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Roncalli defends region title, Overbo wins playoff

Andrew Gerlach, of Aberdeen Roncalli, watches his tee shot on the eighth hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club Monday during the Region 1A Golf Tournament. Gerlach finished third to help lead the Cavaliers to another region championship. Photo by John Davis taken 9/26/2022

Aberdeen Roncalli featured two new leading scorers, but it was still business as usual for the golf squad on Monday.

The Cavaliers won their seventh consecutive Region 1A championship at Moccasin Creek Country Club. Led by a pair of golfers who had season-best performances, Roncalli captured the team title by nine strokes. The squad had four golfers all within three shots of each other.

Andrew Gerlach led the Cavaliers with a third-place finish after shooting a 79. Seventh-grader Harper Schnabel was right behind with an 80, tied for fourth. The team’s normal top-two scorers, Finn Anderson and Sawyer Henrich each tied for ninth with 82s.

“Harper played great for us. Andrew played great for us,” said Roncalli coach Jon Murdy. “I think that was his low round of the year for us. Just perfect timing towards the end of the season.”

The Cavaliers trailed Sioux Valley before playing a solid back nine to surge past the Cossacks.

“I knew that the tough holes were going to be 14, 15, 16, 17 and our team played great though those,” Murdy said. “There was one little hiccup on there, but if you can get away with those holes a couple over par, you’re going to beat a lot of people in the field.”

Nobody on the team played the back nine better than Gerlach, who shot a 37 on those holes on the way to his season low total.

“I feel like I played pretty good on the back nine,” Gerlach said. “I honestly thought it was going to be a few more strokes than 79, but I’m happy with the score.”

He said the key to his round was his ball striking.

“I hit the ball really well all day today,” Gerlach said. “It definitely helped keep my stroke lower, because my putting was not that great.”

The junior noted that he had a rough start to the season, but has improved as the year has progressed.

“I’ve been working really hard in practice these last couple months,” he said. “I’ve been working with coach and just trying to improve my game.”

As a result, the Cavaliers were back in familiar territory Monday as region champs, despite losing last year’s state individual runner-up Mason Carrels to graduation.

“The team has definitely gotten a little bit younger, but the young guys that we’ve got playing like Harper and Finn are really good,” Gerlach said. “Harper plays amazing for a seventh-grader.”

Harper Schnabel, of Aberdeen Roncalli, chips onto the 10th hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club Monday during the Region 1A Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 9/26/2022

Monday’s individual title came down to a playoff between Kyan Overbo of Sioux Valley and Kaden Burshiem of Flandreau after both tied with a 78.

Overbo won the title after sinking a birdie putt on the first playoff hole. The senior drilled about a 20-foot putt that had a little juice behind it.

“The thing is if that doesn’t hit the center of the hole, that thing is zooming by,” Overbo said, “so I was happy I smoked it right in the middle, because I hammered that.”

Overbo had watched Burshiem’s third shot land about the same distance from the hole as his second shot, so he knew he had some margin for error.

“When I saw that he had about the same length as I did, I knew all I had to do was two-putt to win,” Overbo said. “So I thought to myself just kind of ease it up there, easy two-putt. Instead, I just absolutely smoked it.”

Kyan Overbo, of Sioux Valley, watches his tee shot on the fifth hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club Monday during the Region 1A Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 9/26/2022

In the end, Overbo could smile about the shot as he garnered a region title in his senior season.

“It feels sweet,” Overbo said of his championship. “I told my coach earlier when I was getting ready (for the playoff), if you would have told me this three years ago that this was happening, I would have never believed it, so it’s an awesome feeling.”

The state’s top golfers will be at Moccasin Creek Country Club for the Class A State Tournament next Monday and Tuesday.

While Roncalli was able to defend its region crown, the Cavaliers have bigger goals in mind.

“It’s always our expectations to do well whenever it comes to post-season stuff. I always say everything is a build up to get to the state tournament,” Murdy said. “This is still a build up to get to the state tournament. We did well, but it’s not the end goal.”

To see complete region meet results, click on the following link:

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