FORT DODGE, Iowa – It was about as nasty of conditions as you could ask for in Fort Dodge Thursday and Friday. Thursday, mother nature gave the Class 2A golfers cold weather and rain. Friday, she tossed even colder weather at the bunch fighting for a state golf champion.
Thursday night, the Lake Mills Bulldogs went to bed as the Class 2A leaders, but not by much. There was a three-
way battle for first place, and it all came down to the end. Coaches, Golfers, fans, and just about everyone in Fort Dodge were on pins and needles as the scores started to come on Friday afternoon. Coaches were counting strokes and doing math while golfers watch the projector screen as if a new video game was about to be released. When the dust settled, it was West Branch by one stroke over Grundy Center and two strokes over Lake Mills who won the title – their first since 1992.
“It was quite stressful,” said Lake Mills’ top golfer, Bennett Berger. At one moment, I thought we had won, and the next we lost, then we won, but we ended up losing, so”, he continued by saying. Berger shot a +4 76 yesterday to sit tied for second place. Today, it was a +6 78 for the all-state junior. His two-day total of +10 154 placed him fourth in Class 2A.”I still don’t think I played the way I wanted to this week, but the conditions were bad, so that’s just how things turned out”, Berger said about his fourth-place finish.
(Full Interview – Bennett Berger)
Lake Mills senior Casey Hanson and freshman Garrett Ham seemed to be on the same wave link both days. Yesterday they shot +7 79’s, and today they both finished with +8 ’80s. “It was my last golf meet forever, I guess, so yeah, it was a good time,” Hanson stated.
(Full Interview – Casey Hanson)
For Lake Mills, it was their first state golf appearance since 2012, and after a rough state qualifying meet and just sneaking into the state field, third place is a successful end to a good run. “Yeah, that’s pretty good, we didn’t golf our best, but we didn’t golf our worst,” said Hanson.
Drew Van Roekel, who led after day one, couldn’t finish off the individual title either. Van Roekel shot an 81 today to go with his 73 from yesterday for a two-day total of 154, tying Berger for fourth, though Berger took home fourth on a tiebreaker. Dyersville Beckman sophomore Nathan Offerman came from seventh place after a rough 79 Thursday to win the title. He shot an incredible -2 70 today to finished two strokes ahead of Ashton Martens of Grundy Center, who also didn’t have the best day one.
Tipton’s Bob Ryan was about as constant as anyone shooting 76’s both days to finish third, followed by Berger and Van Roekel. The other medal positions went to West Branch’s Will Bridges, Grundy Center’s Dexter Whitehill, and Des Moines Christians Jake Weissenburger. All eight of those athletes return for their respective teams next making, making golf fans water at the mouth thinking about next season already.
|1||Nathan Offerman Beckman Catholic, Dyersville, 10||+5||F||-2||79||70||149|
|2||Ashton Martens Grundy Center, 11||+7||F||+1||78||73||151|
|3||Bob Ryan Tipton, 11||+8||F||+4||76||76||152|
|T4||Bennett Berger Lake Mills, 11||+10||F||+6||76||78||154|
|T4||Drew Van Roekel Boyden-Hull, 11||+10||F *||+9||73||81||154|
|6||Will Bridges West Branch, 10||+11||F||+5||78||77||155|
|T7||Dexter Whitehill Grundy Center, 11||+12||F||+7||77||79||156|
|T7||Jake Weissenburger Des Moines Christian, 11||+12||F||+7||77||79||156|
After retiring in the early 2000s, Lake Mills boys golf coach Lyle Thomson returned to the team in 2007. This could be the final season for the veteran coach, leaving behind a legacy and a love for the game. Thomson coached two golfers and two teams to the state tournament, including this team. “Very good season, with a great group of guys,” Thomson said after the meet. He continued by saying, “great being here, great fan support, great time had by all – except for the rain yesterday.”
(Lyle Thomson – Full Interview)
Hanson and classmate Payton Severson will not return. Neither will state alternate Jack Ramaker. The Bulldogs will bring back top finishers Berger and freshman Garrett Ham to go along with sophomore Kinser Hanson and Denton Kingland. Berger says it will take work over the summer on the course and work this winter on a teammate’s indoor golf simulator for the Bulldogs to make another run.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. Throughout the year, you will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians’ flagship station.