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Deep Lakers seal the deal on state berth

The Laker Golf Team celebrates their Section 8-2A championship Tuesday at the Longbow Golf Course in Walker. (left) Tanner Lane and (right) Connor Hedstrom joke around as head coach Bob Gorden (middle) and Nate Ginnaty (gray jacket) look on. (Brian Basham/Tribune)

Over the course of the 2010 regular season, the Detroit Lakes boys' golf team proved over and over how much quality depth they had, with eight different players gaining medalist laurels in meets.

Well, make that nine -- as not one, but two, Lakers shared medalist honors, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Eighth grader Michael Herzog and junior Connor Hedstrom each fired a one-over par 73 during the Section 8-2A meet at the Longbow Golf Course in Walker Tuesday, which spurred DL's second trip to the state meet.

All four of the Lakers' counted scores broke 80, as freshman Austin Rusness' 78 and junior Tanner Lane's 79 gave DL a meet-low score of 303 -- seven strokes better than second-place Hawley.

"Today really showed how deep this team really is," said Herzog, who shot his career low Tuesday. "We have up to six different players who can shoot par or better on any given day."

On this day, it was Herzog and Hedstrom's turn.

For Hedstrom, it was the first time he had medaled this season -- which makes him the ninth Laker to do so this year.

"All season, you had to keep playing good golf to stay on the varsity lineup," Hedstrom said. "We have three very good golfers not on the section team. Before the season even started, we had guys out on the course until night, trying to improve just to gain a spot on the team."

Rounding out DL's section rounds were freshman Karter Smith with an 81, and senior Nate Ginnaty with 88.

Herzog stroked his personal-low score Thursday by making birdie on three of his last six holes.

"One of the guys in my group said a 74 would really help the team score and I had two holes to go, so I just said, 'I'll try my best,'" Herzog said. "I just gave myself chances and made some putts."

Ironically, it was a double bogey on his third hole that turned his round around for Herzog.

"I just knew I had to kick it into gear," Herzog said of his not-so-good fortunes on the third hole. "After that, it was a whole new game for me."

A par save on Hedstrom's front nine was the spark he needed.

After an errant drive landed in the deep rough, Hedstrom was able to make a solid 30-foot chip to within feet of the hole to save par.

Hedstrom finished with a 36 on the front nine to give him a full head of steam on the final nine.

"I chipped in from 30 yards out to start my back nine and I just had things going from there," Hedstrom added.

Last year's Section 8-2A meet was also a motivating factor for the Lakers, who fell short of repeating as section champions. The honor went to Roseau instead.

"Last year, we needed that one score to go below 75 and we didn't get it," said DL head coach Bob Gorden. "This year, we got two of them, along with Austin's 78.

"It was a great day."

Being able to put the 2009 section meet in the rearview mirror is also a nice feeling, Gorden said.

"Like Tanner (Lane) commented before the meet today, 'Remember last year,'" Gorden said.

The Section title from the 2008 season was Gorden's first one as head coach of the Lakers.

That season ended in a Co-State Class 2A championship.

But the 2010 Laker version has also been pretty special for Gorden and the DL golf program.

"This group of young players has worked hard," the DL coach commented. "I call them golf rats, because they are on the course all the time and committed to the game of golf."

The Lakers will have plenty of time to prepare for the Class 2A state meet as well.

The state event will be held at Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan on Wednesday and Thursday, June 16-17.

The Laker girls' team, which also qualified for the state meet, will tee off at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, while the boys will follow at 11:40 a.m.

Laker results

Section 8-2A meet at Longbow Golf Course in Walker, Tuesday, June 1.

Team results (*state qualifier) -- *Detroit Lakes 303, Hawley 310, Roseau 312, Crookston 313, Perham 318, East Grand Forks 329.

Top 7 individual results -- Co-Medalists: Michael Herzog (DL) and Connor Hedstrom (DL) 73, Hayden Timm (Warroad) 10, Dan Cavanagh (Perham) 74, Seth Heppner (Crookston) 74, John Spaeth (Hawley) 75, Jared Strand (Roseau) 75.

DL results -- 1. Hedstrom and Herzog 73, Austin Rusness 78, Tanner Lane 79, Karter Smith 81, Nate Ginnaty 88.

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