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Laker boys live and learn at State meet

Connor Hedstrom chips up to a green during the Section 8-2A golf meet in Walker earlier this spring.

A valuable lesson was learned by the Detroit Lakes boys' golf team Thursday during the Class 2A state meet at the Ridges of Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan.

Play the first day like it's your last one.

The Lakers finished in fifth place after having to use their first-day score of 315 when Thursday's session was lost due to severe thunderstorms.

DL was making a push on Orono -- which ultimately won the state title with a 292 -- picking up 16 strokes on them and down only six when the meet was called.

But some golfers were on hole 11 and others on hole 16.

"We knew we could play better after (Wednesday)," said junior Connor Hedstrom. "We played solid today and got back into the meet.

"We had up to three golfers in the top scores and nobody will see them. That's disappointing."

Minnesota State High School League officials decided to call the meet after about an hour and a half delay.

More storms were brewing and coming in by 6:40 p.m., when the officials decided to end the tournament and just make it an 18-hole one.

No holes could be counted from Thursday's action because not everyone played the same ones.

There were a total of six teams within 14 strokes of each other after the first round, as DL occupied the fifth spot, but only three strokes out of fourth and three out of sixth.

But it was that first-day slow start which hurt the Lakers and their quest for a top spot in the state.

"We had some mistakes in the last three holes from several of our players," said DL head coach Bob Gorden. "We needed to believe we were good and belonged here. I don't know if our guys believed that, and maybe that led them to be hesitant on some of their shots."

Freshman Karter Smith led the Lakers with a 37-40 for a five-over par 77 Wednesday, and shot even par after his first nine holes to pull even with the two eventual medalists.

"Karter was on a medalist pace (Thursday)," Gorden said. "We knew we had to play solid after yesterday, and the guys played well.

"But we shot ourselves in the foot the first day."

Freshman Austin Rusness and eighth grader Michael Herzog each finished with a 79 and tied for 39th.

Juniors Connor Hedstrom and Tanner Lane each carded an 80, while senior Nate Ginnaty finished with an 86.

"Michael Herzog shot as solid as anyone, but he lost one on hole 13 and had two double bogeys," Gorden said. "We had some slow starts, too, which maybe was caused by the lack of (state) experience."

Lane was one of the Lakers who started slow, after striking a six-over par after five holes, but he recovered to finish just eight-over.

Smith was four-over par after five holes, but went on a string of 12 straight pars to finish with his 77.

"There's a lot of disappointment, because we knew we could be better than this," Herzog said.

Senior Jake Erickson of Holy Angels won the medalist honors with a three-under par 69.

But with their fifth-place finish official for the 2010 season, the Lakers will take something out of this tournament.

"This told us we need to play well on that first day, because you don't know if you're going to play that second day," Hedstrom said.

Laker results

Class 2A state boys' golf meet at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan, Wednesday-Thursday, June 16-17.

State team results --  Orono 292, Rochester Lourdes 304, Virginia 305, Holy Angels 312, Detroit Lakes 315, Fairmont 318, St. Cloud Cathedral 318, Luverne 334.

Laker results -- 27. Karter Smith 37-40-77, Austin Rusness 39-40-79, Michael Herzog 38-41-79, Connor Hedstrom 40-40-80, Tanner Lane 42-38-80, Nate Ginnaty 45-41-86.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.