Sydney Eaton

Mason City senior Sydney Eaton chips on to the 18th green during Monday's CIML-Iowa Division tournament at the Mason City Country Club.

BLAKE SCHULTZ, The Globe Gazette

MASON CITY — The Mason City girls golf team knew it was close to a breakthrough this year.

The Mohawks finally got things to go their way on Monday at the CIML-Iowa Division tournament at the Mason City Country Club. Mason City shot its best score of the year en route to a satisfying conference title.

“I’m so proud of the girls,” Mason City senior Sydney Eaton said. “We’ve wanted to win a big tournament like this for a long time and we’ve really been working, especially this year. The girls want it more than any other year, I feel like, and they’re putting all their effort in, so getting a conference title is really exciting for us.”

The Mohawks, who shot 350 to win the tournament, cleared Johnston by 12 strokes.

Eaton just missed out on her second conference title as she fell to Dowling Catholic’s Anne Gradoville in a one-hole playoff after both carded matching 78s through 18 holes.

Gradoville ripped her drive right down the center while Eaton went left on No. 1 and was forced to chip under the trees and eventually wound up with bogey while Gradoville tapped in for par the win the playoff.

Eaton called the round a “teaching day” for the remainder of the postseason.

“I know I need to spend a lot of time on the greens so I’m going to have to get some practice in between now and regionals, and hopefully during regionals I can have some better course management and get out there and do that a little bit better,” she said.

After Eaton’s 78 (41-37), the rest of the team put their best foot forward.

Mason City had all four of its scoring golfers finish in the top 13, led by Thea Lunning and her round of 82 (40-42), which placed her fourth individually.

Ashley Alert added a 90 (44-46) to place seventh and Kenzie Dettman fired 100 (50-50) to take 13th.

“It’s going to be tough because we’re going to lose so many good seniors, but Thea has picked it up and I’m looking forward to her leadership moving forward. Finishing strong this year is huge,” Mason City coach Matt Evans said. “No. 1, 2 and 3 have really been solid for us all year long so it’s really that fourth score that makes or breaks us.”

Johnston finished second with a 362 while Marshalltown was third with a 375.

Mason City has a pair of duals at Charles City (Tuesday) and Fort Dodge (Thursday) before next Monday’s Class 5A regional meet at Waterloo.

For the Mohawks, who have aspirations of bringing its whole team to the state tournament, Monday was a good start.

“I think it proves that even in a big tournament under pressure we can really put good rounds out, and that gives us confidence going into regionals thinking if we can put these good numbers out maybe we can (next) Monday,” Eaton said.

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