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Published May 11 2012

Moorhead boys golf seeks fifth consecutive trip to state

MOORHEAD – Seconds pass and there’s still a puzzled look on Eric Tollefson’s face.

The Moorhead High School boys golf coach was asked when was the last time his team didn’t reach the Minnesota state golf tournament.

“Maybe three years ago,” Tollefson said.

The answer is four years. Tollefson is hoping Moorhead can make it five and his Spuds appear to be on track to achieve that goal.

The Spuds came into Friday having won four of their first five tournaments.

“It is a goal to get (to the state tournament),” said Moorhead senior Bryant Buckellew. “And that’s just what we expect of ourselves is to make it to state and do well.”

Getting to the state tournament, he said, won’t be easy. He said last year’s team had four golfers who could constantly score in the low 70s if needed.

This year, Buckellew and fellow senior Ben Welle, have been those constants. But the Spuds have had to rely upon various members to shoot low scores to win tournaments.

“We have some guys who shoot up and down scores,” said sophomore Derek Ambrosie. “I think the better guys (Buckellew and Welle) have to shoot the better scores. But I feel we have guys who can go out there and shoot pretty low too.”

Getting contributions from players such as Ambrosie have added to Moorhead’s strong start.

The lowest Moorhead has placed in a tournament this year is seventh. Tollefson said the seventh place finish came at a tournament which featured the state’s elite programs.

He realizes there’s still a tough road ahead in section play.

“Bemidji I’d say is about the class of us,” he said. “They have some returning players and younger players but at any given meet, they have six guys who can shoot in the 70s.”

Then when talking about Brainerd, he uttered the phrase, “holy cow” to describe a team which features talent. He said Brainerd has players who are as skilled as Buckellew and Welle.

But the thing Brainerd also has is consistency.

“Their three through six (golfers) can post scores in the 70s,” Tollefson said. “That’s what you are looking for. You are looking for guys who can do that.”

Ambrosie believes he can be one of those players Tollefson can count on. Ambrosie was on the golf team last season but did not play in the state tournament when Moorhead finished fourth.

“Guys have told good stories about what happened at state,” Ambrosie said.

“That’s why I hope we are able to get back there.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com