By Mike Deak
KENDALLVILLE – Keara Eder and Cybil Stillson didn’t finish with a bang in the final round of the Northern Junior Masters, but Eder found just a little more in the tank to claim honors in the two-day tournament.
Eder survived a near disaster in her final round Monday, settling for a playoff against Stillson and winning in extras to claim the title in the northern Indiana showcase. Eder and Stillson both shot 148, the deciding strokes came on the second hole in the playoff.
Eder, who held a three-shot lead over Stillson Sunday in posting a sparkling 71 at Noble Hawk Golf Links, came back Monday and nearly collapsed down the stretch. After shooting a one-over 36 on the front side, the Madison, Ind., native limped home with a 41 on the backside including a double bogey on the 18th drop into a tie with Stillson.
The NorthWood junior from Nappanee hung a 74 in round one, then matched herself with a 74 in round two. While a 74 worked enough to earn a playoff, Stillson missed a golden opportunity to claim the title after giving away a bogey the par-five 18th following seven straight holes of par.
In a tournament that saw three eagles posted in the two-day format, Stillson returned to a regional tournament host and played very well. Stillson only had one double bogey over the two days, and had two birdies to combat just six bogeys over 36 holes.
Eder played even on Sunday, carding a pair of birdies to level two bogeys, but had a rough Monday with five bogeys, a double bogey and just one birdie before securing the title.
A host of area players were part of the Northern Junior Masters, hosted by the Howard Bailey Junior Golf Tour. LaGrange’s Madison Keil was sixth overall with a 154 and Goshen’s Braedyn O’Dell tied for 10th with a 158.
Nappanee’s Breanna Goss and Mishawaka’s Rosa Trippel landed in a three-way tie for 13th at 161. Goss went 37-47 in her final round on Monday.
Columbia City’s Katie Hoag was 17th at 167 and Granger’s Delaney Wade was one stroke back. Two graduates of the Northern Lakes Conference, Northridge’s Ashley Brewster and NorthWood’s Kirsten Schrock, finished at 171 and 172, respectively.