Girls golf: Redettes edge Clarke for SCC championship

May 9—OSKALOOSA — It's a common message for anyone that teaches the sport of golf.

Every shot matters.

Those words rang as true as ever on Tuesday at the South Central Conference girls golf tournament. At the turn, five teams found themselves within six strokes of the lead with Centerville and Clarke deadlocked with matching scores of 201 heading to the back nine.

When all the scores were totaled up, the final margin in determining the SCC title was as small as it could be. Clarke's score totaled 396, a total that would have been good enough to beat every team in the conference.

Not Centerville, however. The Redettes produced a team score of 395, edging the Indians by a single shot bringing home the program's eighth conference title in the past 11 years.

Truly, on Tuesday, every shot mattered.

"That's what we preach about," Centerville head girls golf coach Matt Kovacevich said. "Sometimes, golf is not the most rewarding sport. You just have to keep going and you have to keep grinding. You just never know how the course is playing for everybody else and how the other girls are playing. You just have to keep plugging along, try to make as many pars as you can and let the scores fall where they may."

Matty Kovacevich and Gracie Zapitul each earned all-conference medals by placing among the top 10 individuals in the SCC tournament. Zapitul was the first Redette golfer to reach the clubhouse after posting a round of 94, finishing seventh overall despite showing visable frustration with a pair of shots on the closing 18th hole.

"I was pleased with the round to a certain extent, but I wanted to do better," Zapitul said. "Those second and third shots got me all around, but you still have to finish it out. I was great off the tee box and I did well around the greens. I couldn't let some of those bad shots define my entire round."

Zapitul and the rest of her Redette teammates were able to hang in with Clarke and Knoxville, led by SCC individual champion Faith Rozenboom, giving pursuit in the hotly-contested race for the conference team title. Kovacevich led Centerville, finishing fourth overall in the SCC tournament with a round of 91 including what proved to be a huge birdie on the 16th hole, giving the Redettes their working one-stroke margin with just two holes left in the round.

"I battled and battled to finish strong. My drive was pretty straight and my chip wound up within four feet of the hole," Kovacevich said. "In my head, I kept thinking about how every shot matters. You never want to make one shot bigger than any other, but that was one where I wanted to make sure I lined up my ball and made sure I made that putt.

"It was difficult. There was definitely a slope to it, but I was able to sneak it in."

Knoxville ultimately finished third as a team with a score of 400 despite Roozenboom's winning total of 83 and a runner-up finish by Panther teammate by Caelie Smith with a score of 89. Davis County finished just 10 strokes behind the Redettes with a team score of 405, making the turn just one shot behind Clarke and Centerville, with all-conference honors going to Jayden Koenig after finishing fifth with a score of 91 including an opening nine of 43.

"My goal was to try and par as many holes as I could. I got four in a row, so that helped me get off to a good start," Koenig said. "I knew I was up there with one of the top scores on the day. It's kind of a surprise that I ended up earning all-conference honors, but I'm really proud of myself for accomplishing it. I'm glad I could come through for my team."

Albia finished fifth with a score of 414. Emma Kipfer and Brianna Wolfer each earned all-conference honors for the Lady Dees as Kipfer posted a 93, finishing sixth, while Wolfer brought in a round of 96 to place eighth.

"My first nine was good. My second nine, it just seemed like I was continuing to mess up," Kipfer said. "I knew I had a chance to compete for the conference title. My drives just went right the entire time. I need to work at fixing that.

"I was hoping I could compete. I put in a lot of work over the weekend to get ready for this tournament," Wolfer added. "As the year has gone on, I've been seeing my score get lower. I didn't quite get my lowest score (94), but I know there are a couple of holes where I left some shots out there. It's just a matter of concentrating on each shot to fix those mistakes."

Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont finished seventh in the conference tournament with a score of 480. Ella Stevens led the Rockets with a round of 104.

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