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As of two weeks ago, Wilton's Tyler Hartman had never broken 80 during competition in his high school career.

Even so, Wilton boys golf coach Nick Dohrmann has seen Hartman's scores gradually drop as his career ages and knew it was just a matter of time before his senior broke through. Fortunately for the Beavers, that's exactly what happened last week.

Hartman shot a career-best 77 at last Friday's Class 2A sectional at Wahkonsa Golf Course to lead Wilton to the sectional title, and he was also the meet medalist.

"The wind was at our back so what really helped was having good drives down the fairway," Hartman said. "Most of the time it's pretty sloppy so that helped, and so did my putting. I only had 13 puts on the front nine."

It became apparent early in the day that the Beavers were no longer hoping for Hartman to break through. They needed him to break through, as No. 1 golfer Jared Townsend carded an 83, six strokes worse than he shot at the River Valley Conference Tournament earlier in the week.

"I was 2 under after six and our No. 1 golfer (Townsend) was struggling," Hartman said. "He told me he needed me to keep it up and stay focused, and it's hard to stay focused when you're 2 under. I wasn't getting off track trying to make ridiculous shots instead of trying to play my game."

Dohrmann said Hartman has always had this in him because of his steady personality. However, it's not a surprise to the coach it took almost the entire season to reach that point. Dohrmann said the beginning of the season is almost always used for "getting a lot of rust off." That was exasperated with the rain, snow and cold weather that extended well into April.

But that's not to say Hartman didn't put in plenty of work in the offseason.

"He put in extra time outside the season," Dohrmann said. "He played golf, he didn't just forget about it. What I've seen out of the golfers that come in and put the work in is they improve their scores. How much depends on the individual."

In this case, Hartman's comfort level has also played a major factor. He's a multi-sport athlete, and most notably, he's a member of the Wilton baseball team. Hartman shot an 89 a year ago at sectionals, and he said it was "kind of rough" because he was splitting time between baseball and golf. As a result, his confidence "just wasn't very good" entering districts.

That's not the case this time around.

"This year I've kind of set off baseball," Hartman said. "I only hit when I have a down period and golf and right after I hit baseballs I come out to the range and I sit out here all night working."

Certainly, Hartman has a clear goal he's working toward.

Wilton became the first golf team to make it state in its school system when it won districts last season, and he and the Beavers would love nothing more than a return trip. Wilton will have that chance Friday at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Wapello.

"We want to get out again," Hartman said. "Last year we were predicted seventh place and made top two. This year we have the third best score going in, but we're predicted a little lower than that. … Whatever happens throughout the day happens."

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Sports Reporter

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