Boys golf: Savages fall short of state berth

May 17—WAPELLO — Solon Yates made no bones about it.

"I need to play good for our team to have chance," Yates said.

Despite making a valiant attempt at a comeback, both Yates and the Sigourney boys golf team could not overcome early struggles that put a ticket to the Class 1A Iowa High School boys state golf tournament too far out of reach. The Savages finished their season on Tuesday with a team score of 362, finishing fourth overall in the 1A district tournament hosted by Heritage Oaks.

Yates finished sharing top scoring honors for Sigourney with Cain Weber as both players brought in rounds of 89. Weber was awarded 21st place overall edging Yates on a card-off as both players ultimately finished eight strokes out of qualifying for state as individuals.

Those 16 combined strokes that Yates and Weber needed to save, however, would have been plenty for Sigourney to earn a state tournament berth as a team. The Savages finished 11 strokes shy of South Iowa Cedar League rival Keota, who earned the district runner-up ticket to state finishing with a round of 351 coming up one stroke shy of topping Winfield-Mount Union for the team title.

"We knew if we came in here and played our game, we'd have a shot at making it to state," Keota senior Cole Kindred said. "This course is really tough. Even if we didn't shoot our best score, we knew we'd be okay."

Sigourney carried plenty of momentum into Tuesday's 1A district tournament, posting scores below 350 in each of their past four 18-hole tournaments. The Savages won the South Iowa Cedar League tournament title with a round of 336 at the Oskaloosa Golf Course on Apr. 29 and posted a round of 339 to win the 1A sectional tournament at the 3/30 Golf and Country Club in Loudon last week.

The back nine of Heritage Oaks, however, plagued the Savages right from the start of Tuesday's district championship round. The Savages shot 44-over par with a team score of 184 at the turn, leaving Sigourney 16 strokes out of the lead and 14 strokes out of a state tournament berth with nine holes left and six teams ahead of them on the leaderboard.

"A lot of teams struggled on that back nine. There were tight fairways and OB (out of bounds) both left and right," Kindred said. "I think it helped us out a lot to start out on the front nine. It might have hurt Sigourney to start on the back nine. Getting off to a good start really helped us."

Right in the thick of the battle for the two state tournament berths at the turn, sitting just four strokes out second place, Keota surged past both front-nine leader BGM and English Valleys to capture second place in the tournament. Kindred was matched by his younger brother, Billie, with a round of 86 putting both Eagle golfers inside the top 10.

"I'm hoping that we can shoot a little better than we did at state," Cole Kindred said. "We've been pretty close to making it to state the last few years, but we haven't quite been able to get there. It feels good to find it make it."

While Keota battled its way into state, Sigourney could not overcome its tough start. The Savages posted their highest 18-hole score (362) of the season.

"At the end of the day, I didn't play well and it just wasn't enough," Yates said. "I feel like I let the team down in a way. You live and you learn. It was a good season, but I don't think any of us are satisfied with how it ended."

Perhaps adding to the sting of missing out on state for the Sigourney players is having many of their teammates from Sigourney-Keota athletics moving on. Tuesday's district tournament featured several members of Cobra football program including all-state selections like Isaac Bruns, Cole Kindred and Conner Strand going head-to-head on the golf course for a state berth after battling together to advance in the Class 1A state football playoffs this past fall.

"It's nice to beat Sigourney after they got us at the (SICL) meet," Kindred said. "I don't think we played our best earlier this season. It was nice to play better and beat them here."