The Galena Country Jr Classic at Lacoma was not played on its scheduled date due to torrential downpour. The rescheduled date thankfully brought sunny skies and an excellent day for golf. The 9-hole competitors in the 10-11 and 12-13 divisions played Lacoma Red, a shorter 9-hole track. The 18 holers played Lacoma Blue, a longer, more challenging course.
Ben Vaassen snapped up a victory in the boys 16-17 division with a round of 76. He outdueled Kyle Arthofer’s 78 and Max Naumann’s 82.
Vaassen credits the work he’s put into his game to his play as of late. “Last year I was mostly low 80s to high 70s, but I’ve slowly improved to a mid 70s to high 70s type of golfer. I’m hoping I can continue that trend into the future with more hard work,” said Vaassen.
In the girls 16-17, Dubuque Senior standout Breanna Felderman continued her solid play with an 82. Maddy Streicher and Anna Kalb followed up with rounds of 86 and 97 respectively.
“I hit my driver really well today. It’s a lot easier to score when you’re playing out of the fairway,” said Felderman.
Cedar Rapids native Ben Blocklinger took home first in the boys 14-15 with a solid round of 75. Will Sigwarth took second with an 89 and Noah Nabb took third with a 90.
Blocklinger may live over an hour away, but Lacoma had a home course feel for him today. His grandfather, John “Block” Blocklinger is a longtime ranger at Lacoma, and has played the course with his grandson many times. “It was awesome to win here today, especially looking over and seeing my grandpa watching. This is where he and my dad have played most of their golf, so it warms my heart a little bit,” said Blocklinger. Ben will be a freshman at Cedar Rapids Washington this year, and is hoping to play varsity for his entire high school career.
In the girls 14-15, Tess Breslin captured another victory with a 91, her lowest round on the DAJT. Behind her were Katelyn Vaassen’s 94 and Ella Kluesner’s 109.
Breslin cited her control on the short grass that led to her solid round. “I putted well all day, and when they weren’t going in the hole they were close enough for an easy tap in,” said Breslin.
In the boys 12-13, Jackson Webber returned to the winners circle with a stellar round of 36. Luke Harwick and Roan Martineau also added strong rounds of 38 and 40 respectively.
While his score didn’t suggest it, Webber was not hitting his irons well during his round. “I was missing greens a lot, but I hit my chips close and scrambled really well. That’s always more important, and it’s great to shoot a low score even when some parts of my game weren’t the best,” said Webber.
Brianna Kirsch took the girls 12-13 division with a round of 46. Addison Jones’ 51 was good for second, and Ava Kalb’s 54 took third.
The Lancaster native has improved all season, and credits that to playing with her parents and older brother, Noah. “When I play with them, they hit it farther than me, which makes me want to hit it just as far and get stronger overall,” said Kirsch. “I think that really helps me when I have to play against girls my age.”
Callan Martineau won the boys 10-11 division firing a round of 43. Easton Felderman Placed second with a 52 and Bryce Carroll placed third with a 54.
Callan was pleased with the way he grinded the round out. “I’ve been in a slump before this tournament so I’m proud of how I played. The tees were farther back than what I usually play so I had to hit harder clubs like fairway woods and long irons,” said Martineau.
Amber Wilson won the girls 10-11 division with a 56. Rounding out the top three were Elin Mueller’s 57 and Kayleigh Smith’s 63.
Wilson saw marked improvement from last week to this week, improving by 17 shots. She credited this to extra practice time.
“I practiced my driver and putter a lot. Those were the two best things about my round today,” said Wilson.
The final event of the DAJT season will take place on Thursday, August 1st for the Premier Bank Junior at the Meadows. After that, the top 4 from each age division will compete in the Ryder Cup at Thunder Hills.