two holes to secure a spot in the top four.

Logan Yates opened his round with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, but found trouble a few holes later when he took a 9 on the par-4 18th. Yates remained calm, however, and made three birdies over his final 12 holes to turn in a 79.

Sean Vogelbacher didn’t record any birdies, but he made nine pars and stayed away from the big number for an 82.

Drew Fielder and John Ferrell, who also played in the same group, shot 85s.

WCHS head coach Dave Brighton was unable to mask his excitement afterwards. He said the team’s depth – a source of strength all season – once again made the difference.

“We didn’t play as well as we could have (yesterday), but the kids should feel good about themselves,” he said. “They have the belief that their teammates can pick them up if they don’t play well … it’s a team thing. We don’t have to have two or three guys carry us.”

The 3A state tournament will be held next Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31. And don’t expect the Lynx players to just be happy that they ended an 11-year itch. The goals have already been reset.

“This is just the beginning,” Brighton said. “We want to win the state championship. Now, I don’t know if that’s possible, but that’s the goal.”