Madison Clark

Central's Madison Clark watches her pitch shot at the Ames Golf and Country Club

AMES — Central College staged a late charge with all-conference efforts from four players before closing in second place at the American Rivers women’s golf tourney Monday.

The Dutch had their best round of the three-day, 54-hole championship and the low round of the day at 314 but the University of Dubuque held on for a 7-shot win. Dubuque finished with 329-306-318—953. Central followed at 327-319-314—960.

“We gave them a run,” coach Tabitha Schumacher said. “We had a good day. We got off to a great start and put the pressure on them. But they had their best score of the year yesterday and that was the deciding factor.”

Playing the same course a year ago, the Dutch placed fourth and shot 333-343-344—1020.

“When you have a three-day tournament there are always a lot of places where you feel like you could have played better but all in all, we shot 60 strokes better than last year,” Schumacher said.

Dubuque’s Madison Bowers and Brooke Bunjes finished one-two to give the Spartans the edge. Bowers surged to medalist honors with 81-76-74—231 while Bowers shot 81-73-80—234. It’s the third straight team title for the Spartans, who secured the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championships in May.

Central’s Mackenzie Biggs (sophomore, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) and Delaney Underwood (junior, Mitchellville, Colfax-Mingo HS) each gained all-conference distinction for a second time. Biggs took sixth at 82-78-78—238 while Underwood was seventh at 81-80-79—240. Thea Lunning (junior, Mason City) tied for eighth at 81-82-79—242 and Madison Clark (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Central Catholic HS) used two birdies on the back nine to climb into a tie for 10th places as they both gained all-conference honors for a second time. Meanwhile, Central’s No. 5 player Peyton Bytnar  (sophomore, Bettendorf) turned in a career-best 78 to take 12th at 85-81-78—244.

“Peyton played well throughout the entire round,” Schumacher said. “For her to come through and do that was awesome for her.”

After posting just one score under 80 in the tournament’s first two rounds, the Dutch had four scores of 79 or less Monday.

“To have four all-conference players is a huge accomplishment,” Schumacher said. “It’s been a great fall season.”

Wartburg College was third at 324-323-325—972, 12 shots back of the Dutch while Luther College was fourth at 324-323-325—972.

The tourney concludes a record-setting season for a still-young Dutch squad, posting top-three team finishes in four tournaments, including a title at the Prairie Wolf Invitational at Lincoln, Nebraska Sept. 25-26. With the spring season still remaining, Central’s 318.2 team scoring average is well under the school mark of 327.5 set in 2017-18.

“There has been a lot of improvement,” Schumacher said. “Now there’s a drive to work hard, get better and see where we can go. We’re not far off.”

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