Boys golf: Cruch time for Wolfpack, Raptors and Royals
It may seem like the season just started, but it's already crunch time for the area golf teams.
The first of the season's final three tournaments of the year took place last week, as the East Ridge, Park and Woodbury boys golf teams teed off at the Suburban East Conference Championships on Wednesday, May 25, at Keller Golf Course in St. Paul.
At the match, final conference team standings and All-Conference honors were up for grabs.
Park and East Ridge each scored 315, with Park winning a tiebreaker to take sixth place at the 10-team tournament, while Woodbury scored a 330 to finish in ninth place.
"It was nice to be able to finish ahead of our District 833 sister schools in the tournament," Park head coach Hank Tressel said. "We won the imaginary playoff I guess."
Hastings won the match with a 310, followed by Roseville (311) and Forest Lake (312).
Roseville, however, finished as the SEC champion for 2011 with 49.5 points edging second-place and defending SEC champion Forest Lake, which totaled 48.5 points on the year. Overall, East Ridge, Park and Woodbury ended up seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, with 25 points, 23.5 points and 13 points.
In the SEC Championship match, Park senior Jack Barnhart tied Roseville's Sam Matthew for medalist honors, shooting matching 69 scores on the par-71 course.
Matthew finished as the conference's top golfer with a season average of 70.25. Barnhart was second with a 73.5 average for the year.
"There were a lot of good golfers that Jack beat," Tressel said. "He had some very good rounds this year."
Tressel felt the win should give Barnhart confidence into the final matches of the season.
"He was able to shoot that super-low round and he knows he can do it," Tressel said. "Some days it'll be there and some day it won't. But, that has to be a big confidence-booster."
The top 18 golfers in the conference for the season earn All-Conference awards. The 19th through 30th-ranked golfers then earn All-Conference honorable mention.
In addition to Barnhart, Park senior Trevor Keys earned honorable mention with a season average of 80.
East Ridge had three All-Conference golfers on the year. Tyler Fitzsimmons had the conference's 16th best average at 78.25, followed by Jaik Winbush at 78.5 and Brady Hanson with a 78.75 average. Logan Delaney earned honorable mention honors with a final average of 80.75.
Woodbury had three golfers finish as All-Conference honorable mention. Junior Nate Wareham scored an average of 79.25 and junior Matt Hamilton and sophomore Mike Myers each averaged 80 to earn the honor.
At the conference championships, in addition to Barnhart, senior Blake Furlong scored an 81, which was the Wolfpack's second-best score on the day, followed by Jeff Martin with an 82 and senior Jeremy Harer with an 83.
"Considering that we didn't have many kids that played PGA junior golf and that the team is made up of mainly recreational golfers I was very satisfied with the progress we made," Tressel said. "We got better as the season went on and became a little more consistent. We had one bad day, but that was about it. The kids tried hard out there."
For East Ridge, Fitzsimmons led the way with a 76, followed by Luke Schrader's 78. Also, Delaney shot an 80 and Winbush carded an 81 to round out the Raptors' top four.
For Woodbury, Matt Hamilton shot a season-low 78 to lead the Royals, followed by Myers' 81. Patrick Mahady scored a season-low 83 and Tyler Graves and Matt Jordahl each shot 88 to fill Woodbury's final total.
Next, the two-day Section 3AAA tournament begins on Tuesday, May 31, at Keller and concludes on Friday, June 3, at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids.
At the tournament, teams and individual golfers via for state tournament berths. Teams need to make the cut to qualify for the second day of sections, as well.
Last year, Park finished as Section 3AAA runner-up, shooting a 618 total score. Eagan was the section champion with a 609 and earned a trip to state.
At last year's section tournament, a pair of 2010 grads, Park's Jake Miller and Woodbury's Kelvin Fisher qualified for state. East Ridge has yet to qualify a golfer to state.
Eastview is expected by most to be the favorite at this year's Section 3AAA tourney.
"We hope to make the cut and we hope to somehow knock about five shots off the team score," Tressel said. "You can lose it on the first day. We don't want that."