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, A, 77-72 —149; 2, Jack Loberg, S, 73-77 — 150; 3, Glen Linder, EP, 76-76 — 152; 4, (tie) Chapin Pederssen, B, 79-75 — 154; 4, (tie) Stephen Drgastin, S, 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.
At Eagle Point, Lindsay Neussl of Eagle Point played consistent golf and was the top local player during the Class 5A two-day District 5 tournament to determine state qualifiers at Eagle Point Golf Course.
Neussl shot rounds of 92 and 91 for a 191 total. Teammates Taylor Hines and Sariah Beal tied at 225. Hines' 103 on Friday was her low score of the year.
Carly Walker posted a 36-hole total of 215 to lead Ashland.
Summit of Bend had the medalist and placed four girls in the low five to win the tournament with a 665 total. Bend was second (719) and Eagle Point was third (883).
The top two schools and lowest five players secure at spot in the state golf championships May 13-14 at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.
TEAM SCORES — Summit 665, Bend 719, Eagle Point 883, Ashland 939. Mountain View and Redmond incomplete.
TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS — Madison Odiorne, Summit, 77-77—154; Heidi Froelich, Bend, 79-79—158; Megan Mitchell, Summit, 87-83—170; Sarah Heinly, Summit, 90-81—171; Madi Mansberger, Summit 90-81—171.
EAGLE POINT (883) — Lindsay Neussl 92-91—191, Taylor Hines 122-103—225, Sariah Beal 115-110—225, Loresa Mayfield 127-115—242.
ASHLAND (939) — Carly Walker 104-111—215, Jordan Schweizer 123-112—235, Marie Stallman 138-112—250, Maya Timmons 122-117—239.