Depth lands Lynx 3A third-place trophy

AMES – From the first swing back in early April to the final putt on Saturday, Webster City’s golf season has been all about the team.

Without a bona fide superstar in the lineup – not yet anyway, but there’s still time to change that – the Lynx took the path towards a state trophy with balance and depth, and that was apparent when the six players had medals draped around their necks Saturday afternoon.

Four players finished among the top 17 and WCHS came home with the third-place trophy from the Class 3A state tournament after posting a two-day total of 636 (317-319) at the 6,655-yard par-71 Ames Golf and Country Club. Only two other Lynx teams – the 1985 and 1986 squads that finished in the runner-up slot – have achieved more success on the links.

“We exceeded expectations big time,” Logan Yates, a junior who shot rounds of 79 and 78 for an 11th-place total of 157, said after the congratulatory handshakes had wrapped up. “I think coming into the season we just wanted to make it to state. But now finishing in the top three, I guess it gives us something to shoot for next year.”

Without a senior in its lineup, WCHS utilized everyone’s skills during the postseason. All six players’ scores were used at least once during the run through sectionals, districts and the 36-hole state meet. The Lynx were the only team to finish among the top five without an individual in the top five.

“Our depth has been the story all year long,” WCHS head coach Dave Brighton said. “Everybody contributed and now we’ve got a taste of it. Our kids know what they have to do to get back here.”

West Delaware jumped out to a big lead after shooting a 301 on Friday and the Hawks only came back to the pack slightly with a 321 on Saturday for a 622 total. Creston/Orient-Macksburg, the 2013 state champion, was second with a 634 (315-319).

Fellow North Central Conference members Clear Lake (325-316-641) and Humboldt (329-330-659) followed WCHS in fourth and sixth, respectively.

Centerville junior Alex Moorman captured his second individual title with rounds of 1-under-par 70 and 2-over-par 73. His 143 total was one shot better than West Delaware’s Clayton Larsen (71-73-144).

Carson Whittington (71-76-147), the 2013 state medalist, was third. Moorman was second a season ago after finishing at the top of the leaderboard as a freshman in 2012.

Yates was the only Lynx player to post a pair of rounds in the 70s on a track that featured big and undulating greens with many of the pins tucked behind large bunkers. He started hot on Saturday and quickly jumped into the red and then held it together late.

Yates was two shots shy of a spot in the top 10.

Fittingly enough, sophomore twins Alec and Avery Fuhs shared 15th place with 160 totals. Alec led the team with a 77 on Friday, but struggled to an 83 on Saturday. Avery started slow in Round 1 with an 81, but shaved two shots off for a 79 on Saturday.

Right behind the twins in 17th was freshman Drew Fielder, who was bested in consistency only by Yates. Fielder shot in the 30s on the front nine both days and carded rounds of 80 and 81 for a 161.

Fielder played like a veteran, but he admitted there were plenty of nerves.

“The first tee on the first day, my legs were shaking so bad I couldn’t even swing the club,” he said. “I didn’t really pull my weight through sectionals or districts, so I wanted to make a statement down here and play the best I could.”

Junior John Ferrell made his 81 count on Saturday after an opening 84 a day earlier. His 165 total placed him in a tie for 24th among the 60 players in the field.

Sean Vogelbacher (179) tied for 53rd with rounds of 90 and 89.

West Delaware will again be a contender next season with its top three players returning, but no team may have the expectations placed on their backs like the Lynx, and Yates says they’re ready to get to work in preparation for a run at the program’s first boys’ golf team title in 2015.

“We’ve already started talking about next year and how good it’s going to be,” he said. “We’ve gotten here once, now we have to do it again.”