Competition 'as good as it's ever been' at Class AA state tourneyWith a solid field at this year’s Class AA high school boys’ state golf tournament, Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell will see several athletes battling for the title of state champion today and Tuesday.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
With a solid field at this year’s Class AA high school boys’ state golf tournament, Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell will see several athletes battling for the title of state champion today and Tuesday.
Play begins at 9 a.m. both days.
“We have a lot of good individuals and teams this year,” Yankton coach Brett Sime said. “The state of boys’ golf in South Dakota is pretty good. The competition is as good as it’s ever been and there could be a number of individuals that could win the state title.”
Qualifying scores dictate tee times for today’s first-round action, with the favorites leading off the day. The first group has four golfers from four different schools with Tommy Vining, of Sioux Falls Lincoln; Jace Guthmiller, of Yankton; Max Donohue, of Sioux Falls O’Gorman; and Ian Rinken, of Sioux Falls Washington.
Vining was the only player with a qualifying score below 70, shooting a 69.
“Tommy’s a golfer,” Sioux Falls Lincoln coach Lyle Pearson said. “He’s done it all his life and even though he’s only a sophomore, he’s been steady all year. There are several individuals that will be tough, but he’s got a shot.”
Vining finished third in last year’s state tournament, shooting a 151 and sitting one stroke back of Clay Kopplin, of Sturgis, and Sam Musch, of Rapid City Stevens. Kopplin claimed the individual title in his final high school season.
Right behind Vining was Brandon Valley’s Trevor Tobin with a 152 for fourth place. Tobin took third in 2010 as a sophomore and ninth as a freshman. Tobin’s coach Scott Carroll said while Tobin wants an individual title in his last go around, he’s more concerned on the team standings.
“He wants nothing but to help feed his team,” Carroll said. “His main goal is always for the team to do really well.”
Tobin — who has verbally committed to South Dakota State University — may have an advantage over several other top golfers, as Carroll said he plays many rounds at Lakeview during the summer. Tobin’s grandfather lives in the area and the two love to golf with each other.
“Trevor plays it all the time and he knows the course,” Carroll said. “I would say Trevor’s got as good of a shot as anybody out there.”
If familiarity with the course is going to be a key, then Jaron Weich and Jacob Rice have a distinct advantage over the field.
Weich and Rice are the top two golfers for Mitchell High School and are hoping to be in the mix to medal this week.
“They’re playing better than I have ever seen in the years that I have known them,” Mitchell head coach Sean Moen said of the two.
Most coaches agree that in the team competition, Sioux Falls O’Gorman is the team to beat. O’Gorman has claimed the last two state titles, but with a field full of top-notch competitors, it could be anyone’s championship to win.
“Some team is going to have to play very well for two days,” Pearson said.