Anoka senior Max Savini couldn’t write a much better finish to his prep golf days after tying for second place in the Class AAA state golf tournament played at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids June 10-11.
Savini put together rounds of 74 and 71 to tie with three golfers for second place, three strokes behind Rochester Century senior Chris Captain for medalist.
Savini opened the second round with a 34 after carding back-to-back birdies to finish his opening round with a 74 to be tied for ninth place.
Savini was grouped with Captain and Wayzata’s Jack Holmgren for round two.
Holmgren and Edina’s Sam Foust shared second place with Savini.
A birdie on the first hole set the tone as he hit 12 of 14 fairways to stay out of trouble but instead of looking at the clutch shots to stay in contention, Savini said it taught to not dwell on 10 putts that lipped-out of the cup.
One shot Anoka coach Doug Orr recalled was his drive from the tee on West 8, which is a 220-yard Par 3. Savini hit his rescue club to the right of the green and bogeyed the hole during the first round. He decided to pull out the rescue club again but didn’t tee it up. He ended up placing the ball eight feet from the cup. “I asked him about that and he said he wanted to keep the ball low,” Orr said as the two walked toward the green after the shot.
Playing with the eventual state champion helped Savini in the end. “Captain pushed me all day and we both shot 71s. It’s nice to be in group like that,” he said.
Logging more than 10 official tournament rounds at Bunker Hills helped Savini remain calm, despite a gallery he said grew to 50-70 people at times. “There was a bit of pressure after day one but I was a lot less nervous than I thought I would be after the first tee shot. I was a lot more calm and collected,” Savini said, becoming the first state runner-up from Anoka after Tim Holist won the program’s only state individual title in 1968. Jordan Ensrud’s third place in 2005 was the best by a player coached by Orr.
After the round, Savini had to wait to see the final results.
“At first he didn’t want to stand and watch because you really don’t hope for bad things to happen to the others so he grabbed a bite to each and then not knowing got the best of him,” Orr said as they both watched the leader board near the final hole as the final groups came into the clubhouse with higher and higher numbers, lifting Savini nearly all the way to the top.
Blaine’s duo in the field improved from the first to the second day.
Senior Joe Manthis finished tied for 22nd place with rounds of 78 and 77 and teammate Aaron Jackson knocked three strokes off his first round to place 78th with rounds of 85 and 82.
Lions boys third
Legacy boys golf took advantage of ideal conditions at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker to place third in the Class A state tournament June 10-11.
The Lions finished four strokes behind United South Central, Wells and 19 behind Dawson-Boyd with a two round total 679 strokes.
Junior Jacob Hoschied posted rounds of 80 and 82 to finish 13th overall and classmate Caleb Johnson tied for 14th one shot back after posting a second-round 79.
Legacy’s four sophomore Jacks completed the scoring. Jack Friedrich tied for 59th with a 184, Jack Yaeger tied for 63rd, two strokes back (186), Jack McDermott was 67th (188) and Jack Bertsch tied for 79th (198).
Huskies and Panthers
Spring Lake Park and Andover boys placed fifth and sixth, respectively in the Class AAA final team standings at state, separated by eight strokes in the field of eight teams.
Panthers senior Pete Sienko carded rounds of 76 and 72 to place seventh, six strokes off the winning score for the best finish since 2004 graduate and pro golfer Troy Merritt.
Merritt, a Spring Lake Park graduate, was runner-up at the FedEx St. Jude Classic June 8 with a 9-under par score.
Sienko double bogied the final hole to finish with an even par 72.
“It was really about a few missed putts here and there to change the day around but it was fun to go and for our school to be part of it,” Wackman said.
Nick Turnquist was one shot ahead of Tanner Ylvisaker as they tied for 33 and 37th places overall.
Turnquist opened with a 74 to lead the team but couldn’t replicate that success on Day 2 with an 81. “It was one of those rounds where the breaks went his way,” Wackman said after watching his first shot of day sail about 330 yards off the tee. “Credit him for taking advantage of it.”
Ylvisaker opened with a 76 including nine consecutive pars on the back nine to card a 36.
Zach Savageau carded a 164 to tie for 69th, Jack Hiemenz was fourth strokes back, tied for 79th and Brett Bolf was 87th with rounds of 86 and 91.
The Panthers successful spring came to a close with a strong showing at the state’s top tournament of the summer.
“To sit third after the first day was more than anyone could ask for,” Spring Lake Park coach Will Wackman said about the standout start against powers like Wayzata, Edina and Hastings. He added how special it was to not only follow the guys around the courses this spring but to see them set goals and achieve them like the section title. “It’s fun to watch that as a teacher and coach.”
Andover senior Sam Steinwand tied for ninth place with rounds of 74 and 75 to garner all-state honors and lead the Huskies.
Four of the five other scorers were within six strokes of each other: Erik Wagner(tied 51st place, 159); Seth Lawrence (t60, 161); Ben Johnson (t67, 163); t72. Austin Meissner (t72, 165) and Brad Williams (88, 177).
Coach John Anderson said the finish was about where he slotted the team finishing or possibly fifth place among the eight section champions.
Steinwand played consistent golf on both days but couldn’t finish out his second round like he hoped. Going into the ninth hole on the East course, he was one-over par for the day but a double bogey dropped him from fifth place overall to ninth. His drive found the trees to the right of the fairway and punched a shot short and left of the green. A tough flop shot left him with a lengthy putt that took two strokes to reach the cup.
“He was just really solid, no high scores and some really low scores,” Anderson described Steinwand’s season. “He was always right around par every match and just played good and steady all year.”
Sections was another animal where an 11-hour trip from Andover to Grand National in Hinckley saw the No. 6 Huskies player get in three holes and Steinwand didn’t get to play on the course at all due to rain.
The conditions forced the teams to determine a section champion in one day. Johnson, a freshman, turned in a personal best round of 73 to help the team capture its first-ever section team title score after Steinwand shot a 72 to earn medalist honors.
“They were all really excited and to be rewarded like that after the time they all put into practice, we were all really happy for them,” Anderson said. “They put the time in on their own, spent a lot time at course and its always good to see that effort rewarded.”
The pressure of a state golf tournament isn’t something that can be replicated easily with the size of the gallery.
“Johnson and Meissner relaxed the second day,” Anderson said about the youngest Huskies. “They were a little nervous the first day but once they settled down they played well.
“There was pressure ,even for the seniors,” he said, trying to calm the nerves with a message during breakfast before the opening round. “Every match so far we talked about winning but for the seniors, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. ‘It’s not about winning, its about enjoying the experience and don’t let two bad holes ruin the experience.’ And they did a really good job with that.”
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