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Boys' Golf: Park gets highest SEC finish in years

Park’s Ben Yang chips onto the No. 18 green during the May 23 SEC championship meet at Indian Hills Golf Club. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Keegan Oberding putts toward the No. 18 green in the final SEC meet of the season on May 23. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Suburban East Conference boys' golf teams started looking ahead to the upcoming section tournaments after playing the SEC championship meet on May 23 at Indian Hills Golf Club in Stillwater.

But first, Park wrapped up its best SEC finish in almost a decade. The Wolfpack finished third in the SEC this season, wrapping up the schedule with a fourth-place finish in the SEC championship meet. East Ridge finished sixth as a team in the final conference standings while Woodbury was seventh out of nine teams.

The last time a Wolfpack team finished third or higher in the SEC, said head coach Chad Salay, was 2008 when they won a Class 3A state championship. In fact, since Salay has been the head coach they had not finished better than eighth until this week.

"This year, we had six guys that can all shoot good," Keegan Oberding said. "So if someone had a bad round, you always knew you would have another guy to back you up. So that helped, having six really solid golfers."

Three Wolfpack golfers also finished with all-conference awards. Jake Palodichuk, Oberding and Andy Yang each finished among the top-16 golfers in the SEC. Stillwater, the team conference champion, had five of its golfers finish all-conference.

Oberding led Park by shooting a low round of 75 in the meet on May 23, tying his season best. Ben Yang and Conner McCauley each carded scores of 79, and Palodichuk rounded out the varsity with an 80.

"I just hit the ball solid," Oberding said. "My iron play was really good. The driver was finally working out."

Now that the conference season is over, the real fun begins with the section tournament. Park will play in the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids with the first round scheduled for June 2 and the final day happening on June 5.

The Wolfpack are headed into the meet with confidence that they will be able to contend for a title.

"Like I was telling a couple of them, the conference is kind of for show and sections is where you kind of make the money," Salay said. "Obviously you can't go to state by winning your conference. So sections is the main focus. But it's nice to play well in conference, especially since we haven't in the past number of years."

Muzzy leads Royals

The Woodbury boys' golf team has a young roster this season, and sophomore Ryan Muzzy made the most of his first full season on the varsity team.

Muzzy was the lone all-conference representative for the Royals this season, finishing with a score of 75 at the Indian Hills Golf Club championship meet.

Although this is his first full year playing on the varsity team, Muzzy had some competitive experience coming in as a Minnesota PGA Junior Golf Association player.

"I had pretty good hopes this year coming in," Muzzy said. "I've had some good tournaments."

Muzzy saved his best golf for the final SEC meet as he carded a season-best score of 75. He said it was a relatively error-free round.

"I was doing pretty good until No. 9," Muzzy said. "I missed a couple of short ones."

Both Woodbury and East Ridge will play in the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament starting June 2.