What we learned from Gilbert's runner-up showing at the Class 3A girls state golf meet

·6 min read

It wasn't Gilbert's day at the Class 3A girls' state golf meet Friday.

The Tigers entered the second day of competition with a comfortable lead and top golfer Eden Lohrbach tied with Newton's Rylee Heryford for first place at the River Valley Golf Course in Adel. But Clear Lake stormed past the Tigers to win the 3A state team championship while Heryford edged Lohrbach in playoff for the individual title.

Gilbert shot a 716 over two days to come in three strokes behind Clear Lake's winning score of 713. The Tigers shot a  348 the first day, but fell off to 368 Friday, allowing the Lions to make up a 12-stroke difference and steal the championship.

Gilbert girls' golf team members (from left) Sydney Lynch, Eden Lohrbach, Haley Loonan, Connie Chen, Josie Dukes and Macy Underwood hold up their Class 3A state runner-up trophy Friday at the River Valley Golf Course in Adel.
Gilbert girls' golf team members (from left) Sydney Lynch, Eden Lohrbach, Haley Loonan, Connie Chen, Josie Dukes and Macy Underwood hold up their Class 3A state runner-up trophy Friday at the River Valley Golf Course in Adel.

"I know the team had higher aspirations than that," Gilbert coach Grant Walker said. "We really didn't play our best golf today. It will sting for awhile after they had a lead and to come so close. But second is good."

Gilbert shot a 703 on the same course at last year's state meet. The Tigers also took second in 2021, but they were 28 strokes behind Washington's winning score.

This year they seemed poised to join the Gilbert boys' team as state champions. But a rough 18th green played havoc with some of the Gilbert scores.

The pin location was just past a quick dropoff, forcing many golfers to struggle with their putts.

"It was brutal," Walker said. "It was probably one of the hardest pin locations I've ever seen at a high school meet. I was watching girls from all teams — No. 1s, 2s and 3s — five-putting, six-putting and a couple 10-putts. But it's part of the game."

More: After winning state as a freshman, Gilbert's Eden Lohrbach continues golf dominance

More: How freshmen Elizabeth Duncan, Emersen Motl are taking Ames girls golf to another level

More: Back-to-back: How the Gilbert boys golf team easily won another Class 3A state championship

One person who didn't struggle putting on 18 was Lohrbach.

Lohrbach, last year's 3A individual champion as a freshman, needed only three putts. The final one was a clutch down-hill putt that went in the hole to tie her with Heryford and force the playoff.

Lohrbach had another terrific putt on the second hole of the playoff, nailing one from nearly 20 yards to force a third playoff hole. But she wasn't able to maintain her magic on the third hole, falling one putt short.

Gilbert's Eden Lohrbach drives the ball onto the 11th hole during a playoff against Newton's Rylee Heryford at the Class 3A girls state golf meet at River Valley Golf Course Friday, May 27, 2022, in Adel, Iowa. Lohrbach lost the playoff to finish second individually after shooting a 149 over 36 holes for the meet.
Gilbert's Eden Lohrbach drives the ball onto the 11th hole during a playoff against Newton's Rylee Heryford at the Class 3A girls state golf meet at River Valley Golf Course Friday, May 27, 2022, in Adel, Iowa. Lohrbach lost the playoff to finish second individually after shooting a 149 over 36 holes for the meet.

"I was just trying to take it one shot at a time because that's all you can do," Lohrbach said. "Rylee is an amazing golfer. She works hard at it."

Heryford and Lohrbach both shot 149. They each carded a 75 on the first 18 Thursday and a 74 Friday before going to the playoff.

Lohrbach beat Heryford during the 3A regional meet at the Terrace Hills Golf Course in Altoona to qualify for state. During that 18-hole meet, Lohrbach shot a 68 to Heryford's 70.

"When they played at regionals, they were back and forth, and today was no different," Walker said. "It took them 39 holes to get it decided at state. I'm proud of how well Eden did today."

Even though she finished with the same score she won state with last year, Lohrbach wasn't satisfied with her performance.

"I gave myself a lot of chances, but I was not able to pull through with most of those," Lohrbach said. "My driver was just off and I was digging myself in a hole."

But her coach can't wait to see what is in store for her junior and senior seasons.

"She's got a lot of golf left to play here at Gilbert," Walker said. "I'm excited to see what she can do in the future."

Haley Loonan shot a 188 with rounds of 87 and 101 to place 20th for Gilbert. Sydney Lynch had two rounds of 95 to end up tied for 21st with a 190, and Macy Underwood carded a 91 and 101 to finish with a 192 and place 24th,

Josie Dukes produced two rounds of 98 to finish tied for 26th with a 196. Connie Chen shot a 116 Thursday and 103 Friday to tie for 51st with a 219.

Chen is the only golfer Gilbert will lose to graduation.

Nevada's Olivia Axmear looks at the ball after putting onto the 9th hole during the Class 3A girls state golf meet at the River Valley Golf Course Friday, May 27, 2022, in Adel, Iowa.
Nevada's Olivia Axmear looks at the ball after putting onto the 9th hole during the Class 3A girls state golf meet at the River Valley Golf Course Friday, May 27, 2022, in Adel, Iowa.

Nevada's Olivia Axmear ties for 14th

Nevada sophomore Olivia Axmear had a strong showing in her first solo state tournament appearance during the 3A meet in Adel.

Axmear tied for 14th with a 175. She shot an 89 Thursday and cut three strokes off that score Friday.

"It was so fun," Axmear said. "It was way different than any other meet because so many people watching me and cheering me on. The greens were rough, but everything else was good."

Roland-Story places fifth in 2A

The Roland-Story girls' golf team came in fifth during the 2A meet held at the Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls.

The Norse shot a 747 to trail only Sumner-Fredericksburg (703), New Hampton (712), Dike-New Hartford (730) and Williamsburg (737) in the 2A standings. Roland-Story was second at last year's 2A state meet in Marshalltown.

Makenna Carlson and Ellie Erickson both placed in the top 10 individually for Roland-Story. Carlson finished fourth with a 161 after carding rounds of 80 and 81, and Erickson was ninth after shooting an 82 and an 85 to end up with a 167.

Gabriella Wakefield shot a 208 to tie for 48th and Abby Cook tied for 53rd with a 211 for the Norse. Courtney Schaiver carded a 111 and Mersadie Franklin a 114 on the second day for Roland-Story.

Sumner-Fredericksburg's Chloe Bolte won a playoff with Columbus Catholic's Molly Fereday for the 2A individual title after they each shot a 149.

Ames freshman Elizabeth Duncan chips the ball onto the 12th hole during the Class 4A girls state golf meet at the Otter Creek Golf Course Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Ankeny, Iowa.
Ames freshman Elizabeth Duncan chips the ball onto the 12th hole during the Class 4A girls state golf meet at the Otter Creek Golf Course Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Ankeny, Iowa.

Elizabeth Duncan finishes 21st at 4A meet for Ames

Ames freshman Elizabeth Duncan came in 21st at the 4A state meet held at Otter Creek in Ankeny.

Duncan was consistent, shooting 85 each day to finish with a 170. Emersen Motl also competed for Ames and Duncan's freshman classmate carded a 188 with rounds of 86 and 102 to tie for 48th place.

The 4A individual title was also decided by a playoff. Bettendorf's Shannyn Vogler won it over Marshalltown's Amber Henson after they each shot a 143.

West Des Moines Valley won the 4A team title with a 637. Pleasant Valley took second with a 656.

This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: Gilbert, Lohrbach take second at the 3A girls' state golf meet