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Western Dubuque’s Davis Stelzer tees off on the way to firing a 73 during the 2020 Bobcat Golf Invitational, at Thunder Hills, Aug. 24.

A loaded field featuring six state-tournament-caliber teams met in the first round of the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division golf meet at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course, in Cedar Falls, Sept. 14.

The meet was originally scheduled to take place at Brown Deer Golf Course near Iowa City, but with Liberty and City High unable to compete, Cedar Falls agreed to host. The Tigers took advantage of some home cooking to take the early lead in the two-meet divisional race with a score of 307 — narrowly defeating Linn-Mar at 308.

Cedar Falls was led by meet runnerup Owen Sawyer’s 73, while Linn-Mar’s defending Class 4A Individual State Champion Dillon Burr took medalist honors with a two-under-par round of 70.

Cedar Rapids Washington was third at 315. The Warriors’ Nile Petersen and Kyle Neighbors were part of a four-player pack at 75, along with Western Dubuque’s Jax Stelzer and Ben Vaassen, of Dubuque Wahlert.

The Bobcats finished fourth at 319. Davis Stelzer joined brother Jax in the top eight individually with a round of 76. Karson Skrtich and Jackson Webber scored for Western Dubuque — each with a round of 84. Max Naumann (92) and Brayden Stanner (97) completed the Bobcat lineup.

“We played all right. I am not disappointed in 319, but our conference is so good that we just need to be a little more consistent and strong,” said Western Dubuque coach Ben Wilson. “It was nice to see Karson give us that 84 from the five spot. It takes a lot of pressure off the other guys when he can go mid-80s like that. Then our top four don’t feel like they need to be great every time out.”

Cedar Rapids Prairie, led by Tanner Wachtl’s 78, was fifth in the team race at 323, while Wahlert was sixth at 323. The Golden Eagles’ Charlie Becker finished at 81, Ben Cummer 83 and Nick Splinter 84.

Western Dubuque hosts the second round of the Mississippi Division meet at Thunder Hills, Sept. 28, and with only 12 strokes separating the top four teams, anything could happen.

“We certainly have room for improvement,” said Wilson. “We are looking forward to getting the chance to host the second leg of the tournament at our place in two weeks.”