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Raiders pace MAAA golf, Claywell earns medalist

Raiders pace MAAA golf, Claywell earns medalist

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TERRE DU LAC – Wil Claywell grimaced when his 10-foot uphill par putt stopped just a couple of inches short of the 18th hole on Monday afternoon at Terre Du Lac Country Club.

A resulting bogey temporarily cost the North County senior an outright victory, dropping him into a tie with Farmington senior Alden Klug, who played amid an adjacent group.

Once the future Mineral Area College teammates agreed to a playoff, Claywell regrouped and executed brilliantly to become MAAA Tournament medalist.

Claywell sank a 5-foot putt for birdie at No. 1, and helped propel the Raiders to a team championship as their composite score of 323 edged Farmington by seven strokes at 330.

“It’s a tight course, and you have to be straight off the tee. I was not very good off the tee today, so the best part of my game was probably my irons and wedges,” said Claywell, who is also a reigning district champion. “I was able to hit some good shots and put it close. That helped out a lot.”

Braden Swift finished third individually at 81, and Will Dugal tied for sixth at 84 for North County, which had its full roster available after dropping a conference match to the rival Knights short-handed last week.

The top eight individuals were deemed all-conference with former champion Jonah Burgess (82) and junior J.P. Ruble (84) joining Klug in that group for Farmington.

Ste. Genevieve senior Landon Rose moved up the top 10 with a three-under par back nine, and shared fourth place with 82. He closed with an excellent approach and short birdie putt that dropped at the 18th.

Central senior Adele Sherrill carded an 85 to collect her second all-MAAA distinction against the boys on the same course where she placed seventh two years ago.

Although the ground was soft from rain the previous evening, other weather conditions were ideal for the eight teams in attendance.

The individual chase materialized into a two-man race in the final hour as Claywell and Klug outpaced the remaining field by four shots overall.

Klug reduced a two-shot deficit at the par-5 17th after chipping his third shot to within about six feet. His subsequent read was accurate on a downhill birdie putt with a slight right turn.

Both playoff competitors were in solid position off the tee. Claywell found the middle of the fairway, while Klug was safe atop a small hill down the left side.

Their second shots landed on the green with Claywell a few feet nearer to the pin. Klug slid his longer birdie attempt, leaving Claywell a chance to close the deal with a small crowd of competitors, coaches and parents looking on.

“That was absolutely awesome. I’ve never seen or been part of a playoff hole before, so that was really cool to have everyone following us,” Claywell said. “It was just a good experience.”

Klug notched both of his birdies on par 5s, and was two-over par as the leader at the turn. A double bogey at No. 10 briefly quelled his momentum.

Rose led the tournament field with three birdies while clawing back nicely from an opening triple bogey. He helped Ste. Genevieve take third among teams at 351 with Potosi a distant fourth at 391.

Burgess, who torched the 2019 event for an even 72 and a six-shot victory before COVID-19 canceled last season, sought consistency despite back-to-back tremendous approach shots.

He holed in a par chip from about 30 yards at the 14th after leaving his tee drive short, then drilled the flagstick from more than 100 yards away at No. 15 ahead of settling for bogey.

Moments before Klug converted his birdie at No. 17, Bryce Barley of Ste. Genevieve chipped over the front slope and rolled in for an impressive par.

Luke Basler shot 86 for the Dragons while Bracey Blanton of Farmington and Bryan Basinger of North County scored 87 to complete the top 10.

Basinger and Dugal immediately departed upon finishing their rounds to join their baseball teammates for a first-round conference tournament game.

Fredericktown was paced by Grant Ebert with 91, and Dylan Wigger topped the Potosi crew at 96.

Team Scores: 1. North County 323; 2. Farmington 330; 3. Ste. Genevieve 351; 4. Potosi 391; 5. Fredericktown 407; 6. Central 409; 7. West County 483; 8. Arcadia Valley 500

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