BOONE - Braxton Risetter knows the looks from his playing partners are coming as he takes his golf ball out of his pocket and prepares to tee it up. That's what happens when you constantly break one of the unwritten rules of the game.
Real golfers use white balls, or so the theory goes. Bright orange and yellow - those golf balls are for 30-handicappers who don't know the difference between a 3-wood and a sand wedge.
But Risetter, a South Hamilton sophomore, enjoys being a bit different, which is why he's adopted the neon-yellow ball as his preferred choice.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton sophomore Trevor Ullestad tees off at the par-4, 330-yard fourth hole at Honey Creek Golf Club in Boone during the Heart of Iowa Conference tournament on Wednesday. Ullestad parred the hole and went on to shoot a 76 to finish third. The Hawks were the league runner-up behind Prairie City-Monroe.
"I like being original on the golf course, and my parents like it because they always know where my golf ball is," Risetter said yesterday after he rode his Srixon No. 4 yellow ball to a 7-over par 78 and a fourth-place finish at the Heart of Iowa Conference tournament at the par-71 Honey Creek Golf Club. "I'm sure guys probably think, 'Oh, this guy doesn't know what he's doing,' or 'This guy is probably going to slice every ball out of bounds,' but it works for me."
Risetter was one of three South Hamilton players - Trevor Ullestad and Austin Heeren were the others - to place in the top five, but that still wasn't good enough to propel the Hawks to their fifth consecutive league championship. Prairie City-Monroe received 1-over rounds of 72 from Hunter Van Veen and Deven Woody and had four players in the top seven en route to a team total of 310 - an eight-stroke advantage over runner-up South Hamilton (318).
Van Veen bested his teammate in a sudden-death playoff for the individual title with a birdie on the third extra hole - the par-3, 141-yard third.
Heart of Iowa Conference Tournament
Wednesday at Honey Creek Golf Club
1. Prairie City-Monroe 310; 2. South Hamilton 318; 3. Gilbert 349; 4. Colfax-Mingo 351; 5. Roland-Story 351; 6. Nevada 368; 7. North Polk 369; 8. JSPC Jefferson 391; 9. Collins-Maxwell-Baxter 404; 10. Grandview Park Baptist 489.
Individual Top 10
1.*Hunter Van Veen (PCM) 72; 2. Deven Woody (PCM) 72; 3. Trevor Ullestad (SH) 76; 4. Braxton Risetter (SH) 78; 5. Austin Heeren (SH) 80; 6. James Howell (G) 81; 7. (tie) Logan Van Veen (PCM), Justin Beemer (PCM), Evan Johnson (R-S) 83; 10. (tie) Austin Yoakum (C-M), Berke Osborne (NP), Jacob Haugland (SH) 84.
*Won sudden-death playoff on 3rd hole
Other South Hamilton Scores
Max McGonigle 93, Jordan Sogard 104.
It was clearly a two-horse team race; Gilbert was third, well out of contention with a 349. Colfax-Mingo (351) was fourth on a tiebreaker, while Roland-Story (351) settled into fifth.
"We were consistent again, but a 318 is not what we knew we needed to shoot to win," South Hamilton head coach Mark Ullestad said. "I think we left a few (strokes) out there, and PCM is a good team; a 310 is a pretty good score."
Sophomore Trevor Ullestad was a model of consistency for the Hawks, as his 76 positioned him in third on the leaderboard. He had one birdie and 12 pars, and shot an even-par 36 on the front 9. But he says the larger Honey Creek greens got the better of him throughout the windy afternoon.
"I played pretty well, and I hit a lot of fairways and greens, but I didn't really make any putts," Trevor Ullestad said. "I had a lot of two-putts."
Risetter's round felt like a rollercoaster at times. He birdied five holes, but he also registered a pair of double-bogeys and a triple-bogey during the middle of his round that took him out of medalist contention.
Risetter made a late charge with three birdies on his final seven holes - a stretch he played in 1-under. He had back-to-back chip-ins for birdie at the par-5 fifth and par-3 sixth holes, and had a 12-foot, downhill birdie putt lip out on his final hole of the day - the par-4 seventh.
"I had a lot of birdies, so it could have been a lot better," Risetter said. "I had three holes in a row that were bad and I kind of lost it mentally there for a while, but I had a pretty good comeback.
"We wanted to win five times in a row, so we're pretty disappointed right now."
Heeren, a senior, shot an 80 to finish fifth and Jacob Haugland, a junior, carded an 84 to share seventh-place with two others.
"We're consistent, that's what we do," Mark Ullestad said. "We don't have a guy that can shoot 71 or 72 right now, but we know we've got four or five guys that can stay consistent each night."
Senior Jordan Sogard - the two-time defending conference medalist entering the tournament and the Hawks' No. 1 player - felt like he was trapped in a nightmare from his first hole to the last. Strapped with the dreaded shanks - a word all seasoned golfers won't say out loud - he limped in with a 104.
"It's a hard thing to cure getting the 'S' word out of your brain, but Jordan's played enough golf," Mark Ullestad said. "He just needs to go fix it, and we're going to give him the tools to fix it.
"I was happy he came back with a 47 on his second nine. He probably beat quite a few kids here with that and he was hitting it straight right."
Max McGonigle was also on the course for South Hamilton; he shot a 93.
The Hawks and PCM will come face-to-face again today in Story City, and they could meet again at a Class 2A district tournament later this month. Risetter says he and his teammates will be ready.
"Every time we've played PCM we've had one or two guys play decent, but when we have all four guys play the way we should then I think we'll be tough to beat," he said.