WEST LIBERTY - Having won more men’s Eastern Iowa Golf Association (EIGA) tournament titles than any club over the last two decades, when the Wapsi Country Club team takes to any course, they expect nothing less than a championship.
So, when the Anamosa team walked off the course with a sixth-place finish at the 92nd EIGA event in West Liberty Sunday, Aug. 11, naturally there was some disappointment, but that still didn’t stop the Wapsi team from posting some solid individual scores during the two-day, 36-hole event that opened Saturday, Aug. 10, in near ideal conditions.
“Our goal every year is to win it, especially since we were the defending champions coming into this tournament,” said Lenny Rhomberg III, who helped the Wapsi men to a 1,568 team score that trailed champion Solon by 55 strokes.
“I know I didn’t golf the way I had hoped and I know a lot of the other guys felt the same way. On Saturday from tee-to-green I was pretty good, but I just couldn’t make a putt to save my life. Then on Sunday my game just kind of gradually fell apart.”
Wapsi, by their standards, struggled from the outset sitting in sixth-place and trailing day-one leader Monticello (757) by 30 strokes after firing a 787 score.
Monticello led host West Liberty (762) by five strokes while Solon (769) sat in third 12 strokes off the pace after the first day’s 18 holes of action before Solon made a huge day-two charge to claim their third EIGA team title in the last four years.
Bret McNamara led all Wapsi golfers with his Saturday round of 75 (39-36) before Al Recker tallied one of the top final-round scores on Sunday finishing with a two-under par round of 70 (36-34) that placed him as Anamosa’s team runner-up with a 152 (82-70) two-day card.
Ed Rodts walked away with the Wapsi team medalist honor claiming the title by two shots over Recker after making his way through the challenging West Liberty Country Club course with rounds of 77 (39-38) on Saturday and a one-over par 73 (36-37) on Sunday for a 150 two-day total that just missed placing in the tournament top-10, finishing in a five-way tie for 11th overall.
McNamara was just one stroke off Recker’s pace placing third on the team scoring a 153 two-day total after closing with a 78 (41-37) on Sunday. McNamara’s card just missed tournament top-20 honors while Recker placed in a six-way tie for 18th overall.
Carrier’s card of 154 (79-75) was fourth on the Wapsi team while Mitch Martensen (77-82) added a 159. Brett Seeley tallied a 160 (79-81) while Dennis Kula (81-81) 162, Rhomberg III (79-83) 162, Dave Marshall (78-86) 164, Dillon Eggers (86-78) 164, Wayne Hora (83-82) 165 and Scott Nemmers (81-84) 165 rounded out the Wapsi Country Club scoring.
Monticello’s Mike Wennekamp (34-36) and Bellevue’s Connor Michels (34-36) tied for the individual lead after the first day’s play each firing rounds of 70 on Saturday, but both fell off the pace with cards of 78 on Sunday.
Monticello’s Dustin Hall, after opening with a 72 (35-37) on Saturday, held off the field to win his first EIGA title since 2011 with a two-under par round of 70 (34-36) in the final round to top Solon’s runner-up Josh Dowham (143) by a single stroke, who had the second-lowest final round score with a 69 (34-35) on Sunday.
Solon had two of the top-3 individual scores (Dowham, second and Randy Miller, third 144) and three in the top-10 (Mike Armentrout, sixth 147) but was outdone by Monticello who placed four golfers in the tournament top-10 (Hall, first, Kevin Goedken, sixth 147, Wennekamp, eighth 148 and Brian McDonald, eighth 148).
Solon easily made the biggest jump of any team on Sunday carding a 744 total that allowed them to pass Monticello and West Liberty in the team standings and easily win the EIGA championship.
Solon was also aided by a former Anamosa High School standout, as Mike Neville, a member of the Raiders’ 1999 state title team, carded a two-day total of 159 (79-80).
West Liberty struggled on Sunday going from second-place to fifth after carding an 801 score on Sunday, second-worst among all teams competing.
Dyersville also made a significant jump going from seventh on Saturday to fourth on Sunday after finishing with a 763 team card during the final 18 holes.
Final team standings were: Solon (769-744) 1,513, Monticello (757-768) 1,525, Kernoustie (774-771) 1,545, Dyersville (791-763) 1,554, West Liberty (762-801) 1,563, Wapsi (787-781) 1,568, Bellevue (783-798) 1,581, Tipton (812-798) 1,610 and Wahkonsa (812-823) 1,635.
While the tournament started with sensational weather conditions, the final 18 holes on Sunday was plagued by an early rain that delayed the tournament an hour, and as the final golfers finished up darkness was beginning to settle in.