OTTAWA — Ottawa boys golf coach Dave Wultzen described his team and No. 1 golfer Dane Lehr as “being in a funk” lately.
That started to change Monday.
Lehr shot a 9-over-par 79 at Pine Hills Golf Course to place fourth individually and lead the Pirates to a second-place team finish at the Ottawa Invitational.
“We’ve been in a little funk the last week and a half or so,” Wultzen said. “I saw a lot of improvement with our scores, but now we’re on the downward slide. We’re heading toward regional time and we know our scores have to get better.
“Taking second place, I’m very happy with that, but the main thing is we just want to keep improving and do the best we can as the year finishes out.”
The Pirates finished with 333 strokes to finish behind Minooka, which won with a 316 behind the top three individual scores — Kyle Sheppard (76), Jason Chobar (78) and Ryan Johnson (79).
La Salle-Peru finished fifth among the nine teams with a 352.
“Coming in, we knew Minooka was a good team,” Lehr said. “I don’t know if we knew they were going to pull that out. As a team, we could have done better, but they earned it with those scores.
“As a team, this score is one of our better ones. It can get a lot better. We have guys who can come through, but overall for our team this year, that’s pretty decent.”
Lehr led the way for the Pirates as he shot a 40 on the front nine and a 39 on the back nine.
“For it being my home course, I wasn’t completely thrilled with it, but it was an up and down day and overall for hitting it how I did, I’m OK with the score,” Lehr said. “It was an alright day.”
Lehr’s score was tied for the third best of the day but he lost a scorecard playoff to finish fourth.
“I’m OK with it,” Lehr said. “Obviously, you always want to try to go for first, but a 76 today in the wind was a good score. He earned it. I just didn’t play good enough today.”
Rounding out the scores for Ottawa were Blake Johnson with an 84 and Carter Piercy and Ben Calkins each with an 85.
Tommy Somolski led L-P with a season-best 85. Also scoring for the Cavaliers were Kyle Hanck (87), Jack Derango (87) and John Pohar (93).
“For us to have three out of our four in the 80s is really good,” said L-P assistant Alex Arbogast, who was with the varsity as head coach Randy Gunia handled the freshman/sophomore team Monday. “We were happy to have (five of) the kids shoot below their average.
“In general, I thought our ball striking was solid today. The guys were talking about how fast the greens were, and they had some putting woes.”
The Cavs tied Indian Creek, but earned fifth place because Alex Somolski’s 94 was better than Indian Creek’s fifth score.
“That’s middle of the pack, but it’s a young team,” Arbogast said. “We have some underclassmen playing on the varsity. We’re happy to be where we are.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.