31 Iowa Conference titles
PELLA—Central College turned in four scores in the 70s and jumped to a 19-stroke lead in the second round of the Iowa Conference men’s golf tournament Saturday at Bos Landen Golf Club.
The Dutch posted a 302 on their home course after a carding wind-blown 331 in the first round, which was finished early Saturday morning. Play was suspended Friday evening because of lightning, a downpour and darkness; the trifecta of inclement golf conditions.
“The conditions Friday were the hardest I’ve seen at Bos Landen,” coach Chad Green said. “There was steady wind at 25 mph and gusts up to 50 mph. I thought we handled it well and stayed mentally tough, but the scores showed how difficult it was. No one in the tournament shot in the 70s.”
But the wind and the scores dropped for the second round and Central increased its lead from seven to 19, recording a 633 overall. Coe College is second at 341-311—652, followed by Luther College at 343-311—654, Wartburg College at 347-310—657 and Buena Vista University at 338-320—658. The final 36 holes of the tourney will be contested May 4-5 at the Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.
Central’s Justin Livingston (junior, Winterset) carded 80-74—154 and is tied for the lead in the individual standings with Coe’s Garrett Cross and Loras’ Sam Herrmann.
“Justin played steady golf,” Green said. “He never got too high or low and he finished holes strong.”
Matt Vegter (senior, Morrison, Ill.) shares fourth at 80-75—155, Brent Messmore (senior, Hudson) is tied for ninth at 84-77—161, Brent Goodenow (senior, Johnston) is tied for 16th at 90-76—166 and Tyler Woodruff (freshman, Tucson, Ariz., Salpointe Catholic HS) is tied for 25th at 87-86—173.
“Vegter really turned it around on the back nine today and shot 1-under,” Green said.
“And Goodenow played better than a 90 Friday. He was one of the better ball strikers that round but had one hole that blew up the score.”
Green was pleased with Saturday’s efforts.
“Having four golfers in the 70s was great,” Green said. “We left a few shots on the course that we’d like to get back, but I was happy overall and any time you can shoot around a 300 at Bos is a good day.”
The third round of the tournament begins at 11 a.m. Friday at the par-72 Finkbine, another challenging course.
“It’s a tough track,” Green said. “Teams can put up good scores but it’s the little things, like tricky greens and tight tee shots that will come up and bite you.”
But the Dutch bring a veteran lineup.
“Last year we posted our lowest round of the year at Finkbine and four of those golfers will be returning this year,” he said.
Central has captured a league record 29 championships, including the last three. The tourney winner gains an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament May 15-18 at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. The Dutch have made 30 national appearances.
“Even though we have a nice cushion we can’t take a day off,” Green said. “Our goal is to put up the low score of the day.”