Boys golf: Area golfers tee it up at Mohawk Invite

Apr. 29—LAKE RATHBUN — They literally came from all over the state to play in Moravia's home boys golf tournament on Thursday.

From East Union and Mount Ayr to Mount Pleasant and Fairfield. From Williamsburg and Washington to Centerville, Davis County and Van Buren County.

All told, 22 teams made the trip to Appanoose County to play in the Mohawk Invitational with over 100 athletes teeing it up on The Preserve Course at Lake Rathbun. The competition proved to be fierce with three teams ultimately finishing with six shots of the championship when the day came to a close.

Paced by the play of brothers Roman and Rajan Roth, Washington was able to finish as the only team to break 300 in the tournament. The Demons needed to save almost every shot possible to secure the title with a round of 298, beating Oskaloosa by a mere two strokes when all the scores had been totaled.

"It was good for our guys to see that type of competition and give them a chance to see where they could score, especially against bigger schools," Moravia head golf coach Shaye Brewer said. "It shows what it can be like as a Mohawk alumni and see what it could lead to in the years to come."

The Roth brothers both brought back individual medals, placing in the top five. Rajan Rath matched Clarke senior Shay Mathews, who was bidding to win medalist honors at The Preserve for the second time in three days, with a score of 71 finishing second overall to Knoxville senior Evan Smith who posted the top individual score on the Lake Rathbun Resort course for the third time in less than 12 months posting a round of 67 on Thursday.

Roman Rath, meanwhile, finished in a three-way tie for fourth place after shooting an even-par score of 72. Also finishing fourth with a 72 was Johnathon Terpstra, who ultimately edged Williamsburg senior Bryce Yearian on a card-off to earn the fifth-place medal in the tournament leading the Indians to a round of 300, edging Knoxville by four shots.

"It just shows that everyone was competing hard out there. It was a little windy, but that helped on most of the holes," Terpstra said. "We came in trying to have fun. We had one of our best scores of the season earlier in the week at Edmundson (a 319 at the Oskaloosa Invitational). We came out here and got contributions from all of our golfers."

Oskaloosa topped five of the seven teams they will be hosting at Edmundson Golf Course on May 8 in the Class 3A, Sectional 6 tournament. The Indians are hoping to build off their lowest round of the year as attempt to make a run at earning an elusive state berth.

"We've always wanted to make it to state. We just haven't all been shooting well as a team," Terpstra said. "This was the first time in my whole career where everyone clicked and shot well at the same time. It proves that we can do it. We just have to do it both at sectionals and districts."

Like Oskaloosa, Albia hoping to make their own run at advancing in the Class 3A postseason next week when the Blue Demons compete along with Washington at the Sectional 5 tournament on May 8 at the Mount Pleasant Golf and Country Club. The Blue Demons followed up a winning effort at The Preserve two days earlier at Centerville's Big Red Invitational by improving on that winning score by three strokes, posting a 323 on Thursday finishing eighth in the 22-team Mohawk Invitational.

"If you look at that score, compared to the teams we'd be facing in sectionals, we'd have finished second and would be advancing," Albia head boys golf coach Marty Hermsen said. "We're pretty fortunate we got the draw that we got. The goal is to advance and give ourselves a chance to play for a state berth at the district tournament in Williamsburg."

Cael Schofield followed up a round of 79 at the Big Red Invitational with a round of 77 on Thursday at The Preserve, leading the Blue Demons for the second straight tournament. Connor Fisher also improved on Thursday from a round of 80 in Centerville's tournament with a round of 79 in the Mohawk Invite.

"Cael missed a lot of fairways on his tee shots, but he did really well on the holes on which he hit the fairways," Hermsen said. "He's putting the ball extremely well. Conner was really stripping the ball with his driver, but he's not scoring the ball as well as he should. Those are things we can work on as we go forward."

Davis County also posted a top-10 finish at the Mohawk Invitational, making a 14-stroke improvement from a 349 at the Centerville tournament with a 335 on Thursday to finish 10th in the team's third 18-hole tournament in a three-day stretch. All five Mustang golfers finished with scores below 90 led by a round of 82 by Tucker Bish while Jackson Grim, coming off an 85 two days earlier at The Preserve, matched teammate Hayden Utt with a round of 83.

"Considering the teams we were competing with, will take 10th place," Davis County head boys golf coach Mike Bunnell said. "The boys love to get out and compete. Our guys are really close. We're very competitive, but we also rib each other. The boys seem motivate each other any time there out there on the course and see one of their buddies making a birdie. It makes them want to get a birdie of their own."

Fairfield edged Centerville by a single stroke with a round of 343, paced by an 81 from Sam Weaton along with matching rounds of 87 from Landon Nodurft and Archer Kreuter. Centerville matched their score of 344 in their home tournament at The Preserve two days earlier with an identical 344 on Thursday led by John White's round of 83, edging Big Red teammate Brandon Shinn by a single stroke and Micheal Starr by two shots.

Van Buren County posted a team score of 356, led by a round of 83 by Aiden McEntee. Moravia finished with a team score of 359, led by a round of 82 from Logan Smith.

"The Preserve has been an advantage for us. It's a PGA-designated course. They hold PGA tournaments out here throughout the summer," Brewer said. "When we got to smaller course, it shows the boys what they can do. If they shoot in the 80s out here, they know they can shoot even better on a nine-hole course."

The Preserve will be a host for 1A postseason meets for both boys and girls later this month. The Mohawk boys host the Class 1A, Sectional 6 tournament on May 8 one week before the course plays host to a Class 1A regional tournament to decide berths in the 1A Girls State Golf Tournament.

"I'm hoping the boys can move on to districts. I know they're capable of that," Brewer said. "It can also be a motivation for our girls to try and qualify for that regional tournament on May 15. I think it's a good thing for those tournaments to be held out here. It gives each small school a real challenge to see if they can play well enough to make it to state."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.