SPORTS HEADLINES

Decatur takes second at 8-4A tournament, advances to regionals

By Reece Waddell | Published Monday, April 8, 2019.
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Coming into the final day of the District 8-4A tournament Monday, Decatur’s Dayne Chapman knew he had to make up ground. 

After shooting 9-over par in the opening round Friday, the 2018 state qualifier conceded that not much went right during his first 18 holes.

“It was pretty bad,” Chapman said. “Overall, it wasn’t very good. Putting was the worst thing. I bet I had 30 something putts.”

Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt.

Needing to bounce back, Chapman shot 1-over on the front nine in the final round. He ran into trouble on the 12th hole, uncorking a tee shot that sliced into a neighboring creek.

Chapman took a drop and had a chance to save par, but his putt went wide, forcing him to settle for bogey.

That was one of Chapman’s few mishaps, as the junior led Decatur to a second-place finish at Robson Ranch. The Eagles tallied a two-day total of 659, qualifying the 4A Region I tournament.

“That’s our standard,” said Decatur coach Fernando Escobar. “In year’s past, we’ve had a pretty good tradition of getting our teams out. This is the norm for me. This is exactly where I want to be. With such a young group of guys, this is so beneficial. It’s good experience overall for the group of kids we have going [to regionals].”

Chapman finished the day with a 3-over par 75. He carded a two-day total of 158 after an opening round 83, finishing fourth.

“Hitting greens and putting better [was the difference],” Chapman said. “I think I only had two three-puts [Monday].”

Decatur entered Monday 25 strokes back of first-place Argyle.

Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt.

Escobar said several individuals stepped up over the two-day tournament, including Bryson Gardner, who shot an opening-round 75 to lead the Eagles Friday. Escobar added those performances helped take pressure off Chapman coming into the last round.

“We focus as a team more than we do individuals,” Escobar said. “Seeing that, I think it took a little stress off him. It allowed him to relax a little bit. The greens played a little bit more to his favor. He was able to capitalize on some short-range situations that allowed him to excel.”

Decatur’s first team consisting of Chapman, Gardner, Caleb Bennett, Eric Hudson and Ian Caporale will compete at the 4A Region I tournament April 24-25 at Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock.

Hudson finished fifth overall, firing a 161. He eagled No. 17 Monday to finish 5 over.

Gardner tied for sixth with a 161. Caleb Bennett posted an 84 Monday to finish eighth with a two-day total of 175. Caporale was 10th, carding a 181.

Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt.

“Knowing the difficulty of the course and just where we’re at, I’m pleased,” Escobar said. “I can’t say anything else. The kids went out and competed. They did what they were supposed to do and that’s all I can ask for.”

The Eagles’ second team finished third, tallying a 775. Cade Montgomery qualified for regionals as an individual medalist, shooting a 184. Layton Harris is an alternate after shooting a 191.

“It’s sweet,” Chapman said of the team qualifying. “We’re playing a different course [than last year], and especially being with my team, not just by myself — it’s pretty cool.”

On the girls side, Bridgeport’s Taite Read and Veronica Valdes qualified for regionals as individual medalists. Read tied for fifth with a 189. Valdes was eighth, turning in a 205.

Decatur finished third as a team with a 907, edging Bridgeport on a tiebreaker. The Lady Eagles were 26 shots off qualifying for regionals.

Decatur’s Riley Leonard, who finished 10th individually, is an alternate for regionals after shooting a 216.

“The girls program is stepping up,” Escobar said. “This is something we haven’t done in a long time. We were so close this year and it’s promising. This is something the girls program has needed for a long time and I think it’s just a step in the right direction for the future as far as that’s concerned.”

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