Tue, Jan. 28

Scorpions make up big deficit<br><i>Red Rock rallies on second day to win own invitational</i>

Staff photo by Eric Lusk

JAKE GRODZINSKY ponders his putt during Friday afternoon's round. The Sedona Red Rock senior shot 72-72 to win the individual title.

The Scorpions roared back from a 13-stroke deficit during Friday's round of the Sedona Invitational and won their own event at Oakcreek Country Club by 13.

Red Rock senior Jake Grodzinsky birdied the last two holes to overtake Matt Edwards of Las Vegas Coronado for the individual title. Edwards is the reigning Nevada state 4A champion, while Grodzinsky finished third in last year's Arizona 3A championships.

"Especially dramatic was Jake's sinking of a 15-foot birdie putt on 17 just after Matt had drained a 30-footer for birdie," said Sedona coach Dennis Mobley. "This threw the all-square match through 35 holes into the final hole.

"Matt pulled his tee shot close to a wall, which caused an awkward second shot, while Jake nailed his drive and finalized the match with a 12-foot putt for another birdie."

Grodzinsky, known best around Arizona for shooting a 59 in an 18-hole match last season, has won three straight tournament titles this year, including the River Valley Invitational and the Pahrump Valley Invitational earlier this week in Nevada.

The future Duke University golfer, now sporting a beard he intends to keep through the rest of the season, shot even par rounds of 72 and 72 during the two-day event Thursday and Friday. Edwards carded 75 and 71.

Grodzinsky wasn't the only Sedona golfer burning up the lush green Oakcreek course during the two blustery and sometimes rainy afternoons.

Teammate Sean Ernes fired a 71 on the second day. Jimmy Bicking finished with rounds of 78 and 77. Billy Fitz carded rounds of 87 and 80. Mitch Witteman earned a 79 on the second day — his first time ever under 80 — after shooting a 95 on the first.

The Scorpions trailed Coronado's Blue team 332-319 heading into Friday's 18-hole finale. But no one from the Blue squad shot under 80 on day two, and the Las Vegas school's Red team overtook them by 2 strokes to finish in 13 back of Sedona.

The final tallies: Sedona Purple 631, Coronado Red 644, Coronado Blue 646, Sierra Vista 648, Payson 654, Snowflake 682, Pahrump Valley 715, Camp Verde 811, Sedona Gray 894.

Joey Gehring led Camp Verde with a two-day total of 197, bettering his first-day score by 15 strokes with Friday's round of 91. Megan McDonald fired a 201 with rounds of 102 and 99.

Sedona's Ernes actually had his first day score disqualified after a dispute over a rules technicality. That forced the Scorpions to throw out his round in the 80s for another one in the mid-90s.

It didn't seem to matter on day two, however, as Ernes fired under par and the rest of the lineup stepped up with some of their best play of the season.

"I think the disqualification fired up the whole team," Mobley said. "They really played with a fierce determination. They didn't need any words of encouragement. I just had to give them the scorecards and get out of their way."

One other notable score from the tournament: Payson's Billy Hoyt shot a 72 on Thursday but didn't compete Friday due to another golf commitment, a junior tournament in Phoenix. Hoyt finished second in last year's 3A championships, right behind Ernes and just ahead of Grodzinsky.

Individual Leaderboard

Jake Grodzinsky (Sedona) 37-35-72 38-34-72 144

Matt Edwards (Coronado) 36-39-75 37-34-71 146

Tatsuro Oshimoto (Sierra Vista) 39-38-77 38-38-76 153

Jimmy Bicking (Sedona) 40-38-78 39-38-77 155

Mike Paine (Coronado Red) 40-44-84 36-39-75 159

Brandan Kelley (Payson) 40-39-79 38-42-80 159

Richard Bailey (Coronado Blue) 40-39-79 41-39-80 159

Creston Schneider (Snowflake) 44-42-86 38-37-75 161

Chris Baden (Coronado Blue) 36-42-68 42-40-82 162

Johnny Warren (Coronado Blue) 39-41-80 39-43-82 162

Jeff Tonneson (Coronado Blue) 42-40-82 41-42-83 165

Paul Ottmann (Snowflake) 43-45-88 41-37-78 166

Billy Fitz (Sedona) 43-44-87 42-38-80 167

Justin Gring (Sierra Vista) 39-44-83 42-42-84 167

Kyle Kent (Payson) 43-45-88 41-39-80 168

Aaron Horvath (Coronado Red) 43-43-86 42-41-83 169

Jack Blackmon (Sierra Vista) 41-40-81 47-41-88 169

Mitch Witteman (Sedona) 45-50-95 38-41-79 174

Chapin Fisher (Sedona B) 49-51-100 43-49-92 192

Mike McClintock (Sedona B) 57-45-102 49-45-94 196

Joey Gehring (Camp Verde) 53-53-106 44-47-91 197

Megan McDonald (Camp Verde) 51-51-102 47-52-99 201

Aric Stark-Tenny (Camp Verde) 53-55-108 51-47-98 206

Josh Castellano (Camp Verde) 57-50-107 48-52-100 207

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