By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Few golfers would consider cool and windy conditions a perfect day to play golf.
Some golfers wouldn’t even bring out their clubs on a cool and windy day.
Those conditions seem to bring out the best in Kyle Spence.
So when the West High sophomore saw the weather forecast for last Thursday’s final Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Divisional meet calling for windy conditions he got a little boost of confidence.
Spence showed by he was so confident, firing a six-over-par 78 to earn individual medalist honors at the final regular season meet of the season for the Trojans at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.
“I always feel confident going into meets but certainly with all the factors I had a feeling about that day in general,” Spence said. “We were on our home course and I was very familiar with the conditions as far as the cool weather and the wind so I was definitely confident going in.”
Spence had a reason to be confident.
He had plenty of experience playing in difficult conditions after living in Northern Ireland for a year where he played golf on a nearly daily basis.
“I played golf in Northern Ireland for a year because my parents are from there so playing along the coast line there really helped give me lots of experience with that,” Spence said. “Knowing how to flight the ball differently and keep it out of the wind really was helpful on days like that.”
Spence put that experience to good use at the MVC Divisional meet.
The sophomore opened play last Thursday in a tie for 11th place in the overall MVC standings that uses the combined scores from the MVC Super Meet and two divisional meets.
Spence shot an 82 at the Super Meet and an 81 at the first divisional meet.
On Thursday he turned in the low round of the day despite conditions that kept only two golfers from breaking 80.
“My mindset was all positive because it was a windy day and watching even the guys out on tour they get flustered by high winds,” Spence said. “The golf course was playing super tight so I figured because of the home course advantage if I hit the ball well and kept it out of the wind then I’d have a good chance to catch some of the other guys and it turns out that’s what happened.”
The 78 by Spence on Thursday helped him pass six golfers to finish fifth in the overall standings to earn first team all-conference honors.
“He’s confident because he plays all the time,” West High coach Don Bristow said. “He practices in the winter and plays a year. For a sophomore he has a lot of poise.”
Spence opened his round on the 18th hole and was one over par after 10 holes.
His 78 was one stroke better than Brad Karpick of Cedar Rapids Xavier who carded his third consecutive round in the 70’s to earn the overall title.
“It was great that I started on the 18th because I had the first nine at the beginning of my round and we play the front nine quite frequently in practice,” Spence said. “I instantly walked on to a place where I was very comfortable and I hit good shots on before so that certainly played a role.”