Minnesota Golf Association

Cadets' Progression Nearly Complete in Boys AAA, 4 Tied for Individual Lead

June 12, 2019

By Mike Fermoyle (mikefermoyle@gmail.com)

COON RAPIDS -- Ten years ago, Eden Praire led the Class AAA boys team competition at Bunker Hills after the first day of the state high school golf tournament with an aggregate of 305 (four of six individual scores count). Wayzata was second, two behind with a 307, but came back to win the next day by posting a 299 for a total of 606. That 299 was the only sub-300 single-day score by any team that year.

On Tuesday, the first day of the 2019 tournament, Elk River put together a 303, which is a very respectable score -- and found itself in seventh place out of eight teams! Five teams were at or below 300 on a day when the conditions weren't ideal, although it was slightly tougher for the players who were in the tournament as individuals only. They started later and had to play a few more holes in the rain.  

The course has been shortened for the girls during the last decade -- from 5,811 yards in '09 to 5,500 this year -- but not really for the boys. They were playing 6,586 yards in 2009; this year they're playing 6,515. Nevertheless, the team scores have improved dramatically.    

You could argue that the team that best represents the raising of the bar and the lowering of the scores in Minnesota boys high school golf is St. Thomas Academy. The Cadets have three of the best seniors in the state -- Muzzy Donohue, Brady Arnett and Henry May -- and in 2014, when they were in seventh grade, the team made the state tournament for the first of six consecutive appearances. St. Thomas finished seventh that year, putting up a first-day score of 326 and coming back with a 310 for an overall 636.

In 2015, the Cadets moved up a notch, to sixth. They were fourth the next year, third in 2017, and last year they tied Alexandria for second with a two-day tab of 301-299-- 600.

That's an impressive progression, and they're hoping to take the final step this year. They put themselves in a position to do precisely that on Tuesday by putting together a first-day total of 292, which gave them  the lead -- and a five-stroke head start over Edina and Waconia going into Wednesday's final round. But Stillwater is only seven behind in fourth, at 299, and Maple Grove is fifth at 300. The leaderboard is so tightly packed that even seventh-place Elk River has a legitimate shot at the team title, because the Elks are only 11 behind.

Donohue led the charge for St. Thomas on Day 1 with a 2-under-par 70. (May shot 74, and Arnett 75.) That put him iinto a four-way tie for first, along with the newly named Minnesota Mr. Golf, Connor Glynn, a Waconia senior, Stillwater senior Brock Winter, who was also a Mr. Golf finalist, and Sartell-St. Stephen sophomore Logan Hamak. 

They are two ahead of the four players who are tied for fifth: Trey Fessler (St. Michael-Albertville), Wiinter's Stillwater teammate Jack Whitcomb, Eastview senior Will Frazier and Woodbury seventh-grader Parker Sands, all at 72.  

There were eight finalists for the Mr. Golf Award, and five of them -- Glynn, Donohue, Winter, Fessler and Frazier -- are in the top eight on the leaderboard so far.

Another of Donohue's St. Thomas teammates, junior Andrew Boemer, is part of a seven-way tie for ninth at 73.  

Glynn must be thinking that he should be alone at the top, and that he should have broken 70. The University of Minnesota recruit started on the East Nine and bounced back from a bogey at the par-3 third hole with three consecutive birdies, at the fourth (451 yards, par 5), the fifth (350, par 4) and sixth (495, par 5), before giving one back with a bogey at the 200-yard, par-3 seventh. But he concluded his outward nine with a birdie at No. 9 East (370 yards, par 4) for an outgoing 34. He got to 4 under with birdies at the par-5 11th (No. 2 West) and the par-4 13th, but he committed the Cardinal Sin for elite tournament players by making a bogey on a par-5 (No. 5 West -- 530 yards), and, even worse, he made a double bogey on his 17th hole (No. 8 West -- 220 yards, par 3). He did manage to get one of the dropped shots back, however, with a birdie at No. 9 West (340, par 4). 

Donohue started on the West Nine and birdied both par-5's, No. 2 and No. 5. He bogeyed No. 6 (420, par 4), but got back to 2 under with a birdie at No. 9 West. He slipped back to even par for the day when he bogeyed No. 1 and No. 3 on the East Nine, but he birdied No. 4 (all four of the leaders took advantage of No. 4 East, the shortest par-5 on the course). Donohue, who has signed with Boston College, also birdied the longest par-4 at Bunker Hills, No. 8 East -- 430 yards).

Hamak, who also started on the West Nine, made the turn in 36 (even par). He bogeyed No. 1 East (410, par 4), but he matched Glynn's string of three consecutive birdies at No. 4, 5 and 6 to claim his share of the first-day lead. It definitely helped his cause that he got around in 26 putts.

Winter was 1 under on each nine, beginning with the West, where he made his only birdie at No. 4. He bogeyed No. 1 East, but made what for the leaders was a mandatory birdie at No. 4, and the North Dakota State recruit capped off his round with a birdie at No. 9 East (370, par 4). 

Fessler, who tied for second last year at 143, four behind the winner, Wayzata (then) senior Tristan Nelko, could be the most expolosive player in Minnesota high school golf. Of the elite players, he is the longest hitter, and he isn't afraid to shoot low scores (he had two 66's in one day this spring). But he had a pretty quiet round Tuesday. He hit 16 greens in regulation and two-putted 15 times (he had two one-putt greens and one three-putt). He made two birdies on his first nine (West) and two bogeys on his back nine (East).

Last year, Fessler dazzled spectators by flying his tee shots into the greenside bunker at No. 9 West both days. On Tuesday, that 340-yard hole was playing into the wind, and his tee shot came up 30 yards short. But he flew his drive into the greenside bunker on the West Nine's other 340-yard par-4, No. 4, which was playing downwind. Unfortunately, that was one of numerous holes where Fessler (who will be heading for Mesa Community College in the fall) singed the edge of the cup with his birdie putt.

"Seventy-two was the highest score he could have shot," lamented Mike Fore, Fessler's coach at SMA. "He just kept burning the edges with his birdie putts, hole after hole after hole. But it was a stress-free round, and if he plays the same kind of golf tomorrow that he played today, he could just as easily shoot 65."

Minnesota State High School Tournament

Class AAA Boys 

At Bunker Hills Golf Course

Par 72, 6,515 yards

Coon Rapids

First-round results 

1. St. Thomas Academy           292

T2. Edina                                  297

T2. Waconia                             297

4. Stillwater                              299

5. Maple Grove                       300

6. Alexandria                          302

7. Elk River                            303

8. Lakeville South                  315


T1. Connor Glynn, Waconia                      70

T1. Brock Winter, Stillwater                      70

T1. Logan Hamak, Sartell-St. Stephen     70

T1. Muzzy Donohue, St. Thomas             70

T5. Trey Fessler, St. Michael-Albertville   72

T5. Will Frazier, Eastview                         72

T5. Jack Whitcomb, Stillwater                  72

T5. Parker Sands, Woodbury                   72

T9. Andrew Boemer, St. Thomas             73

T9. Carl Berghult, Edina                           73

T9. John Langlois, Lakeville South          73

T9. Josh Hebrink, Elk River                     73

T9. Matt Turner, Winona                          73

T9. Nate Stevens, Northfield                   73

T9. Payton Miller, Maple Grove               73


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