For a team with Iowa state tournament aspirations this fall, Dubuque Wahlert’s Will Coohey knew he was going to have to turn up the heat when it came to his playing level on the golf course.
The Golden Eagles’ sophomore felt that heat quite literally during Monday’s 11-team Bobcat Invitational, but refused to buckle under the pressure.
Coohey fired a 2-over par 73 to finish fourth overall and powered Wahlert to third place in the team standings with a 312 as temperatures topped 90 degrees while the heat index crossed 100 at Thunder Hills Country Club in Peosta, Iowa.
“I knew it was going to be a tough round going in,” Coohey said. “We were going to have to play good golf to be in contention, and with the wind and humidity that made some shots really tough. It was a struggle at times playing in humidity like that but the putts were falling today and that made it a lot easier.
“Some of the best players in the state were competing today. If I was going to really give it a shot I had to stay focused and play clean and while I struggled to finish it, I still ended up getting third.”
Pleasant Valley won the team championship with a 295, led by medalist Jack Roemer’s 2-under 69 and runner-up Nathan Tillman’s 72. Cedar Rapids Prairie took runner-up on a better fifth scorer over Wahlert by also finishing with a 312, while Western Dubuque placed fourth with a 322. Dubuque Senior placed sixth with a 353 and Dubuque Hempstead was eighth with a 359.
“I’m just happy they competed well in the heat,” Wahlert coach Dan Mulligan said. “Lots of good competition out there and we shot a very respectable 312. They were within that range that we were hoping for so kudos to them for battling the heat and getting the job done.”
Ben Vaassen finished ninth overall for the Eagles with a 76, while Nick Splinter was 13th with an 80 and Ben Cummer took 20th with an 83.
“We just have a solid team across the board,” Mulligan said. “We knew coming into this season that Will Coohey and Ben Vaassen have established themselves as the 1-2 punch at the top of our lineup.
“Will’s had an excellent summer and played in many events throughout the state. He has a good attitude out there and is a confident golfer. I’m not surprised at all but I’m very excited for him. I know he was happy to turn in a good round and get the season rolling.”
Coohey believes his effort every day at practice and at every meet will go a long way in the Eagles reaching their season goals.
“We’re a fairly young team with only two seniors,” he said. “If we’re going to make a run at state, I know I have to step up and play some good golf. If that means being a leader as a sophomore, that’s what I’ll do for the team.”
The Bobcats placed fourth at their home meet, once again behind the terrific play of the Stelzer brothers. Davis Stelzer placed third overall and Jax Stelzer was fifth, both shooting 73s.
“Jax and Davis, those guys are primed for a great season,” WD coach Ben Wilson said. “Their games are so consistent right now. You’re going to have a hard time finding a meet where they don’t play really well. They don’t mess up. It’s remarkable to watch them play.”
Jackson Webber placed 11th with an 80 and Brayden Stanner had a 96 to close out the Bobcats’ score.
Timmy Casey placed 10th for Senior with a 78. Nate Obbink added an 86, Aidan Obermueller shot a 90 and Owen King swung to a 99 for the Rams.
Wil Sigwarth finished 18th for Hempstead with an 82. Nathan Kaesbauer shot an 86, while Cole Ramler fired a 94 and Nathan Oberfoell had a 97.