Rowan Masters: Dorsett begins quest for eighth title in 11 years

Keith Dorsett is the biggest winner in Rowan Masters history. Photo by Ryan Bisesi, Salisbury Post
Keith Dorsett is the biggest winner in Rowan Masters history. Photo by Ryan Bisesi, Salisbury Post

CHINA GROVE — Keith Dorsett is craftier with the club than with the pen, though he may have originated a phrase Friday after the opening round of the 11th annual Rowan Masters.

“I mediocred it to death,” said Dorsett of his play in the first round at the Warrior Golf Club.


Dorsett, winner of three straight Masters and seven overall, won against Luke Dohn by being up six shots with five holes to go. A modest Dorsett admitted he “gutted it out,” but made par eight times and shot 2-over after 13 holes. The 34-year-old South Rowan alum may have been off his game on the first day but looked about as good as anyone else in going for his eighth Masters crown. The No. 1 overall seed jumped out to a 5-hole lead 10 holes into play.

“He didn’t play great and I didn’t play great,” Dorsett said. “It doesn’t matter how good your day is, match play’s all about advancing.”

Dorsett accomplished that and he’ll face Mike Mills in the second round today. The second round begins at 8 a.m. and quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Sunday’s semifinals are at 8 a.m. with the championship starting around 12:30 p.m. A 40-minute rain delay interrupted action around 4:30 after a 2 p.m. start Friday.

Dorsett, whose belt buckle boasted a big K, let everyone know he was still the man to beat on No. 9. Dorsett eagled the par 4 hole with a 300-yard drive off the tee and followed with a precise chip-in on wet grass from about 30 yards out.

“I tried to focus on hitting a good shot and luckily the pin got in the way,” Dorsett said. “Normally I’m just shy of 300 on the drive. I’ve got an extra gear if I want to but most times I don’t try it. I’ve learned in years past that distance doesn’t beat people.”

Kevin Lentz was the qualifying medalist with a 68 and bested Jared Haugh 7&6. Lentz got birdies on 2 and 4 and was 1-over after 12 holes.

“I thought if I could shoot in the mid-70s I could be competitive,” Lentz said. “It’s hard to follow up a good round so I tried to keep it all together today. It was a good round.”

Lentz faces Joe Cress, a 2&1 winner against William Little, today with an 8:16 tee time.

Ronnie Eidson, a two-time champ, advanced after finishing two up on Andrew Morgan.

Eidson broke a tie after 11 holes by winning 12 and 13. Morgan sunk a long 35-foot putt on 15 for a birdie to pull within a hole. The two parred 16 and birdied 17 down the stretch. Eidson won 18 to hang on.

“I’m just going through one of these stretches where I can’t make a putt,” Eidson said. “Sooner or later, I’m going to come out of it and make one of them.”

Eidson now faces recent Carson grad Andrew Purcell, a 5&4 winner against Bill Haynes. Purcell birdied 1, 5 and 13 and was 2-under in 13 holes.

Elon’s Troy Beaver, part of back-to-back state 2A title teams at Salisbury, advanced to face Scott Fagg.

Ken Clarke a was 1-up winner and Justin Lefler was a 5&4 victor. Clarke and Lefler face each other tomorrow.

Sean Kramer, Phil Miller, Richard Cobb, Jon Waller, Chris Owen and Ryan Honeycutt also advanced. Cobb and Clarke both had 73s in qualifying.

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