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Newton boys open golf season today

Published: Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 11:10 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 11:39 a.m. CST
(Jocelyn Sheets/Daily News)
Newton’s Cardinals have six golfers returning with varsity experience for the 2014 season. From left, Tyler Thongvanh, Austin Reynolds, Jordan Henning, Devin Shores, Payton Thomas and Derek Damman head to the opening meet Monday at Indianola for the Cardinals. The NHS golf team will have two meets under its belt before other Newton fall sports teams begin their seasons next week. Newton competes at Mason City next Monday.

Getting a head start on all the other fall sports, Newton High’s boys open their 2014 Iowa Class 4A golf season Monday. Volleyball, girls swimming, cross country and football open seasons next week.

The Cardinals are at Indianola for a varsity tournament at Indianola Country Club.

The six golfers competing in the first meet for Newton are returners with varsity experience. Seniors Devin Shores and Tyler Thongvanh, juniors Derek Damman, Jordan Henning and Payton Thomas and sophomore Austin Reynolds talked about what they want to do as a team and individuals going into the season.

“As a team we want to make it through districts and qualify for the state tournament as a team like the (Newton High) girls’ team did this spring,” Thongvanh said. That was the consensus of the Cardinal returners.

Shores, Damman, Reynolds and Henning played on the NHS team which competed in the 2013 Class 4A district tournament. The Cardinals finished seventh and did not advance to the state tournament.

“We want to compete at every meet we go to and I think we’re better as a team going into the season than we were last year,” Shores said. “Most of us going to the first meet have varsity experience, which will help out in the first couple of meets. The guys with less experience can get use to it, get into the flow of things and compete well for us toward the end of the year.”

Shores is the top golfer back for the Cardinals followed by Damman. Reynolds played his way onto the varsity to go to districts last year. Thongvanh, Henning and Thomas saw some varsity action throughout last year’s competitions.

“We’re out to be good role models for the rest of our team and set expectations for them in the future,” Damman said. “I really want us to have fun as a team and be competitive.”

Shores said as an individual player, he wants to lead the team to wins by placing as top indivdiudal at meets, especially Newton’s home meet. Shores said he has spent a lot of time working on his short game “so, I take a lot of pride in that part of my game.”

Damman said he plans to work to place in the top five at every meet and qualify for state. The best part of his game is his drives, Damman said.

“We want to go to state as a team and have other teams say ‘wow, those kids have good (golf) etiquette.’ We want to influence the other teams,” Thomas said. “My goals are to shoot even par and win a tournament, plus I want to influence the players I play with. My putting is the best part of my game.”

Thongvanh said he is working hard to play consistently as a senior.

“I’m going to try to keep my varsity spot the whole year and score for the team consistently,” Thongvanh said. “My short game is the best part of my game.”

Henning and Reynolds were on the NHS squad at the district tournament a year ago. They got a little taste of what it takes to advance to a state tournament.

“I’m hitting my irons really well and I want to keep that up throughout the season,” Henning said. “Score consistently for the team in every meet is my goal.”

“Our team goal is to qualify for state. We want to do a better job at the district tournament than we did last year,” Reynolds said. “The best part of my game is my iron shots. I’ve been working hard on those. I want to win an individual tournament and shoot par throughout the season.”

Setting individual goals, team goals and working hard in practices are ways the six believe they can lead the Cardinals this season.

Contact Sports Editor Jocelyn Sheets at (641) 792-3121 Ext. 6535 or jsheets@newtondailynews.com.

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