By THE HERALD-WHIG
MOBERLY, Mo. -- Alec Abel hit his tee shot exactly the way he wanted to on the par-3, 180-yard No. 14 at Heritage Hills Golf Course.
"It was into wind with flag tucked into the back left corner of the green," Abel said. "I just hit a nice, smooth, 5-iron."
It was the right club and the right swing.
Abel landed his shot 10 feet from the hole before rolling in a birdie putt. Abel followed his lone birdie of the day by parring the next four holes to finish Monday's round at 3-over 73 to claim medalist honors at the Class 3 District 4 tournament.
"That birdie definitely got me going a little bit," Abel said.
Abel's round helped Hannibal win the team title at 310, 23 strokes better than Marshall. The Pirates advance to next Monday's sectional at Innsbrook Resort Golf Course in King City, Mo.
"Winning a district by 23 strokes is a resounding victory," Hannibal coach Mike Blase said.
Abel, a junior, played the par-3s at 1-under, which was a credit to the solid iron play that fueled his round. He finished three strokes ahead of Boonville's Brett Windsor. Abel's 73 was his best 18-hole score of the season and tied the 73 he posted at the North Central Missouri Conference tournament last season.
Hannibal's Charlie Baumann finished fifth at 78, Jack Baumann tied for sixth at 79, Scott Cockrell was eighth at 80 and Cody Whiston was 17th at 85.
"The course was soaked, we played the ball down a lot but we still posted good scores," Blase said. "Depth comes in handy on a day like this."