Top three finishers return to Class A state golf tourneyThe top three team finishers return to battle for the title at the Class A state boys’ golf tournament today at Spearfish Canyon Country Club.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
The top three team finishers return to battle for the title at the Class A state boys’ golf tournament today at Spearfish Canyon Country Club.
Defending champions Harrisburg, runner-up Dell Rapids and Aberdeen Roncolli all finished within six strokes of one another last year and will join the rest of the field when play begins at 10 a.m. Central time.
Other team qualifiers include, Aberdeen Roncolli, Chamberlain, Dakota Valley, Dell Rapids, Harrisburg, Lead-Deadwood, Madison, Mitchell Christian, Parkston, Sioux Falls Christian, Sisseton, Spearfish, St. Thomas More and West Central.
Parkston head coach Tyler Hockett said his team, which finished 11th last season, has the potential to do very well against this year’s field.
“Our team goal is to make the top six,” Hockett said. “I think we can do that if we put two good rounds together and commit for every shot and maybe we’ll even exceed that goal.”
Hockett said the majority of his players have played Spearfish Canyon, which is a par-71 course, several times this season to prepare on the tough course.
“To be honest, the greens break a little different than what you read,” he said. “We played out there a few times and focused on getting better at playing the greens.
“The scores are going to be higher and there’s going to be some missed shots. We’ve been focusing on giving each shot full commitment. They’ve got to play the game in front of them and leave a bad shot behind. If we do that, we can do well.”
Chamberlain coach Travis Koehn, whose team finished 16th last year, said his team will need to play well to achieve its goal.
“Our team goal is to finish in the top half of all the teams,” Koehn said. “Coleman (Caldwell) and Lane (Shrover) are going to have to play a high level and our eighth-graders are going to have to play well in order for us to do that.”
Sisseton senior Ryan Medhaug won the individual championship title in both 2010 and 2011. Medhaug would be the first male golfer to capture three consecutive individual titles since Reuben Narlin, of Sioux Falls, in 1935, if he defends the title.
Medhaug said he feels pressure going into the first round.
“Sure I feel pressure,” Medhaug said. “But all I can do is play my best and worry about the results after the rounds are done.”
Medhaug, who said he’s going to have to shoot par or under to win the tournament, hasn’t played the course yet this season, but he doesn’t think it will affect him.
“It might be a little disadvantage but I think once I play a few practice rounds and get familiar with the course, I’ll be ready to go,” Medhaug said.
Other golfers vying for the title are Chamberlain’s Caldwell and Shrover, Parkston’s Jake Weber and Ty Kinneberg, Winner’s Jayden Bruun and Mitchell Christian’s Adam Bleeker.
Caldwell, Bruun and Shrover placed in the top 20 in last year’s state tournament.
“I’m feeling really confident in every aspect of my game,” Caldwell said. “I’ve got to play smart and not get into trouble. Lane and I are both hoping for top five finishes.”
Hockett said Weber has earned his spot among top golfers this season.
“I have very high expectations for (Weber),” Hockett said. “He wants to go and win and out of anybody on our team, he’s got to be the most prepared. The big stage isn’t going to bother him because he’s been there before. If he plays like he can he should be in contention Tuesday.”
Bon Homme’s Alec Johnson and Lincoln Weber qualified as individuals and Winner’s Zac Pederson and Luke Jedlicki qualified as individuals.