Haden Stevens felt right at home on his home course.
The Bolivar High School senior cruised around Silo Ridge Golf and Country Club with a 2-over-par 74, winning the Class 3 District 6 title by four shots Tuesday afternoon.
It was the second career district championship for Stevens, who will play Monday in the Class 3 Sectional 3 tournament in Marshfield for a trip to state. The top two teams and top 15 individuals not on those two teams qualify for sectionals.
“Yeah it was (a goal to win),” Stevens said. “I knew the conditions would be tough with the wind, but certainly being familiar with the course helped.”
Tuesday’s temperatures in the 80s were offset by a steady breeze around 10-15 miles per hour. Combined with greens slowed by aeration, the weather made scoring conditions less than ideal.
Stevens was one of just three players in the 48-man field to break 80. Rogersville’s Alec Palen finished second with a 6-over 78, while Buffalo’s Ryan West was third at 79.
Stevens said a birdie on Silo Ridge’s 485-yard par-5 sixth hole jump-started his round. Stevens reached the green in two and two-putted to get his round going.
“It was kind of rough up until then, but I got it going after that,” Stevens said.
In the team race, Aurora rolled on a day when only two teams broke 350.
The Houn Dawgs shot a team score of 330, 18 shots better than second-place Rogersville.
“I was pretty nervous for a bit. I was talking to other coaches who were marking different groups and they were saying that our guys were struggling,” Aurora coach Brian Cox said. “I thought if we could get four scores in the low to mid-80s, we’d be all right.”
Turns out Cox was right on with his prediction.
Grant Seifried, Jordan Fronabarger and Josh Fronabarger all shot 82 to tie for fourth individually. Clayton Summers finished eighth at 84.
“We’ve been pretty successful this year that way,” Cox said of his team’s consistency.
The win gave Aurora its fifth tournament title this season.
“We definitely wanted to come here and win,” Seifried said.
Seifried missed out by one shot last season on qualifying for state. Jordan Fronabager was two shots away from advancing.
They, along with Markus Welch, gave Aurora three returning players from last year’s team that finished sixth in district play.
“Honestly, we’d beaten the other teams here,” Cox said. “We knew Bolivar on their home course would be tough. Rogersville is always good. But I thought we’d be the team to beat.”
Besides Palen, Rogersville got an 86 from Rob Mahaffey and an 89 from Brock Gibson to advance to sectionals. The Wildcats’ score of 348 was six shots better than third-place Bolivar. Mathieu Young and Jonathon Viebrock also competed for Rogersville.
The Wildcats, though, were left chasing an Aurora team riding a wave of confidence in the postseason.
“Sectionals looks good,” Seifried said. “If we get a good practice round in, I think we have a good chance to get to state.”