Lakers Reclaim Quad Cup
A familiar piece of hardware is back in the Iowa Lakes men's golf team trophy case after they reclaimed the Quad Cup after losing the Cup last year in a playoff to Des Moines Area Community College. This year the Lakers had to play in yet another playoff, but this time against Iowa Central Community College.
Four participating teams, North Iowa Area Community College, Iowa Central Community College, Des Moines Area Community College, and Iowa Lakes Community College compete each year in the annual Quad Cup match play event. The tournament was formed three years ago as a fun, team orientated match play event between rival community colleges in north central Iowa. Through three years, the tournament has yet to disappoint. The first year, Iowa Lakes took down Iowa Central three matches to one to win the cup outright. However, they needed to win a playoff in the first round against DMACC in order to get to that championship match. The second year, Iowa Lakes and DMACC met yet again, however this time in the championship match that went to three sudden death playoff holes with DMACC coming out victorious.
This year, Iowa Lakes swept NIACC in all four two-person matches in the first round. DMACC and Iowa Centrall needed two sudden death playoff holes to determine who was going to advance to the championship match, with Iowa Central coming out victorious. The championship match was set; Iowa Lakes vs. Iowa Central. Each team would go on to win two matches and force yet another playoff to determine a new Quad Cup Champion.
"The Quad Cup is one of those events that we started in hopes of starting to build some tradition in our area and create an event that the players really look forward to playing, and luckily I think we have done just that" said Iowa Lakes golf coach Jarvis Weber. "The sophomores were really looking forward to this event after last years heartbreak in the playoff so I knew they were going to come out focused and ready to go and everybody fed off of that energy."
Coach Weber went with the pairings of James Preston/Dawson Weber, Trace Jacobson/Nolan King, Addison Bahr/Conal Downing, and Joey Murphy/Luke Sladek in the first round. With all four matches going in the Lakers' favor, there was no shake up entering the second round.
"We all felt that we had great momentum from the first round and unanimously decided to keep the pairings for the second round." added Coach Weber.
Preston/Weber would run into a couple of hot players from Iowa Central and lose their match 4 and 3, even though starting out with four birdies in the first five holes they found themselves all square after six holes. Eventually they ran out of steam and Iowa Central would go on to the win the match. Jacobson/King also got off to a hot start, getting 2 up in the first five holes, but they too ran into a strong pairing from the Tritons and would lose 4 and 3. That left the last two pairings on the course needing to go in the Lakers' favor. Bahr/Downing were in a back and forth contest that would never get above 1 up for either team. Down the stretch Bahr/Downing would get to 1 up with four to play and never reliquinsh that lead, winning the match 1 up. Murphy/Sladek were also in a back and forth match for much of the day, however they would pull away in the later holes and win their match 2 and 1, giving the Lakers the needed two points to force a playoff.
"All of the guys came out and gutted out every point that they could against Iowa Central. Sometimes in match play you run into a hot hand and there is almost nothing you can do but watch as a player or two just run you over, and that's what happened in the first two matches. Luckily for us it was a four team match and we had good players still on the course and they did everything they needed to do to keep us in it" said Coach Weber when asked about his team's championship round.
All that was left was the playoff. Two-man teams of alternate shot in a sudden death, winner take all format. Iowa Lakes coach Jarvis Weber changed things up a bit and went with his top two players over the fall season in Conal Downing and James Preston. "Each of them has won a tournament this year and we all felt very strongly going with our top two gunners in Conal and James to bring the Quad Cup home" said Coach Weber. After a little rock-paper-scissors from the coaches to determine the teeing order, Iowa Lakes would elect to tee second. Iowa Central would hit a great drive and put their team in a great spot. Downing was called up to hit the tee shot in hopes to set up his teammate. Even with a little distraction from a near by neighbor and an air compressor going off in the downswing, Conal hit a perfect drive in the left center of the fairway and set up James for what would be, according to his coach, "the best 3-wood I have ever seen". Downing's drive would get the best of Iowa Central by about two yards, forcing them to hit first. With a tough wind and a tricky approach coming up, Iowa Central elected to play the smart and safe shot and lay up with an iron the par five and set themselves up with a great look at a wedge to convert a birdie.
"After Iowa Central hit their second shot, James looked back and asked Conal and I what we should do, reaching for an iron to lay up as well. Conal immediately told him "absolutely not, we're going for it. Hit the 3-wood, put a little cut on it and it'll be perfect. You've got this shot, we have complete faith in you", and that was all James needed." said Coach Weber. "James reached for his 3-wood, went through his routine, turned back one last timing asking "are you sure you want this?" with Conal again agreeing and backing up his teammate, and then James hit the best 3-wood I have ever seen."
James had 245 yards to a middle pin, a steady wind in the face, bunkers long and short right. The shot called for a piercing, low fade to avoid the bunkers on the right and hold up into the wind to prevent from going long, and that is exactly what James hit.
"As soon as the ball left, I knew it was perfect. I hit the exact shot that I envisioned in my head" said Preston.
James' 3-wood from 245 yards into a stiff wind would end up two feet from the cup. A dagger.
Iowa Central was back at 70 yards with their third shot into the par five and would hit up to about fifteen feet and miss their biridie putt and concede the match, concede the Quad Cup. Conal and James only had to hit one shot each on a par five sudden death playoff hole.
"These are the moments that golfers live for, and the exact reason I put Conal and James in that situation. I knew Conal would set up his teammate with a perfect drive, and I knew James would live up to the moment. Both of these guys are big time players and I am truly happy for them, and this team, that they got to live out this moment." said Coach Weber. "It takes an entire team to get to this point and win events like this. Without every one of these guys today, we would not have gotten here and Conal and James would not have gotten the opportunity to bring it home. This is a special team that we have this year, and today showed exactly what this team is capable of doing this season."
The Iowa Lakes men's golf team has a week off before heading down to Joplin, Missouri to compete in the NJCAA Divison II National Preview at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club on October 7th and 8th. They will wrap up their fall season at the Region XI Fall Preview on October 14th at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course in Riverside, Iowa.