SIMPLY THE BEST: Ullestad, Hawks lead wire-to-wire to claim all the 2A hardware
LIVERMORE – It was on a family vacation to Maui three years ago that Mark Ullestad knew his days of thumping his son on the golf course were a thing of the past.
“We went out and he kicked my rump. That’s when I kind of knew it was over for me,” Mark Ullestad, the head coach of the South Hamilton boys’ golf team, said.
He shouldn’t feel too bad about it though. There aren’t many players – the number trims down even more at the prep level – in the state that can hang with Trevor Ullestad in spikes, khakis and polos.
The South Hamilton senior has the hardware to prove it.
Trevor Ullestad became the first South Hamilton boys’ golfer to win an individual state title with an even-par score of 144 over 36 holes, and he led the Hawks to their first-ever Class 2A state championship on Saturday at pristine Spring Valley Golf Course.
It’s only the second boys’ state championship in school history, joining the 1962 fall baseball team.
Top-rated when the tournament began at the 6,327-yard track on Friday, South Hamilton dominated from the first shot. It had the lowest score both days and it’s 309-312-621 total topped runner-up Fort Dodge St. Edmond (321-317-638) by 17 shots. Mount Vernon (319-324-643) was third.
The Hawks took three of the top six individual honors. In addition to Ullestad’s leaderboard topping effort, classmates Jordan Bowers and Braxton Risetter placed fourth and sixth, respectively.
“It’s a big weight off our shoulders because this has been the goal since we were little,” Risetter said after rounds of 77 and 78 for a total of 155. “It’s still kind of bittersweet that it’s all over now, but this will be a good memory.”
Trevor Ullestad took over the tournament on the back nine on Friday. He birdied the par-5 14th and par-4 15th to dip into the red, and nearly holed his tee shot off the par-3 17th.
A nearly two-hour rain delay followed, but Ullestad returned to the course and promptly chipped in for birdie at 18 for a 2-under-par 70 and five shot lead on the field.
“It was a good round,” Ullestad said Friday following the round. “I just tried to stay patient out there. When I score high it’s because I’m not patient. I’m trying too hard to make birdies that I end up making bogeys.”
Ullestad’s 74 on Saturday included a few scary moments late in the round. He went out of bounds off the tee at 15 and took a double-bogey, and then promptly ripped his drive off 16 into the trees. He was able to extract himself from trouble and make par; he parred 17 as well and then once again birdied 18 to put the finishing touches on his title.
“It’s pretty wild. It’s awesome,” Mark Ullestad said when asked to take off his coach’s hat and put on his dad hat. “That kid has poured everything he has into golf and it’s paid off. This is something he wanted and he went out and grabbed it.”
Trevor Ullestad says the individual glory pales in comparison to the team’s accomplishment.
“We wanted the team title and if one of us won the individual title that was just a bonus,” Trevor Ullestad said. “Anyone can win the individual title, it’s just who’s playing well at the right time.”
Bowers certainly picked the right time to play the best golf of his career. His 76 on Friday put him fourth on the leaderboard, and he stayed on that line on Saturday with a 77.
“My goal was the top 15, but then Braxton and Trevor both encouraged me to go after the top 10,” Bowers said of his 153 total. “I just went out there and enjoyed it (on Saturday). I knew it was probably my last competitive round of golf, so I didn’t feel any pressure. I was just golfing.”
Freshman Nathan Sogard turned in a counting 86 on Friday, and senior Jordan Toillion bounced back after a rough first round with an 83 on Saturday.
Toillion (89-83-172) tied for 36th, Sogard (86-92-178) was 46th and Colton Coy (101-101-202) finished 61st.
Replacing his seniors, particularly Trevor Ullestad and Risetter who were both Heart of Iowa Conference individual champions and members of four teams that finished in the top four at state, will be next to impossible, Mark Ullestad said.
So, yeah, the end is bittersweet. But the memories? Those will never fade.
“It feels good, it really does,” the coach said. “It’s something South Hamilton hasn’t done before, so I’m happy for the guys, I’m happy for the parents and for everyone that has had anything to do with this.
“It’s going to be impossible to replace these guys and they’re bummed it’s over. But that makes me feel good that they had this much fun playing golf.”