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Tom Mix, Published June 04 2012

Strandemo powers Shanley to state golf meet


Fargo Shanley’s Thomas Strandemo makes his North Dakota Class A state boys golf meet debut today.

The senior golfer, who is tied for second in scoring average in the Eastern Dakota Conference at 73.83, returned to Shanley for his senior year after spending the previous three years living in Virginia, South Carolina and Japan.

The frequent moving was due to his father, Guy Strandemo, being a United States diplomat.

Last fall, Thomas started what has been an impressive compacted North Dakota prep career. He was a member of the Shanley soccer team that finished fourth at the state tournament. In the winter, Strandemo averaged 11.5 points for the Deacons basketball team that finished runners-up at state.

Today, he hits Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson, N.D., in search of a state championship.

“Being mentally tough and keep grinding will be the key,” Strandemo said of the state meet. “When it is going rough, just grind through it, and when it is going good just put the pedal to the metal.”

Strandemo had to grind through a few tough scores earlier in the season, but has shot rounds of 70 and 71 to close out the season. The 71 was at the EDC meet last Wednesday, which he finished third.

“Thomas has always been there for us this year,” Fargo Shanley head coach Don Johnson said. “He has turned it on a bit lately. He started the year a bit shaky, but he hadn’t played for a while.

“He’s got all the fundamentals and has it straightened out now. He has shot a few sub-par rounds for us and that is what it takes.”

Strandemo has signed to play golf at NCAA Division I University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

He qualified for the Virginia state golf meet as a freshman at Yorktown High School in Arlington and finished in the top 10. After that it was off to Hong Kong, where he never lifted a golf club, instead opting to play basketball.

Upon arriving back in the U.S., Strandemo enrolled in the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head Island, S.C. The academy is organized by Haney, a former golf coach of Tiger Woods. Strandemo said the instructors helped him perfect his swing. While at the academy, Strandemo played golf from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and attended classes from 12:30-5:30 p.m.

While Strandemo was in South Carolina, the Deacons claimed a state golf title and were led by senior Trent Olson. Olson was the only member of the Deacons’ top six that was lost to graduation, and with Strandemo set to join the team, Johnson thought his squad would be in good shape to contend again.

“He was a state champ, so those are some pretty big shoes to fill,” Strandemo said of Olson. “He is a good friend and the whole team is just a well knit band of brothers. I have enjoyed it.”

“They were state champions last year so I think it is really cool to help maintain that title.”

Strandemo, along with Grady Meyer and Tyler Rivard, make up a solid and balanced top 3 for the Deacons. Either golfer is virtually interchangeable, with Meyer posting a 73.83 average and Rivard close behind at 73.86.

“He stepped right into Trent’s shoes and took over,” Johnson said. “Trent was our No. 1 golfer and Thomas has been very satisfied playing the No. 3 position. He filled right in for Trent there is no doubt about it.”

Strandemo’s late season surge has the Deacons clicking. Shanley won the EDC meet shooting a 290, five strokes better than West Fargo.

“It’s a little more of a confidence boost heading into state,” Strandemo said of the EDC win. “Now we have a little more of a bulls eye on our backs, but I think we can handle it.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562