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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published June 03 2013

Central's Kennedy among those vying for ND Class A boys state golf title

GRAND FORKS – Ty Kennedy last week became the first Grand Forks Central golfer since 1986 to win medalist honors at the North Dakota East Region boys meet.

A big achievement? Yes. But Kennedy has his sights set on ending a similar title drought, only on a bigger stage.

When the Class A state meet begins today and ends Wednesday at the Dakota Winds golf course near Hankinson, Kennedy will try to become the first Central golfer since John Novick in 1986 to be state medalist.

It is an achievement Kennedy has been eyeing for several years, one sparked by Grand Forks Red River coach Merle Mikkelsen.

“Mr. Mikkelsen had a Red River scrapbook that I saw when I was a freshman,” Kennedy said. “It had a page showing all the past state champions. I’ve kept that list in my memory banks ever since. (Winning state) has been my goal.”

The 1986 season was a good one for Central golf. Shortly before Novick won state, Central’s Jim Hackenberg was medalist at the region meet.

“I was excited about winning the regional,” Kennedy said. But, the senior admits: “I didn’t even think about how long it’s been since someone from Central medaled at the regional. I was just looking at getting the best score possible to help get our team to state.

“But I definitely am aware of how long it’s been since Central has had the medalist at state.”

Kennedy, a fourth-place finisher at state last season, had been co-medalist at two regular-season meets this spring. The regional was his first outright title.

The field of contenders figure to be large.

Among them are West Fargo’s Riley Johnson, who was medalist at last year’s state meet; Fargo Shanley’s Grady Meyer, who had the low average score in the Eastern Dakota Conference this season; and Bismarck golfer Jake DeForest.

Meyer had a 74.6 average in the EDC, slightly ahead of runners-up Kennedy and Johnson (both 74.8).

“Ty is playing well right now,” Central coach SueAnn Lund said. “He has confidence. And he’s got the whole game – he can outdrive most players and he has a solid short game.

“And it’s a definite advantage (playing at Dakota Winds). Our kids are familiar with the course. It’s a strategic course. You have to know how to play the holes, when not to be too aggressive. It’s a thinking course and Ty is a smart player.”

DeVillers is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald