Muscatine junior golfer James Solt called Wednesday's Cedar Rapids Washington Invitational a "mini-state meet." Head coach Scott Schultz was thrilled that the Muskies had the opportunity to play against 10 of the top 12 ranked teams in Class 4A at the 18-team invitational at TPC Deere Run.
However, the Muskies learned they still have a lot of work to do.
Muscatine placed 17th out of 18 teams with a team score of 384, 77 strokes behind first-place Waukee. Pleasant Valley placed second with a 315.
"These kids, they definitely go, 'wow, this is how teams are successful,'" Schultz said of the Muskies. "When we can't even get somebody in the 80s... we have a lot of work to do.
"It's definitely eye-opening."
Solt and fellow junior Brigg Burback led the Muskies by each shooting a 94, respectively. Grant Valiant shot a 97 and Dylan Bishop shot a 99 to round out Muscatine's top four.
"It was just a struggle on almost all fronts," Solt said. "It just didn't go well."
Waukee's Griffin Parker and Cedar Rapids Prairie's Ian Johnston each shot a 69, respectively, but Parker won on a cardback.
None of the Muskies were in contention, but Burback felt he could have shot a much lower score Wednesday afternoon.
"I couldn't put anything together," Burback said. "I really feel like I could have been in the 80s."
Of course, on top of facing a loaded field, the young Muskies also had to overcome the fact that they were golfing at Deere Run, host of the John Deere Classic where many professional golfers have played.
"It's Deere Run, no matter how much you mentally prepare... Coach Schultz was saying it's just another golf course," Burback said. "But in the back of your mind you know you're playing where a lot of really good golfers have played.
"It's just kind of intimidating mentally."
Like most of the season, Schultz felt the Muskies didn't execute the simple things. Approach shots were once again an issue, as was decision making at different points of the day.
"It's definitely motivation," Solt said. "It's a kick in the butt to tell us we need to get it in gear."