B.E. Area golfers tied for 5th at state after Day 1

DRIVING THE FAIRWAY — Blue Earth Area golfer Manning Lane hammers his tee shot during first-round action in the Class AA state meet at Ridges @ Sand Creek golf course in Jordan on Tuesday. Lane went on to earn a tie for 14th place overall in guiding the Bucs to a fifth-place tie in the team competition. (Photo by Greg Abel)

JORDAN — The Blue Earth Area Bucs’ boys golf team earned a tie for fifth place on Day 1 of the Class AA state golf meet at Ridges @ Sand Creek golf course in Jordan on Tuesday.

Manning Lane teed off last for Blue Earth Area, but led the way for the team with his score of 36-39-75, which tied him for 14th among individuals.

Bucs head coach Travis Armstrong said Lane came through when the team needed him to.

“I caught him after his 11th hole,” Armstrong said. “He was a little disappointed. He shot 39 on the front and had a few three-putts. I just told him, ‘Hey, you got to get it together for our team, your team’s counting on you.’ He proceeded to go par, par, birdie, birdie, birdie.

“He really got it together when we needed it most and it was a great outcome for him and the team.”

The Bucs’ team score of 320 tied them with St. Cloud Cathedral for fifth overall, only three strokes behind third-place Red Wing.

Armstrong said he was happy with his team’s Day 1 score and he hopes his Bucs can make a move up the team standings on Day 2.

“We shoot right around 320,” Armstrong said. “That’s been our average all year. I said last week that I hoped we could shoot 325 or better on Day 1, just taking into account the size of the stage and the nerves. To shoot 320 is a good start, we’re only a few shots out of third place, we’re within striking distance.”

Hunter Spencer helped BEA’s cause, coming in second on the team. Spencer began the day with a front-nine 40, but removed a stroke for his back-nine 39 to keep his total score under 80. Spencer’s Day 1 total of 79 placed him 40th among individuals.

Armstrong said Spencer is a leader on the team and showed a level head during the opening round.

“He was steady today,” Armstrong said. “He had a couple bad holes on each side, but he never let that get him down. That’s the key to golf, manage your highs and your lows and get your scores. He’s our elder statesman and he did a good job staying even keel and getting in under 80.”

In third place for the Bucs, Gaven Bruellman was able to improve three strokes from his front-nine 42, for a back-nine 39, to give him a Day 1 total of 81. Bruellman’s score tied him for 51st overall.

Braden Gudahl posted the final counting score for BEA. Gudahl fired a 43 on the front nine, and 42 on the back nine, for his Day 1 total of 85. Gudahl’s score put him 73rd among individuals.

Ashton Lloyd and Caleb Beeler also competed for the Bucs. Lloyd put up a Day 1 score of 47-45-92 for a tie at 82nd among individuals. Beeler shot a front-nine 54, and a back-nine 50 for a Day 1 total of 104, placing him 86th among individual scorers.

Fairmont senior Bryan Grotte competed as an individual and racked up a score of 41-38-79 to put him in a tie with Blue Earth Area’s Spencer and a few others at 40th overall.

Fairmont’s assistant coach Ryan Stevens stuck with Grotte through the back nine and did more of the hands-on coaching. Stevens said Grotte did a good job getting relaxed on the back nine and playing freely.

“I think Bryan hit a speed bump on the first couple holes,” Stevens said. “He really wasn’t in his own skin, he wasn’t comfortable it seemed. Having set himself back, it seemed like the pressure was off so he could play a little more freely. He has high expectations to perform his best every single time. But reallistically, golf is a game of misses. I think he found a way to minimize his misses on the back nine and that’s where those three shots came from.

“He needs to come in (today) with more of that laid-back attitude, that’s when he’s best. He really grew throughout the season and he peaked at the section tournament, which is a great time to do it. I feel like he’s still peaking.”

Bergen Senf was Fairmont’s lone competitor in the Class AA girls state meet. Senf improved three strokes on the back nine, putting up a an opening-round score of 43-40-83 to keep her in a tie for 18th among individuals.

Fairmont coach Brad Haugen said a couple of holes got away from Senf, but she did well getting back in the game on the back nine.

“There were a couple of hiccups,” Haugen said. “Eighty-three is a solid start off of her finish last year, she’s ahead of that pace. Her goal is to finish top 10 and being tied for 18th, she’s right in the game. Just got to tidy up a few of those strokes that go away and if she gets her putter rolling, she’s gonna have a chance at the top 10.

“She had a nice birdie on hole 16 that helped to eliminate those extra strokes from the front nine. She knows where those strokes were and as soon as she got done today she went straight to the practice green and started putting. She’s gonna be all tuned up and ready to make a run at it (today).”

Senf will start Day 2 for Fairmont when she tees off from the 10th hole at 8:06 a.m. today. Grotte will get the boys’ side started when he tees off at 12:09 p.m. on the first hole.

Beeler will get the ball rolling for the Bucs when he tees off from the 10th hole at 12:45 p.m. today. Lloyd will follow in the next group, starting at 12:54 p.m.

Gudahl will follow with his group tee time of 1:03 p.m. today. Spencer then will tee off at 1:21 p.m. and Lane will be in the last group for BEA, teeing off at 1:30 p.m.

Class AA Boys

Team Standings: 1. Detroit Lakes 305; 2. Holy Family Catholic 308; 3. Red Wing 317; 4. Cloquet-Esko 319; 5. (tie) Blue Earth Area and St. Cloud Cathedral 320s; 7. Totino-Grace 321; 8. Worthington 348.

In the Class A state meet at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Dawson Weber and Mitchell Weber represented Martin County West during opening-round action on Tuesday.

Maverick junior Dawson Weber ended in a tie for 13th overall when he posted an 18-hole total of 78. Weber opened with a 38 on the front side of Pebble Creek before closing with a 40.

Seventh-grader Mitchell Weber ended tied for 34th place with his Day 1 total of 85. The younger Weber sibling opened with a 43 on the front nine holes before closing with a 42.

Bethlehem Academy junior Khrystjan Petersen carded a first-round score of 32-36-68 to lead the Class A boys state field after Day 1.

Mitchell Weber will tee off at 12:18 p.m. today on the Red Course of Pebble Creek Golf Course to begin final round action, while Dawson Weber will tee off at 12:36 p.m. today on the Red Course.