Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
EAGLE POINT — With a bogey on 17 and another on 18, Matt Hedges walked off the course dejected, almost certain that he had blown his shot at a district title. Moments later, he was pleased to discover that a pair of sand saves and back-to-back birdies earlier in the day was enough.
Hedges shot an even-par 72 to overcome a four-stroke deficit and claim the District 1 boys golf championship with a one stroke victory over Summit's Jack Loberg on Friday at Eagle Point Golf Club.
The Ashland junior, who shot a 77 in Thursday's opening round for a final two-day total of 149, birdied the par-3 eighth and the par-5 ninth to climb atop the leaderboard, sinking a 10-foot putt to cap a solid 34-stroke front nine.
Hedges thought his bogeys on 17 and 18 cost him a shot at first place, but learned that he was virtually assured of victory when he found the leaderboard.
"It was just a moment that was pretty cool because I could see all my hard work paying off," Hedges said. "I knew going into the tournament that I was one of the favorites, but I didn't want to have my mind set on that. And after the first day I was kind of in a rough position, so I knew I had to play good on the front, and I did so that helped me stay calm and collected on the back nine."
Jack Loberg of Summit entered the day as the leader after shooting a 73 on Thursday, but playing one group ahead of Hedges he shot a 77 Friday to finish second by a stroke (150). Glen Linder of Eagle Point was third with a pair of 76s (152), and Chapin Pederssen of Bend and Stephen Drgastin of Summit tied for fifth (154).
The top two teams and top five placers advance to the Class 5A state meet, set for May 13-14 at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis. Summit won the team title with a combined 610 and Bend was second (635).
Hedges avoided disaster early on, chipping out of a bunker on the par-3 third hole to within three feet of the hole to save par.
"At that moment, I knew I had a chance to get back into this tournament and play well," Hedges said.
He clutched up again on No. 9 after driving his second shot into a green-side bunker. Hedges' ensuing chip ended up two feet from the hole, and he sank the birdie putt.
Hedges stayed aggressive on the back nine, but missed a four-foot birdie putt on 13 and a two-footer on 15 to leave the door open. In the end, his top challengers couldn't capitalize.
Hedges was the only Ashland High golfer who qualified for state.
"I know I still have a lot of work to do, and my goal is to get top five (at state)," Hedges said. "I really think I can do that with two good rounds. I just need to state in the present."
TEAM SCORES — Summit 610, Bend 635, Redmond 647, Ashland 687, Eagle Point 677, Mountain View 730.
TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS — 1, Matt Hedges, Ashland, 77-72 —149; 2, Jack Loberg, Summit, 73-77 — 150; 3, Glen Linder, Eagle Point, 76-76 — 152; 4, (tie) Chapin Pederssen, Bend, 79-75 — 154 and Stephen Drgastin, Summit, 81-73 — 154.
ASHLAND (687) — Matt Hedges 77-72 — 149, Ben Sager 79-91 — 170, Chris Peterson 96-88 — 184, Kyle Breeding 98-86 — 184, Mitchell Harfst 107-105 — 212.
EAGLE POINT (677) — Glen Linder 76-76 — 152, Taylor Scott 88-93 — 181, Ethan Devore 93-90 — 183, Zach Henley 94-79 — 173, Mike Macedo 98-81 — 179.
MCNARY INVITATIONAL — At Sisters, North Medford's Daniel Schuler garnered medalists honors with a two-under par 70 and the Black Tornado finished second in the seven-school field at the Black Butte Resort.
Schuler had five birdies on the round. The Black Tornado junior posted a one-under 35 on each nine.
West Albany won the tournament at 311 and North was five strokes back.
TEAM SCORES — West Albany 311, North Medford 316, Newburg 342, Corvallis 348, McNary 348, North Salem 493, West Salem 608.
NORTH MEDFORD (316) — Daniel Schuler 35-35—70, Taler Klemp 38-43—81, Joey Walker 39-43—82, Brandon Galante 41-42—83, David Parson 42-41—83.