Detroit Lakes senior Lukas Justesen came to the final hole at the Section 8AA boys golf championship with the individual title wrapped up, but the race for a state team berth was up in the air with the Roseau Rams.
In the end, Justesen’s personal section championship was a bittersweet finish as the Rams won a tiebreaker to advance to state.
“It feels pretty good; honestly, it kind of feels like a loss because we just lost the tiebreaker and I wanted to bring these guys down to Jordan,” said Justesen. “It just hurts that it comes down to one shot for the whole tournament out of 636 of them. I did win the section, which is awesome, but it does feel like a loss. These kids deserved it.”
Justesen was unaware of either scoring situation. Players submit scores after each hole for live scoring to the MSHSL app, but are not allowed to scoreboard watch. The infraction is a one stroke penalty.
Justesen pulled his drive on the final hole, the par-5, 433-yard ninth, left into the trees, but he was in good shape. His second ended up right in the trees with a tough approach to a downhill green.
“I just hit it too far,” Justesen said.
He and assistant coach Vern Schnathorst did not think they needed to range the yardage on the second shot.
“I hit what I thought would get me to the fairway,” said Justesen. “It turns out it was completely the wrong club. I went through the fairway and got lucky enough to have a shot at the green.”
From 116 yards out, Justesen had to keep his shot under some tree limbs from a hilltop to a sunken green surrounded by the gallery.
“I pulled out a pitching wedge, choked up and put it back in my stance,” said Justesen. “It was just a little punch pitching wedge and I was lucky enough to get it to roll up there on the green and unfortunately I missed that putt on the low side.”
Roseau’s Teagan LaPlante added to the drama. His approach shot from the first cut of the rough left of the fairway was nearly perfect, sticking on the green three feet from the cup and he converted the putt.
Justesen faced a long bender from the front of the green and just slid by the hole.
“Every shot happens for a reason and I guess you just have to live with that and this is one of those things in life,” he said. “It sucks, but you just have to deal with it, move on and bring the positive out of it.”
The threesome in front of Justesen’s group had plenty of drama on the final green and the lip of the cup is really what sent the teams to the tiebreaker. Roseau’s Max Wilson had back-to-back putts lip out to keep the Lakers in the hunt.
When all the numbers were calculated, Roseau and Detroit Lakes tied with team scores of 636. Players from both teams had ample time to recall one shot or one putt that didn’t go that would have been the difference as the tiebreaker was determined.
Ties are broken by the fifth scoring golfer from each day. The top four golfers determine the team score. Roseau held a two-stroke advantage, 168 (86-82) to 170 (89-81), to earn the trip to state.
The Rams exacted revenge from the last section meet in 2019 where Detroit Lakes won by 25 strokes over second place Roseau. It is the second section title for the Rams since moving to section 8AA and the first win in more than a decade. Roseau has placed first in 10 of 12 meets this season.
Justesen was the lone Laker in the top 10 as golfers from eight different schools vied for the top of the leaderboard.
Roseau’s top two golfers, Markus Nelson and Wilson, finished sixth and seventh, leaving the top five spots as the actual state qualifiers.
Justesen was two strokes better than Warroad’s Jayson Shaugabay (147). The individual scoreboard hopped around with each golfer leading multiple times through the final round, just like the Rams and Lakers on the team board.
Detroit Lakes crept up the leaderboard and led by as many as three strokes on the back nine. The Lakers made up seven strokes on the Rams after finishing day one in third place four back of then second place Warroad.
Shaugabay and Justesen flip-flopped until late in the round when Justesen took a three-shot lead after hole No. 16.
Perham’s Marcus Belka and United North Central’s Andreas Aho tied for third place (149) and Barnesville’s Adam Tonsfeldt (151) grabbed the final state spot in fifth place.
DL senior Jake Green finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place (161). Freshman Nick Tobkin tied for 16th overall (164). Eighth-grader Tommy Suckert tied for 20th (166).
Junior Jack Syltie (170) finished 25th and freshman Noah Meyer (180) was 37th.
Justesen will have the final opportunity to add one more Class AA state title to DL program history June 15-16 in Jordan at Ridges at Sand Creek.
The Lakers will compete in Section 8AAA beginning next year.
Justesen’s goal for state is a simple one.
“To win, obviously,” he said. “Go there with a good mindset and play my best.”
Section 8AA boys golf championship, Town & Country Club, Bemidji
Round 2 of 2
Teams: Roseau 636, Detroit Lakes 636, Barnesville 653, Warroad 656, Hawley 662, Fergus Falls 669.
*Medalist: Lukas Justesen, DL 73-72 145
*2 Jayson Shaugabay, WAR 70-77 147
*T3 Andreas Aho, UNC 77-72 149
*T3 Marcus Belka, PER 77-72 149
*5 Adam Tonsfeldt, BAR 77-74 151
6 Markus Nelson, ROS 76-80 156
7 Max Wilson, ROS 80-77 157
8 Jack Justesen, HAW 81-78 159
T9 Charlie Fuder, FF 80-80 160
T9 Hampton Slukynsky, WAR 78-82 160
T11 Jake Green, DL 83-78 161
T16 Nick Tobkin, DL 85-79 164
T20 Tommy Suckert, DL 85-81 166
T25 Jack Syltie, DL 89-81 170
T37 Noah Meyer, DL 92-88 180
Read more stories by Robert Williams here.