Morrow back on top; Stults goes back-to-back
Austin Morrow held a commanding lead heading into the championship round of the Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Webster County golf tournament on Sunday evening at the Fort Dodge Country Club.
He just didn’t want to know about it.
Morrow cruised to a seven-shot victory in the men’s open division, thanks in large part to posting consecutive rounds in the 60s to set up what proved to be an anti-climactic home stretch. The 2009 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, who also won this event four summers ago and has been a perennial contender for over a decade, didn’t spend any time scoreboard watching and “really had no idea” what kind of advantage he held on the field until the very end.
“I wasn’t sure where I stood compared to everyone else, because I wanted to stay focused on my own goals and what I was able to control,” said Morrow, who finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Eddie Doyle. “I learned a long time ago not to spend too much time worrying about what others around you are shooting.
“This game is hard enough without trying to add up all (of the scenarios) in your head as you go.”
Morrow carded a two-under 69 earlier Sunday to flank his three-under 68 at Lakeside from the day before. He caught fire on the back nine at the FDCC, birdieing holes 11, 12, 15 and 16 to distance himself from the field.
Morrow admitted the championship nine in the event presented by The Messenger “wasn’t pretty,” as he carded a three-over par 39. Still, Doyle and final foursome partners Kole Petersen and Ryan Reeder weren’t able to make a dent in their deficit.
“My goal was to not make any bogeys, and I started out with four in the first five holes, so that didn’t exactly go like I’d planned,” the laid-back former Dodger standout said in his deep, monotone voice. “I’ve been up and down this year until the last week or so, when I started playing really well. I made a lot of putts these first two rounds, which was good because I didn’t really get anything going at the end.”
Morrow did play holes 15 through 18 of the championship round at one-under par to close at two-under 176. Doyle (183), Petersen (187), Reeder (189) and Cody Jaeschke (189) rounded out the Top-5.
“This is a big deal to me. It means a lot,” Morrow said. “A lot of great players have won this tournament in the past, and a lot of great players are still in the field every year today. There are some big names on the (list of champions). It’s an honor to be on there twice now.”
Defending senior division king Randy Stults certainly didn’t expect to be in a position to repeat as he started the evening session at nine-over par overall and eight shots out of the lead. Stults fired an even-par 36, though, and suddenly found himself in a sudden-death playoff with six-time winner Terry Miller.
With darkness descending on the FDCC, Stults parred the 10th hole and Miller bogeyed to keep the current county reign intact.
“I was very surprised (to be in that position),” Stults said. “I didn’t play well at all either day. I putted OK, but the rest wasn’t good.
“You just never know, so all I could do (during the championship round) was my best. I made some putts to get to that 36.”
Stults and Miller moved into position when Steve Schmidt — who carded a two-under par 70 at Lakeside on Saturday and a one-over 73 at the FDCC earlier Sunday — struggled late.
“I feel bad for Steve,” Stults said. “This game gets the best of all of us sometimes. I’ve never been in a playoff before, and I can say by the third shot (at No. 10), I wasn’t sure I was going to survive I was so nervous. But I made a good lag to set up a short par putt. That didn’t bother me because I’d been making those (all weekend).”
Lance Utley was third on the senior side, followed by David Osterberg and Rick Jones.
Temperatures approached 90 during the day and conditions were muggy, but the championship round saw pleasant weather and no wind.
“I have to again thank (course superintendents) Chad (Graaf at Lakeside), Mark (Siems at the FDCC) and their staff,” Stults said. “The courses were in terrific shape, and the greens especially were amazing. Best I’ve played on all year.
“We always have a fun time with this tournament, and I have a great group of guys that I play with, so (bringing home the title) is just the icing on the cake.”
WEBSTER COUNTY GOLF TOURNAMENT
Men’s Open Division
1. Austin Morrow 68-69-39–176; 2. Eddie Doyle 69-76-38–183; 3. Kole Petersen 71-73-43–187; 4. Cody Jaeschke 75-75-39–189; (tie) Ryan Reeder 73-76-40–189; 6. Justin Jorgensen 71-80-39–190; 7. Josh Gollob 78-76-43–197; 8. Kyle Bickford 78-81-40–199; 9. Michael Fraher 80-78-43–201; 10. Zach Colin 80-82-39–201; 11. Brian Balm 79-83-42–204; 12. Justin Davis 79-81-45–205; 13. Jarod Gross 78-82-46–206; 14. Drew Hansen 79-83-46–208.
Men’s Senior Division
1. Randy Stults 75-76-36–187; 2. Terry Miller 70-79-38–187; 3. Lance Utley 69-81-40–190; 4. David Osterberg 79-73-39–191; 5. Rick Jones 74-76-41–191; 6. Anthony Mayer 77-75-40–192; 7. Steve Schmidt 70-73-50–193; 8. Ron Cummins 74-81-39–194; 9. Dave Hanson 80-75-40–195; 10. Steve Huss 78-73-45–196.
Women’s Open Division
1. Sam Kuhn 77-76–153; 2. Delaney Conrad 84-80–164; 3. Kelsey Felch 89-82–171; 4. Deann Faiferlick 94-97–191.
Women’s Senior Division
1. Roxanne Kuhlman 86-84–170; 2. Dee Cummins-Thiele 86-85–171.
Closest to the Pin Winners
(Sponsored by Justin Faiferlick/Faiferlick Taekwondo; winners receive $100 each)
Men — Rick Jones, Steve Huss, Matt Tracy, Zach Colin.
Women — Julie Thorson, Lisa Coleman, Sara Potratz.
*Note: a complete list of flight winners will be published in Tuesday’s Messenger