Emotional return to the top for Conrad
Fortune dominates on senior side
Delaney Conrad’s year has been anything but normal.
On Sunday, she found a little peace and a lot of smiles at the place she knows best: the golf course.
The recently-graduated Southeast Valley High School senior returned to the winner’s circle after a one-year absence, earning her second Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Webster County women’s open division tournament title.
Win or lose, the Minnesota State University recruit was just thankful to be competing again. This spring was a particularly difficult one for Conrad, a two-time state qualifier who lost her final prep season to the COVID-19 global pandemic — just as her father, Mike, found himself in a sudden battle with a form of throat cancer this past May.
“It was just nice to be out there in a tournament after everything that’s happened,” Conrad said. “That sounds simple, but after everything that’s happened, this is a blessing. It feels good to win again. And having my dad out there a little, with this being the first time he’s been able to watch and coach me, was really nice. Something I’ve missed.”
Conrad fired rounds of 76 and 77 to clinch the title going away in the event sponsored by The Messenger. Jaime Plane was the runner-up.
Kathy Fortune also returned to her winning ways on the women’s senior side with a 79-75–154.
Conrad felt “really disappointed” when the spring season was canceled. She was expected to again be among the individual contenders in Class 2A for a title.
“You put a lot of hard work and preparation into the year, and it was just over like that,” said Conrad, who lives in Gowrie. “I didn’t do as well as I had hoped (in 2019 at state), so I was really looking forward to (making amends). It was hard to not have that closure.”
Conrad called the news of her father’s cancer diagnosis “a real shock to our family” at the time.
“He’s thankfully doing much better,” said Conrad, who is leaving for college in Mankato, Minn. on Aug. 18. “He had a lump on the right side of his neck, and when he went to get it checked out, we didn’t think it was anything more than a swollen lymph node.
“This past week was good for him. He’s talking much better and eating more, and he has a follow-up appointment on Monday (after nearly two months of chemo and radiation treatments in Iowa City).”
Fortune, who lives in Rockwell City and works on her uncle’s acreage in Lehigh, took the senior trophy in 2015 with a 155 total. She was a single stroke better this weekend, well ahead of runner-up and fellow former champ Peg Christensen.
“My chipping and putting were both working well for me,” Fortune said. “I love the greens at the (Fort Dodge) Country Club. I’ve had a lot of fun in this tournament whenever I get the chance to play in it.”
Fortune’s summer has been packed with success so far. She won titles at both the Iowa Senior Women’s Amateur championship in Marshalltown, and the super senior crown at the Carroll Country Club.
Saturday’s closest-to-the-pin winners, sponsored by Faiferlick Martial Arts and Next Edge Performance, were Conrad (No. 9), Amy Pingel (No. 14) and Fortune (No. 17). All three received $100 and a day pass to Next Edge, valued at $75.