Charlie Moen is in a similar position to the one he was in last summer.
After four rounds of golf, he is one of two players who remain in contention for the Junior 13-15 Championship Division title on Saturday. Last year, Moen took home the top prize in the Junior 10-12 field. Now, he has his sights set on making back-to-back summers memorable.
“I tell myself to stay calm,” Moen said. “Winning last year has definitely helped me because I know that anything can happen. A hole is never over until it’s over.”
Moen advanced to Saturday by beating the top seed in the field. Alexandria’s Hannah Boraas looked strong through two rounds of bracket play but had trouble overcoming Moen on Friday.
“We both were playing really well,” Moen said. “Credit to Hannah because she played great. It was a difficult match but it feels good, really good.”
Moen def. Boraas, 2-1
Moen got the start he wanted by going up three after winning holes one, three and four. However, Boraas would par No. 5 and birdie 6 to cut Moen’s lead to one. Boraas squared the match on the par-3 No. 7 after Moen bogeyed.
Moen took a two-hole lead again after back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12. Moen protected the lead as he matched Boraas hole-for-hole on his way to a 2-1 win. Heading into the Junior 13-15 final, Moen’s confidence is high after beating a great player.
“My putting and driving has been really good for me this week,” Moen said. “It’s exciting. This is a really fun tournament and I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Gogel def. Werschay, 4-3
For Moen to finish off a championship, he will have to go through the second seed in the field after taking care of the first.
Thomas Gogel advanced to the finals after another dominating performance over third-seeded Leo Werschay.
“I’ve had consistency with my irons and my short game has been good,” Gogel said. “I’m taking everything stroke-by-stroke and just trying to play the best I can.”
Werschay was able to keep the contest close for the first half of the front nine. Gogel took a one-hole lead but saw it slip with a bogey on No. 4.
Gogel flipped a switch and finished out the front nine the way he wanted to. He took a four-hole lead with wins on Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 9. Werschay did everything he could to battle back. He cut his lead to three by winning the 10th hole. Gogel responded with a birdie on No. 11.
Werschay made one last push, but fell short. After a birdie on hole 12, Gogel clinched the win with a par on No. 13.
Gogel says one of the reasons he’s playing so well is because of the time he’s spent at AGC.
“I’ve played here every summer for my whole life,” he said. “I love playing here. It’s different from my home course in Kansas City. Here, you can run the ball up. I can’t do that at home.”
Gogel had the chance to see tomorrow’s opponent up close. The four semi-finalists played together, giving the winners a preview of what’s to come on Saturday.
“I like match play because I can see what I need to do to be better than whoever I will face,” Gogel said. “Tomorrow, I can’t make big mistakes. I’m having fun sticking shots and making putts.”
Even though Moen has seen Gogel’s proficient short game, he’s more impressed by what he can do off the tee.
“He hits the ball really far,” Moen said. “I think it’d be cool to win two years in a row. He’s going to be tough to beat but we’ll see what happens."