Girls golf: Bulldogs second; Centerville third at Mohawk Invitational

Apr. 22—RATHBUN LAKE — Only four golfers were able to make around The Preserve Course on Rathbun Lake Friday in less than 100 strokes.

When scoring is that tough, a round like a 76 truly stands out. Ultimately, it proved to be the difference in determining which team walked away on Friday with the trophy from the Moravia Mohawk Invitational.

Jaylee Shaffer's first trip around the daunting 6,606-yard golf course in northern Appanoose County resulted in an individual title for the Mount Ayr freshman. The round of 76 stood out even more once the team scores were tabulated as the Raiders edged Ottumwa by nine strokes and Centerville by 13 to claim the team's first 18-hole tournament title of the season.

"My front nine was definitely better than the back nine. I shot three-under on the front nine, so that helped a lot," Shaffer said. "I was hitting a lot of greens. I hit the ball a lot better on the front nine. I had no idea just how impressive that score would end up being."

So impressive that all Shaffer's closest challengers could do was tip their hats to a truly impressive round played in windy, cold conditions on a challenging course under ideal circumstances.

"That's insane. I'm very impressed by her," Centerville sophomore Matty Kovacevich said of Shaffer after finishing as the tournament's runner-up with a round of 89. "I did pretty good on my front nine, but I also had a pair of 7s. I wanted to stay away from those as much as I could. Getting the pars that I did really helped my confidence and helped with my score. The wind was battle, but I just tried to push through it."

If not for Shaffer's 76, the Ottumwa girls golf team may very well have brought home their second team title of the season. One day removed from a third-place finish at the Oskaloosa Invitational and two days removed from hosting a nine-hole quadrangular, the Bulldogs closed out their third straight day of competition with a round of 412 for a runner-up finish on Friday.

"That 33 that (Shaffer) shot on the front, if you were ever going to be disappointed with a round of 76, she probably was," Ottumwa head girls golf coach Ryan Morgan said. "Hats off to her. We played well for our third meet in three days. We're about three shots around where I thought we'd be, but it's hard to overcome a round like that."

One day after posting a career-low 89 on Thursday at Oskaloosa, Makayla Brown nearly lowered that score on Friday at The Preserve. The Ottumwa junior finished third in the tournament with a round of 90, finishing just one shot behind Kovacevich for second place.

"I had a seven, an eight and a nine, so that could have been better. I finished with a four-putt on one of the last holes, so that wasn't the best," Brown said. "It was a wet course at the start and there was lots of wind on the back nine. Considering those conditions, to come back and shoot 90 after breaking 90 for the first time one day earlier, I'm pretty pleased with that."

Emma Kipfer, however, was not pleased to be one of the four golfers to break 100 on Friday. Coming off a top-five finish one day earlier for Albia at the Oskaloosa Invitational with a round of 88, Kipfer earned the fourth-place medal at The Preserve with a round of 96.

"I put it on myself. I just don't feel like I did very good," Kipfer said. "My putting was horrible. It's tough to play back-to-back 18-hole tournaments on these two courses under tough conditions both days. My calves are exhausted. I had to think a lot about the wind and where my clubs were going to wind up at before I hit each ball."

The round of 96 by Kipfer led Albia to a fifth-place finish with a team score of 434, falling just five strokes short of Pleasantville for fourth place. Moravia senior Reagan Dowdy was able to keep some of the Mohawk Invitational hardware at home, edging Ottumwa senior Olivia Tippie on a card-off for the fifth and final individual medal award in the tournament after both golfers posted rounds of 102.

"Walking in here, I knew I didn't want to shoot 103, so I kind of set that goal for myself," Dowdy said. "It was just a matter of keeping the focus and reminding myself to keep going. I needed to just focus on doing better each with each hole. It was nice to bring home a place for Moravia."

Davis County finished just four shots behind Albia in sixth place with a team score of 438. Elexis Perry finished one stroke shy of posting another top-10 finish for the Mustangs, bringing in a 105 to come home in 11th place one stroke behind Mount Ayr junior Olivia Huntington.

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