Kennedy junior Reid Hall chips a shot on the 13th hole during the IHSAA 4A State Golf Championship at Elmcrest Country Club Saturday, October 8, 2022. (Amir Prellberg/Freelance)
CEDAR RAPIDS — Reid Hall planned to celebrate.
He was going to share in the revelry of his latest accomplishment.
“With my boys,” Hall said with a smile. “We’re going out to dinner.”
The nearby Starlite Room was the expected destination to commemorate the Cedar Rapids Kennedy junior’s historical feat.
Hall fired an even-par 70 Saturday, giving him a two-day total of 141 and medalist honors at the Class 4A boys’ state golf meet at Elmcrest Country Club. He became the Cougars’ first state golf champion, edging West Des Moines Valley freshman Braeden Nelson by one. Johnston won the team crown with 595, two better than runner-up Cedar Falls.
Hall credited the support of friends and teammates that followed him each round, hanging on every shot. They deserved to join the celebration.
“This week was very special,” Hall said. “I had support every hole. They really carried me through the two rounds and I couldn’t have done it without them.
“It was definitely exciting. Starting from the first hole (Friday), it was super electric. They were the loudest out there. It was super fun (and) the most fun I’ve had playing golf.”
Hall entered Day 2 tied for second, shooting an opening-round 71 and trailing Cedar Falls’ Owen Sawyer by one and tied with Waukee’s Tanner Dinnebier. He also had to overcome a charge from Nelson, who shot 4-under 31 on the first nine. Hall remained steady, getting a birdie on the par-5 15th and hitting the turn at 1-under. He added birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 as well.
The title was won with his management and perseverance late in the round. Hall found himself in the bunkers on Nos. 8 and 9 and limited the damage to bogeys to close the round. Things could have come unraveled but he stayed composed. He said he knew if he avoided big numbers that he would win.
“My short game was the best part,” Hall said. “I didn’t have a three-putt the whole day. I got up-and-down a numerous amount of times and scrambled really well the last two days.”
Kennedy junior Reid Hall walks down the 13th fairway to his ball during the IHSAA 4A State Golf Championship at Elmcrest Country Club Saturday, October 8, 2022. (Amir Prellberg/Freelance)
Kennedy Coach Mike Green echoed Hall’s sentiment. He said Hall delivered every time he needed to make a putt.
“He did an unbelievable job getting up-and-down,” Green said. “That kept the round going.”
Hall learned a lesson from a poor finish at this course when he squandered a late lead at the Rotary Pribyl. He was motivated to make amends.
“I had to make a comeback out here,” Hall said. “I’m definitely comfortable out here, playing it so many times.”
Hall and Nelson were part of the same group. They traded shots back and forth. The competition helped get the best out of both.
“He’s a great player,” Hall said of Nelson. “As a freshman, he’s insane. I think we tied seven or eight holes in a row. He’s definitely awesome.”
Hall joins his great uncle, Mike, who won a state title for Cedar Rapids Washington in 1992. He also improved Kennedy’s past runner-up performances of Mark Hanson (1991), Dane Worley (2010) and Brock Barnhart (2016).
“It’s a special thing for Reid,” Green said. “We talked about being patient. He played well. He was patient and understood pars have good scores.”
Cedar Rapids Xavier fared much better on Day 2. The Saints shot 308 for the second round, giving them a 622 total and sixth-place finish. It was the program’s best 4A state showing in eight appearances that date back to 2012.
Xavier sophomore Grant Allen led the way with 152, carding 74 and tying for 14th in the overall standings. Garrett Nurre shot 76 and tied for 17th with 153.
“This is the best team I’ve ever had and they just validated their season,” said Xavier Coach Tim O’Brien, who surpassed 1,000 victories. “The boys stepped up and gave it their all. They are a super fun group to coach.”
Western Dubuque made its first state appearance in nine seasons under head coach Ben Wilson. The Bobcats finished 11th with a 661. Western Dubuque’s lineup included just one senior, providing an experienced nucleus for next season.