The early bird gets the worm — just ask Marshalltown boys’ golf.
The Bobcats were up early Tuesday morning, practicing with morning dew still on the ground at Elmwood Country Club and preparing for an 18-hole practice round. These practice rounds have given head coach Lucas Johnson an idea of where his team is ahead of a Thursday season-opening tournament at The Legacy Golf Club in Norwalk, Iowa. Hosted by newcomers to the CIML Waukee Northwest Wolves, it’s the first test for a Bobcat squad that returns every member of the 2020 team.
“We’re excited about Thursday and heading down to the Legacy,” Johnson said. “Some of those guys will have experience of being on a state championship team, they’ll have some pretty solid golfers. I know from playing them last year in that dual down at Legacy last year, it’s a course [Waukee Northwest] knows pretty well.”
Marshalltown will be led by recent Indian Hills Community College commit and senior co-captain Grant Greazel, along with fellow senior co-captains Colin Schmit and Drake Polley. Greazel is coming into the season with a third-place finish in the Times-Republican City Open over the weekend.
Johnson said has been impressed with Greazel’s ball striking and the consistency he’s built up over the past few years. After qualifying for state as an individual in 2020, he no doubt has similar expectations for himself as well as the team. Greazel averaged 75 for his 18-hole rounds in 2020, the best on the team.
Colin and Polley have been consistently working their games to a point where they can consistently score in the 70s, Johnson said, which has set a solid foundation for the team. Last season, Colin averaged 37.5 in nine-hole rounds and 82.33 in 18-hole rounds, while Polley averaged 40.75 and 85.44, respectively. The fourth golfer is expected to be Ryan Schmit, a sophomore who set a school record for lowest nine-hole round with a 32 in Fort Dodge.
The battle for the fifth and sixth spots on varsity is one Johnson said will probably go on for most of the season — and it’s an area where the Bobcats need more consistency, especially if one of their top four has an off day. Contenders for those spots include Eli Polley, Kevin Strand, Jacob Thiessen, Cael Sandvick, Brecken Payne and Tyler Faltys.
“To be honest, I have no idea who’s going to be in those spots,” Johnson said. “The nice thing is, we have our first three meets of the season where we’ll be able to take everybody and they’ll play the same course. That’ll give us a lot of time just to see where people’s games are at, and we can go from there.”
After Thursday’s meet at The Legacy, the Bobcats will host duals next Tuesday and Thursday at Elmwood against Ames and Ankeny to get their home schedule underway. Johnson said it was a great chance to get a glimpse of where Marshalltown is in comparison to some of the best teams in the state.
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