Tournament Club of Iowa is a difficult test on the best of days. When Central Iowa was hit by an arctic blast just in time for the Class 4A State Golf Tournament, the Arnold Palmer Signature Course in Polk City became even more challenging for Iowa’s best high school players.
Western Dubuque sophomore Davis Stelzer experienced that first hand, shooting a two day total of 180 to finish alone in 61st place in the final event of the season, Oct. 11-12.
“I was really excited to be there and a little nervous since I had never played in such a big tournament,” said Stelzer. “Obviously, I was really cold.”
Stelzer’s opening round got off to a tough start on a windy 38-degree morning, as the normally steady Bobcat had double bogeys on his first two holes. A sharp birdie on the par-four sixth got Stelzer back on track momentarily, but a tee shot that failed to clear the hazard on the seventh led to a triple-bogey seven. Stelzer managed to par only three holes on the day on the way to a first-round 96, nearly 20 shots higher than his season average of 77.67.
“I brought enough clothes, but I was freezing. The winds were really high and I just wanted to keep it under 85 after I got there,” said Stelzer. “Obviously, I didn’t do that. Keeping my hands warm was the biggest problem and a big reason I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted to. I wasn’t prepared for that.”
“If we had to wait for the group in front of us looking for balls I got super cold,” he added. “Some of the approach shots were tough with the winds so high. It was hard to hit accurate shots with the uncontrollable wind.”
“It was pretty miserable the first day, but Davis continued to grind it out,” said Western Dubuque coach Ben Wilson.
Stelzer bounced back nicely on an even windier day in round two, carding eight pars on the way to a very respectable round of 84, shooting 43 on the front side and 41 on the back nine.
“The second day it was much better,” Stelzer said. “It was much warmer by about 15 degrees, but the winds were a little higher. I had a lot more pars than the first day — that’s for sure.”
“The golf course was really nice, but it is long,” he added. “ I don’t hit it as far as some of the juniors and seniors out there so that made it a challenge.”
“Davis played a lot better the second day,” said Wilson. “I think he learned a lot from the experience and is hungry to help the team get back there next year.”
Linn-Mar junior Dillon Burr shot a two-day total of four-over-par 146 to win the individual title, with his closest competitors, Nile Peterson, of Cedar Rapids Washington, and Jack Roemer, of Pleasant Valley, at 10-over par.
Stelzer and Wilson are both looking forward to a big 2020 season from the Bobcats.
“Having the experience of playing in the state tournament, I know what to expect and how to prepare for the conditions,” said Stelzer. “We’ll hope to get there as a team next year with the guys coming back and some good freshmen.”
“With Davis, Jax (Stelzer) and Max (Naumann) back next year, along with Karson Skrtich and some promising new freshmen, we will continue to improve and be looking to make a state run next fall,” Wilson added.