PREP BOYS' GOLF: Two Chargers, one Eagle qualify for state at Section 3A tourneyMARSHALL — When Windom’s Jesse Grove came in with a round of 83, he had no idea he’d even be in contention to earn a spot at the state tournament. However, as the scores kept funneling in at Wednesday’s Section 3A boys’ golf meet, Grove’s score was holding up.
MARSHALL — When Windom’s Jesse Grove came in with a round of 83, he had no idea he’d even be in contention to earn a spot at the state tournament.
However, as the scores kept funneling in at Wednesday’s Section 3A boys’ golf meet, Grove’s score was holding up.
By the end of the day he had finished in ninth place and secured the final of five individual state tournament berths available.
“I didn’t think 83 would be the cut at all, it played out well,” Grove said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it, but then my coach came up to me and said, ‘You’ve got a pretty good chance of going to state,’ so I started watching the scoreboard and it came up that I got to go.”
The idea of heading to state as an individual hadn’t even occurred to Grove, who was simply trying to help the Eagles take the lone team state tournament berth available, which ended up going to Springfield after the Tigers came in with a team score of 313.
“I wasn’t really thinking about going as an individual at all, I was just focused on making it with the team,” Grove said.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove was also hoping to take the team berth after compiling a 45-2 record over the course of the season, but Springfield — led by a phenomenal medalist round of 68 by Dillon Schultz — was simply too tough to beat on the day.
However, the Chargers ended up taking two of the other four individual berths up for grabs with Dana Madson tying for third with a round of 78 and Jared Lindaman firing a round of 80 to tie for fifth.
“We came out here and we battled away,” Madson said. “We definitely left quite a bit out there, but it feels good to have two of us advance on, and pretty good overall.”
W-WG finished with a team score of 331, with Taylor Lindaman (86, tied for 12th) and Nick Lenhoff (87, tied for 17th) rounding out the top four. Senior Aaron Theisen was in with an 88 and Reed Bakken carded a 102.
The Chargers qualified as a team for sectionals each of the past four years and it seemed this was the year they would finally make it to state, but Springfield — one of only two teams the Chargers lost to in the regular season — once again got in their way.
“I think this year it was a little more of a reality after being here the past four years,” W-WG head coach Carter Ross said. “We knew Schultz is a hurdle — Springfield’s very good, they’re very balanced, and when he shoots 68 they’re dang tough to beat.”
“It was a good year. To finish second again, that’s twice in four years, it would have been nice to win, but sometimes second’s OK. That’s what I told the kids. We didn’t lose it, we got beat. It’s not like we lay down either, we represented our school.”
Windom Ended up finishing in fourth place with a team score of 355, with Adam Eisenmenger (89), Landon Johnson (89) and Thomas Elness (94) rounding out the team score. Dylan Pigman recorded a 96 and Austin Smesrud fired a 97.
“We got fourth, and we were looking at winning this whole thing,” Grove said. “That’s not really what we were looking for, our top two guys didn’t play very well today and that’s the game of golf. You can be hot one day and completely cold the next day.”
There were 11 area golfers competing as individuals, led by Mountain Lake Christian’s Aaron Walzac (86, tied for 12th) and Southwest Christian’s Monte DeKam (88, tied for 19th).
Fulda had three golfers competing, with Mitch Baumhoefner recording an 89, Todd Peterson shooting 94 and Cole Dierks coming in with a 109.
Red Rock Central also had three golfers competing in Collin Nickel (89), Jordan Smith (94) and Tyler Erickson (98).
Hills-Beaver Creek’s Caleb Schroer was in with a 93, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Alex Blegen recorded a 95 and Adrian’s Ben Henning fired a 98.
The state tournament begins June 14 at Pebble Creek golf course in Becker.
Madson is making his first appearance at state, though he previously went up to the tournament to watch a friend play.
“I had the opportunity to go up with a fellow golfer and walk along two years ago, so I do know the course and I know what it can do to a golfer up there,” Madson said. “But it’s a gorgeous course and hopefully I can keep them straight and have fun up there.”
The Chargers haven’t had two boys qualify for state in recent years — if ever — so having Jared Lindaman also competing in the tournament will make it extra special for Madson.
“He’s my big brother, so it’s going to be a fun opportunity for both of us,” Madson said.
Still just a sophomore, Madson knows his accomplishments this year at state will serve as stepping stones for his final two years.
“Just to be able to advance on here and know that I still have two years here to carry on, hopefully I can show up the next few years and do it again,” Madson said.
Being a senior, Lindaman did well to survive sections for one final chance at state.
Although fellow senior Theisen fell short on Wednesday, Ross described the pair as great leaders during the season.
“(Theisen), he basically started golf as a freshman,” Ross said. “He finished second in the sub-section, placed high in the conference, and today his putter let him down a little bit otherwise he had a great year.”
Grove will prepare for state as much as he can beforehand, but he’s just looking to play his best and have fun when the tournament arrives.
“Play as much golf as possible, work on my short game, work on my putting, just improve all facets of my game and hope to go low at state,” Grove said.