Stewart Grabs Medalist Honors, Leads Kennedy to MVC Super Meet Title
By KJ Pilcher, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS – Shots matter. Numbers don't.
When Cedar Rapids Kennedy golfer Brigham Stewart finished making good shots, the numbers turned out great.
Stewart was impressive, shooting an 8-under par 64 to capturing medalist honors and helping the Cougars to the team title Thursday at the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet at Twin Pines Golf Course. Stewart edged teammate Cody Bell by two strokes, while Kennedy posted a 14-under 274 team total to beat Dubuque Hempstead by 11 shots. Host Cedar Rapids Xavier was third with 286.
Stewart said he surprised himself slightly with the final result, but during the round he concentrated on his play and not the score.
"I don't really get too excited," Stewart said. "Just kind of kept making shots and putts and played well."
He was nearly perfect, carding nine birdies and only one bogey with matching 32s on the front and back. One of the birdies came on par-4 No. 15. Stewart nearly drove the green, chipping within a foot of the hole and making the short putt.
"I was just hitting real straight and getting good contact on the driver," Stewart said. "That was one of the keys today. Especially out here."
Stewart's passion for the game is a big reason for his success. He is devoted to the game, making it his top activity.
"A lot of his life revolves around golf," said Kennedy Coach Mark Wilden, noting he has good instructors at Elmcrest including golf pro Larry Gladson. "He's a very hard worker. Golf is big for him."
Golf was a big enough priority that when he couldn't crack the lineup as a freshman or sophomore he dedicated more time and increased his offseason work. Stewart said he spends one to two hours daily on his golf game by hitting into nets or working out. It paid dividends last year, becoming a key part of Kennedy's Class 4A state runner-up team – the school's third straight top-four state finish – and continued Thursday.
"I kept my head in there and worked hard over the winter time," Stewart said. "I really just persevered and started to get my game in check. I'm playing really well right now and hopefully it can last through the rest of the season."
The Cougars dominated the conference meet. Bell showed his ability to score low with three eagles and three birdies for a 33-33-66. Kennedy's balance was on display again with Mitchell Martin and Jake Widling shooting even par. The two scores they didn't count were Harrison Moore's 73 and freshman Conner Koberg's 76, which would have been good for most of the other 13 teams.
"I knew we had good leadership in Cody and Brigham," Wilden said. "They just showed that today. The other guys, a lot of teams would be happy with the other guys, because they shot even (par), even, one over and four over, so I'm as pleased by that."
Don't expect this performance to be celebrated long. Stewart and Wilden both said more work has to be done and improvement made for bigger meets ahead.
"It's a good start and that's all it is," Wilden said. "It's one meet. We're looking to hopefully do better down the road."
The Saints improved two spots from last year's finish, and had three golfers score par or better. Jason Beer powered Xavier with a 69. Sophomore Ben Sagers and senior J.P. King added a 70 and 72 for Xavier.
Beer received a boost from birdies on three of his first five holes. He tallied seven birdies overall, including one on No. 18 that helped rebound from a bogey and double bogey on consecutive holes.
"I got off to a good start," said Beer. "On the front, I played a lot more consistent."
Linn-Mar was sixth, finishing two shots back of Iowa City High for fifth. Lions' senior Tyler McCann finished third, posting a 5-under 67. He carded five birdies and scored an eagle in the par-five No. 2 hole.
Thursday's scores will be added to two divisional meets in September to determine MVC Divisional champions and all-conference teams.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE SUPER MEET
At Twin Pines Golf Course
Teams - 1. C.R. Kennedy 274, 2. Dubuque Hempstead 285, 3. C.R. Xavier 286, 4. Cedar Falls 287, 5. Iowa City High 294, 6. Linn-Mar 296, 7. Waterloo West 302, 8. C.R. Prairie 305, 9. C.R. Washington 307, 10. C.R. Jefferson 308, 11. Iowa City West 312, 12. Dubuque Wahlert 329, 13. Dubuque Senior 337, 14. Waterloo East 374.
Individuals - 1. Brigham Stewart (CRK) 32-32–64, 2. Cody Bell (CRK) 33-33–66, 3. Tyler McCann (LM) 34-33–67, 4. Brad Miehe 32-36–68, 5. Jason Beer (CRX) 33-36–69, Carson Hillery (DH) 36-33–69.
C.R. Kennedy (274): Stewart 64, Bell 66, Mitchell Martin 72, Jake Widling 72.
Dubuque Hempstead (285): Miehe 68, Hillery 69, Shawn Breitbach 74, Dalton Streff 74.
C.R. Xavier (286): Beer 69, Ben Sagers 70, J.P. King 72, Rob Thinnes 75.
Cedar Falls (287): Jacob Bermel 71, Wil Hunemuller 71, Jared Deines 71, Alec Braun 74.
Iowa City High (294): Grant Simpson 70, Patrick Jordan 74, Ryan Duncan 75, Nate Goddard 75.
Linn-Mar (296): McCann 67, Trevor Berry 71, Clay Vieth 77, Trevor McCann 81.
Waterloo West (302): Austin Jackson 73, Tom Richter 75, Jace Holton 76, Nick Rafferty 78, Sam Richter 78.
C.R. Prairie (305): Matt Edi 75, Colyn Snyder 76, Mitch Wagner 77, Drew Digman 77.
C.R. Washington (307): Dominic Rodriguez 72, Austin Bergstrom 75, Matt Strand 80, Zach Gothard 80.
C.R. Jefferson (308): Zach Denny 74, Eric Lehmkuhl 76, Mitch Willems 76, Gavin Williams 82.
Iowa City West (312): Drew Haas 75, Dominic Muzzin 77, Noah Federici 78, Anthony Lehnertz 82.
Dubuque Wahlert (329): Christian Rapp 77, Charlie Smith 83, Cormac Siegert 83, Gus Glab 86.
Dubuque Senior (337): Ryan Jantsch 80, Connor Grant 83, Quinn Dawson 85, Chris Foley 89.
Waterloo East (374): Clay Wilkinson 79, Bryce Frost 92, Dakota Scribner 100, Ryan Plummer 103.