Ferrell rules NCC with even-par 72

Winning an individual conference title just Step 1 in Lynx senior’s master plan

MASON CITY — The sting of not reaching his goals a season ago, namely a spot in the Class 3A state tournament and a run at a title, have kept Nathan Ferrell awake at night from time to time over the past 12 months.

Golf is his sport, his passion. And ever since that missed opportunity he’s commanded nothing but excellence from himself.

“I still remember that a lot, I lay in bed and I think about it because golf is a big part of my life,” Ferrell, a Webster City senior, said. “I wanted to be (at state) really bad because I felt like I had a shot, so that definitely motivated me all summer and last fall and this spring. I work hard to try to be better than everybody else.”

Outside of a stray round or two, that’s exactly what Ferrell has been — better than everybody else. That includes at Monday’s North Central Conference tournament.

In command of every club in his bag from the opening tee shot, Ferrell cruised his way around the 6,038-yard, par-72 Mason City Country Club with an even-par round and three stroke victory over runner-up Tyler Eaton of Clear Lake (75).

“I have goals in my head that I want to accomplish this season and (being the NCC champion) is near the top of the list,” Ferrell said after a round that included four birdies, 10 pars and four bogeys. “I still have a lot to achieve, but this is a good start to it.”

WCHS head coach Eric Dawson watched plenty of Ferrell’s round and he continued to be amazed by the shots that his No. 1 player can pull off.

“He’s on fire right now and when he makes a bogey you think that shouldn’t have happened,” Dawson said. “He’s longer than everybody, he’s more accurate than everybody I’ve seen him play against this year, and it’s just a matter of making putts.”

Ferrell pointed to his wedge game as the key to his round on the shorter course that is protected by massive trees. Knowing how to play the small, firm greens worked in his favor.

“You couldn’t get the ball to land near the pin, you had to hit it short,” Ferrell said. “I didn’t drive it particularly well, but I got to my favorite yardage which is 100 yards a lot, and once I’m there I feel like I can get it to seven feet eight out of 10 times.”

Ferrell birdied the par-4 second hole and par-5 sixth to make the turn at 2-under-par 34. He reached 3-under with a birdie on the par-5 10th, but penciled in his first bogey at the par-4 11th.

Ferrell bogeyed Nos. 13, 14 and 15 in succession, but maintained his composure, something he said was key for a strong finish.

“From my freshman year to now, that’s one of the biggest differences in my game,” Ferrell, now a three-time all-NCC player, said. “I’ve been in those situations where I’ve been 5-under and also 6-over where I have to keep a round together.”

Ferrell righted the ship with a par at 16 and then a birdie at 17 to get back to even-par.

With Ferrell leading the field, it put WCHS in contention for the team crown. But Clear Lake put together a balanced effort that included two rounds in the 70s and three of the top four scores en route to a winning total of 322. The Lynx settled for second with a 331, a disappointing consolation prize.

“Our expectations were to win it for sure, so we were disappointed,” Dawson said. “We had our chance because Clear Lake did not shoot what they probably should have shot.”

Humboldt (341) was 10 strokes in back of WCHS in third.

Drake Doering (85), Chase Rattenborg (87) and Garrett Arnold (87) all turned in rounds in the mid-80s to complete the Lynx scoring group.

It’s now on to the postseason for WCHS. Dawson will take his team to a 3A sectional at Landsmeer Golf Club in Orange City Thursday morning for a 9:30 a.m. tee time. The goal is a spot in the district at the Spencer Country Club seven days later, and after that a spot in the state meet at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.

Ferrell is certainly planning on being part of that field in Fort Dodge later this month.

“I think if I go out and play well I have a chance to beat any person I play against in the state,” he said.

NCC Tournament

Monday at Mason City Country Club

Team Standings

1. Clear Lake 322; 2. Webster City 331; 3. Humboldt 341; 4. St. Edmond 342; 5. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 353; 6. Iowa Falls-Alden 362; 7. Algona 369; 8. Hampton-Dumont 436.

Individual Leaderboard

1. Nathan Ferrell (WC) 72; 2. Tyler Eaton (CL) 75; 3. Jack Barragy (CL) 78; 4. Tate Storbeck (CL) 80; 5. Dalton Nesheim (CGD) 81; 6. Drew Schaefer (SE) 81; 7. Jackson French (IF-A) 81.

Other Webster City Scores

Drake Doering 85, Chase Rattenborg 87, Garrett Arnold 87, Trey Lyons 92, Josh Casady 98.