Girls golf: Centerville, Sigourney advances in regionals

May 14—SIGOURNEY — It can be a grueling day to walk up and down the course at the Sigourney Golf and Country Club.

Emma Hammes is used to it. The Sigourney senior navigated the long and hilly fairways on Friday to extend her season, qualifying for the Class 1A girls regional golf tournament at The Preserve Course with a round of 95 in the 5A opening regional round finishing fourth overall moving one step closer to a state tournament berth.

"I'm out of breath by the end of a round out here," Hammes said. "It helps having played this course to know just where to put the ball, but you're still huffing and puffing by the time you get to the final hole."

South Central Conference champion Centerville also advanced in regional girls golf tournament play in Class 2A on Friday, posting a round of 405 at the 3B tournament hosted by West Marshall at the Lincoln Valley Golf Course. The Redettes finished second overall to West Marshall, joining the Trojans and Des Moines Christian in earning a trip to Wednesday's 2A, Region 3 championship tournament at the Leon Country Club.

"I like how we're playing right now," Centerville head girls golf coach Matt Kovacevich said. "As a whole, I like what our girls are shooting. If they continue to put it all together, I like our chances of having a shot at qualifying for the state tournament."

Matty Kovacevich led Centerville on Friday, finishing third overall in the 3B tournament with score of 90. Emma Kipfer also advanced to the Region 3 final after bringing in a score of 89 on Friday, finishing second overall in the 3B regional while leading the Albia Lady Dees to a fifth-place finish with a team score of 429.

"There were just little mistakes that I still need to clean up," Kipfer said. "I still feel like my best golf is in front of me."

Sigourney just missed out on moving on as a team in 1A, Region 5. The Savages finished with a score of 438, falling 14 strokes short of South Iowa Cedar League rival BGM for the second and final ticket into Wednesday's regional final.

"Overall, I thought we played really good. We got three really solid scores," Sigourney head golf coach Zach Tremmel said. "Shooting a 438 would have beaten BGM and won our conference meet. We shot better, but so did BGM."

Highland stood out as the top team in the 5B regional tournament. Kelsi Cerny and Adisyn Prottsman each posted the low individual score with matching rounds of 86 to lead the Huskies to a team score of 372, second-lowest in the three tournaments held on Friday to determine the 1A, Region 5 championship meet.

"I knew it was going to be a battle to advance with BGM probably being the team we'd have to edge out for the second spot behind Highland," Tremmel said. "We were just a little high with our fourth score. That's probably what cost us."

Hammes made steady improvement from her first nine holes on Friday at the Sigourney Country Club, shaving three strokes alone off her opening two holes on the back nine from her first two holes of the tournament. With a par on the 14th, Hammes moved up the leaderboard ultimately putting four strokes between herself and the cutoff for the top six individual qualifiers that automatically advance in postseason play.

"I just kept telling myself throughout the round to have fun," Hammes said. "Golf is such a challenging sport that, if you get too much in your head because of one bad shot, it can ruin your whole day. If you hit a bad shot, you just need to keep on going."

Besides battling stellar Southeast Iowa Superconference rivals Highland and New London on Wednesday, Hammes will be trying to overcome competitive individuals in the Region 5 tournament like 5A medalists Kathryn Ballard from Martensdale-St. Mary's and the Louisa-Muscatine duo of Kyley Wagler and Madison Bieri. Should Hammes place in the top six, she would become the latest Sigourney golfer to earn a state berth within two years of taking up the sport following in the footsteps of Madelynn Hornback, who went from picking up a golf club for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to earning the 1A state tournament silver medal in 2022.

"Last year, during my first year of golf, I just wanted to improve. This year, being my senior year, I wanted to try and focus on having fun throughout the season," Hammes said. "I've never played The Preserve. I've never even seen it. They've said it's a pretty hard course, so the mental game is going to be a big part of how well I do."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.