By SCOTT JACKSON Courier sports writer
---- — LAKE RATHBUN — As he rolled in a short birdie putt on the 18th hole Friday at The Perserve to close out a four-under par 68 and a seven-shot victory over the rest of the field in the race for Class 3A district meet medalist, visions of a victory lap weren’t racing through Centerville sophomore Alex Moorman’s head.
What was racing through his mind was the short putt he had just missed moments earlier for eagle. And the short putt earlier in the round for a birdie. In fact, there were several short shots that drove Moorman straight to the practice green after getting the defense of his individual state title off to a winning start.
“I missed a 3-foot putt on 14 for birdie and missed another three-footer for birdie on 17,” Moorman said. “If I could have made those, I would have shot a 65. I’m going to have improve on my putting and, hopefully, I can win another one this year.”
“It’s because he works that hard that he’s usually seven shots ahead of the field,” Centerville head coach Mike Carney added.
Defending his own state title also wasn’t what pleased Moorman the most about the opening day of postseason golf for Class 1A, 2A and 3A teams around the state. It was, instead, the 302 score posted by entire Centerville Big Reds that gave Moorman’s team a district title Friday by 10 shots over Fairfield, moving both teams one step closer to the Class 3A state boys golf tournament in Ames.
“I really wanted to make that last putt for myself, but also for our team score,” Moorman said. “I think a 68’s a good score. I think it’s going to be good enough to help us move on as a team.”
“Alex went all the way last year. He knows what it’s all about, but we fell one shot short of even making it (as a team) last year,” Carney added. “I think that’s been a goal for the kids from the get-go all this season.”
The Big Reds have shown the ability to be a very balanced team with different players leading the team at different tournaments. While Moorman was back in his familiar place atop the leaderboard, where he stood last year as a freshman at the 3A state tournament, it took rounds like a runner-up 75 score from Blake Dabney to help the Big Reds hold off Fairfield for the team title.
Senior Logan Dabney also added a 78, giving Centerville three players in the top 10.
“If we’re going to take it all the way this year, everyone’s going to have to do their part,” Carney said. “Alex is the main cog, but everyone’s got to pull their weight if we want to get to Ames.”
Moorman talked about the depth of the Big Reds, which has helped lead to a very successful overall year for Centerville as a team. Helping get his teammates to state has been what has fueled the defending state champion sophomore much more then anything this season.
“Logan’s been playing great this season. He might be averaging better than me this year. Blake shooting a 75 in the conditions we were (Friday) is also pretty incredible,” Moorman said. “I wanted the team to get there last year and I feel like I could have done more to get us there. I’ll do whatever it takes to help us get there as a team this season.”
Fairfield, who has made several recent trips to state as a team, beat out Southeast Conference rival Mount Pleasant by seven shots for the second berth to next week’s district final in Williamsburg. The Trojans and Panthers battled beyond regulation with their top two golfers, Matt Carr and Jordan Phamsouvandara, playing an extra playoff hole to decide third place after both qualified individually with rounds of 76.
Carr won the playoff with a par on first hole to cap the day for Fairfield.
“It felt alright, but what was most important is that team moved on,” Carr said after winning the individual playoff. “We’re going to need at least three scores in the 70s next week to advance.”
“Four teams will be there, but our guys are playing very well coming off winning the conference title and playing well here,” Fairfield head coach Mick Flattery added. “This was a very tough course at the start with misty rain and cold conditions, but our kids have played in this all season long. It didn’t shock me, though, that our kids stepped up and played this well under those circumstances.”
Fairfield Maharishi will be represented in the Class 1A district tournament hosted by Lone Tree at Iowa City’s Pleasant Valley Golf Course by junior Mickey DeAngelis, who finished fourth Friday at New London with a round of 89. Also in 1A, Moravia sophomore Levi Hawk advanced individually to next week’s district final in Anita after finishing third at Lamoni with a round of 89.
Class 3A District Meet
At The Perserve Course on Lake Rathbun
(*-won on first hole of playoff)
Team scoring (top two advance to district finals) — 1. Centerville 302, 2. Fairfield 312, 3. Mount Pleasant 319, 4. Oskaloosa 331, 5. Keokuk 344, 6. Albia 353, 7. Fort Madison 359, 8. Chariton 372.
Medalist — Alex Moorman (Centerville) 68.
Runner-up — Blake Dabney (CV) 75.
District Qualifiers — *-Matt Carr (Fairfield) 76, Jordan Phamsouvandara (Mount Pleasant) 76.
Albia individuals — Drew Schofield 85, Griffin Osing 87, Joey Sinnott 88, Cy Heffron 93, Bryce Leshen 93, Tyler Maddison 98.
Centerville individuals — Moorman 68, B. Dabney 75, Logan Dabney 78, Quentin Fowler 81, Tanner Cowan 83, Jacob Hargrove 88.
Chariton individuals — Daric Laing 87, T.J. Hockenson 93, Sean Sullenger 95, Alex Wright 97, Dusty Hardin 112, Alex Brennan 114.
Fairfield individuals — Carr 76, Landon Gamrath 77, Nick Higgins 79, Joe Hietphas 80, Alex Shier 81, Gabe Hall 84.
Oskaloosa individuals — Clay Tucker 79, Bailey Barnhart 79, Tanner Lanphier 85, Ethan Farner 85, Andrew Shaffer 88, Andrew Brouwer 90.