Boys golf: Shooting below the temps at Bunker Invite

Sports Editor

Warm temps, wind greet boys golfers in season-opener Bunker Invite

With three scores among the top five overall, Minnetonka opened the boys golf season with a spectacular five-stroke win at the Bunker Hills Invitational in Coon Rapids April 14.

Skippers junior Ben Sigel shared medalist honors with White Bear Lake senior Scott Marsten and Chanhassen’s Ben Hicks as each carded 1-over par 73s.

Spring Lake Park’s Connor Gagnon, left, eyes-up a putt while Blaine’s Caleb VanArragon watches his putt roll to the Bunker Hills East Course No. 9 cup during Thursday’s Bunker Invite.Photos by Jason Olson
Spring Lake Park’s Connor Gagnon, left, eyes-up a putt while Blaine’s Caleb VanArragon watches his putt roll to the Bunker Hills East Course No. 9 cup during Thursday’s Bunker Invite.Photos by Jason Olson

The season opening meet began with golfers playing 27 holes and counting the two best nine-hole totals for their official score. The worst nine hole-total was thrown out. For a team total, the top four scores counted for the team total.

Joining Sigel for the Skippers were eighth-grader Gunner Broin and Jacob Petersen with matching 74s. They were joined by three other golfers at 74.

St. Michael-Albertville edged White Bear Lake by one stroke (305-306) for second place while Chanhassen and Stillwater shared fourth place with team totals of 312 and Mounds View was alone at sixth place (313). Eastview and Maple Grove shared seventh place (317). Blaine edged Anoka by one stroke (318-319) for ninth place.

Coon Rapids’ Michael Elsen watches his ball on the North course par-3 sixth hole Thursday.Photo by Jason Olson
Coon Rapids’ Michael Elsen watches his ball on the North course par-3 sixth hole Thursday.Photo by Jason Olson

Blaine coach Kevin Overgaard noted the strong winds made it difficult to keep the ball on the greens, making for some higher scores than he hoped to see.

“Still, a lot of great golf from some of the state’s best players. It’s always good to compete against good teams.”

He noted that a bunch of Northwest Suburban Conference teams came in around the 320 mark, which should make for a very competitive conference season.

Anoka senior Ben Hauge, left, checks yardage alongside coach Doug Orr on the North course Hole 6 tee box during Thursday’s Bunker Hills Invite. Photo by Jason Olson
Anoka senior Ben Hauge, left, checks yardage alongside coach Doug Orr on the North course Hole 6 tee box during Thursday’s Bunker Hills Invite. Photo by Jason Olson

Anoka sophomore Nate Tollette highlighted the day with the second-best Tornadoes score behind senior Ben Hauge who was 22nd at state last June on the same course and a co-champion of the Bunker Invite in 2015.

Andover was three strokes behind Anoka for 10th place (322) out of 32 teams.

Coach Wade Johnson made the move to the boys side after several highly-successful seasons guiding the Andover girls golf program to a perennial state presence.

Anoka senior Ben Hauge watches his tee shot head toward the green on the North course during the 32-team Bunker Hills Invite Thursday.Photo by Jason Olson
Anoka senior Ben Hauge watches his tee shot head toward the green on the North course during the 32-team Bunker Hills Invite Thursday.Photo by Jason Olson

Senior Austin Meissner and sophomore Ben Johnson each carded rounds of 76 for top-10 individual finishes out of 130 golfers and will be looked upon for leadership this spring. “The boys did leave some shots out on the course, but overall a good start to the season,” Johnson said.

Look for sophomore Cam Fitzer to contribute to the varsity total while seniors Austin Whitcomb and Taylor Scowcroft will compete for varsity spots. Of the 20 golfers out this spring, three are seniors and 11 are underclassmen. Spring Lake Park was 25th overall (340).

Coon Rapids junior Travis Hess posted a 78 to lead the 27th-place Cardinals (342) with senior Michael Elsen second (81) and junior Tyler Goetz third (91). Seniors Nick Halseth and Peyton Nash carded 92 and 93, respectively.

Anoka wins Blaine Invite
Four days after starting the season at Bunker Hills, Anoka, Andover, Coon Rapids and Spring Lake Park made it over to the TPC-Twin Cities for the Blaine Invitational.

Andover’s Austin Meissner watches a putt during the Bunker Hills Invite Wednesday.Photo by Jason Olson
Andover’s Austin Meissner watches a putt during the Bunker Hills Invite Wednesday.Photo by Jason Olson

The 19-team Monday morning tournament included a good mix of teams from the metro and outstate including Brainerd, Cretin-Derham Hall and Class A Legacy Christian Academy.

Anoka held off Blaine for a one-stroke shot (306-307) as the top four teams all play in the Northwest Suburban Conference.

Helping Anoka hoist the tournament trophy was Hauge, a who carded a 1-under par 71 to earn medalist honors with teammate Mike Talbot in a three-way tie for third place with a personal-best round of 74. His round was highlighted by holing out from 171 yards for an eagle on the No. 1 handicap (toughest) hole on the course early in the round.

Chase Miller followed with an 80, Sam Tollette 81, Baker LaMotte 82 and Nate Tollette 88.

Orr said Hauge’s round was even more impressive after he posted an eight on the par-5 Hole 18. Hauge came back on the back-nine with a birdie, birdie, eagle to get back into the lead.

Spring Lake Park’s Jack McKusick chips from the edge of the green on the Bunker Hills North course Hole 6 during the 32-team Bunker Invite Thursday.Photo by Jason Olson
Spring Lake Park’s Jack McKusick chips from the edge of the green on the Bunker Hills North course Hole 6 during the 32-team Bunker Invite Thursday.Photo by Jason Olson
Members of the Anoka golf team pose after winning the Blaine Invite at the TPC-Twin Cities. Submitted photo
Members of the Anoka golf team pose after winning the Blaine Invite at the TPC-Twin Cities. Submitted photo

Blaine’s VanArragon and Max Ullan paced the team with matching 75s while the rest of the scorers stayed in the 70s.

Coon Rapids finished 18th and was led by Hess with an 83 and Elsen with an 86.

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