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Brian Wierima / Forum News Service, Published June 11 2013

Detroit Lakes in second place at Class 2A state boys golf

JORDAN, Minn. – Looking for its third Minnesota Class 2A state championship in a row, the Detroit Lakes boys golf team will once again have to grind it out entering the second day at the Ridges of Sand Creek Golf Course.

The Lakers will enter the final day of the state meet five strokes down on Section 6 champion Staples-Motley, which shot a 294 Tuesday to DL’s 299.

It’s a position the Lakers are used to, but so are the Cardinals, who have finished in third place the last two years by a combined 10 strokes behind first place.

“We are tickled with the results today,” said Staples-Motley head coach Glen Hasselberg. “Tomorrow, we just want to keep playing how we played today, because any team can catch fire and win it.”

The two teams at the top of the leaderboard both reside in the Mid-State Conference, so they are no strangers to each other.

“We knew coming in Staples-Motley was going to be good,” said DL head coach Bob Gorden. “They had a very good day, but we also shot a 299, which is the lowest we’ve ever shot on the first day. It still wasn’t our best, and the guys know they left a lot of shots out on the course.”

The Cardinals were paced by freshman Andrew Israelson, who carded a 1-under-par 71, while senior teammate Mitch Hagenson fired an even-par 72.

Playing in their fourth state tournament, Lakers seniors Austin Rusness and Karter Smith each shot a 3-over 74. They were followed by sophomores Christian Hedstrom with a 75 and Ben Mallow with a 76, who were each making their state meet debut.

Rusness started off relaxed by shooting for birdie on the opening hole, while sinking birds on seven and nine for a front-nine score of 33.

But a 40 on the back nine left Rusness with a 3-over 74, after being 2 under after hole 12.

“I started off well, striking the ball pure, but my back nine I was kind of unlucky,” Rusness said. “Now, we just need to come back tomorrow and play our game and not worry about what the other teams shoot.”

Smith, who finished as the Class 2A state individual runner-up the last two years, felt he shot well, but his game could have been better.

“I’m not disappointed, but I had to grind a bit today,” Smith said. “I ended well by going up and down on 17, then finished with a birdie on 18.”

The Lakers had to rely on their depth again Tuesday to stay within striking distance of Staples-Motley, with each of Hedstrom’s and Mallow’s scores counting in their first state meet.

Hedstrom settled in early by making birdie on the first hole, while making par on the second. He finished with a total of six birdies in the round for his 75, including two straight birdies to start the back nine.

“I felt a bit of pressure coming into the state, but I was able to hit some spots on the course,” Hedstrom said. “I was hoping to play two solid days and have my scores count, so playing well today was a big relief.”

Fergus Falls’ Levi Soydara was in a tie for eighth place after shooting a first-day 73.

Team scores: Staples-Motley 294, Detroit Lakes 299, Litchfield 304, Marshall 311, Hermantown 312, Blake 315, Rochester Lourdes 318, New Ulm 321.

Top 7 scores: 1, Peters, Delano, 69. 2 (tie), Bennett, M; Israelson, SM, 71. 4 (tie), Hagenson, SM; Leintz, Bagley; Kummerfeldt, Waseca; McCormick, Breck, 72.

Other finishers

DL: Smith 74, Rusness 74, Hedstrom 75, Mallow 76, Herzog 78, Schnathorst 84.

Fergus Falls: Soydara 73.

Hawley: Cook 76.

Wierima is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune