Murray County News Staffwriter
For the fifth consecutive year the Murray County Central boys golf team qualified for state tournament action. The team left for Becker on Sunday, June 12th. They did their practice round on Monday.
Tuesday morning the girls took to the links. Murray County Central’s Abby Hamman (8th grade) made her first appearance at the state level. Hamman teed off at 8:24 a.m. She came in with a score of 49 after her first nine holes. The second nine were a little more challenging for Hamman. She notched a score of 55 on the back nine for a total of 104 on day one.
The boys began play that afternoon with Cole Ahlers (freshman) first at the tee at 12:18. Jack Pierson, also a freshman, was next up followed by Brad Schreiber, junior, and concluding with Tyler Groves, sophomore.
Heavy rain and winds halted play for several of the boys that afternoon, however, MCC was able to complete both rounds.
Groves came in with identical rounds of 44 for a total of 88 on the day. Schreiber shot a 46 on the first nine and then came back to slice one off the score on the back nine with a 45. He finished the day with a total of 91. Jack Pierson also shot identical rounds coming in with a 46 and tallying a 92 for day one. Cole Ahlers charted a 54 on the front nine and came back with a 62 for a 116 tally.
Day two began with the boys not able to finish day one taking to the links at 7 a.m.
Fortunately MCC wasn’t one of those.
Hamman hit the course bright and early at 7:30 a.m. A little more familiar, Hamman was able to knock two strokes off her previous day’s score – one on each of the nine holes. Hamman came in with a 48 and followed up with 54 for a total of 102 on day two. She tallied a total of 206 over the course of the two days and finished in the 67th spot out of the 87 golfers at the state level.
The MCC boys began play at 1:00 p.m. afternoon. Each of the players were hoping to improve on their scores from the previous day.
Tyler Groves came in with an identical first round as the previous day notching a 44. He sliced five off on the back nine to tally 39 for a day two total of 83 and combined to tally 171 over the two days for the 39th place out of 85 golfers.
Brad Schreiber finished his just the opposite of the day before carding a 46 and 45 to tally a 91 for a total of 182 over the two days.
“State was fun,” shared Schreiber. “I didn’t find any holes challenging. Having been there for my 3rd consecutive year I knew the course pretty well. However, putting was the most challenging. The greens at Pebble Creek are very fast and tricky. I felt like I could have done better with my scores.”
Jack Pierson was able to knock one stroke off his total score on day two coming with with a 46 on the first nine and 45 on the back nine to tally 91 and a two day total of 183.
“I didn’t play as well as I would have liked to,” said Jack. “But I think I learned a lot. The par 5’s got me on the second day. It was a lot of fun and I hope we can return as a team next year.”
Cole Ahlers had a much better day on the second day. He took three strokes off his first nine (51) and came back to take an additional three off the back nine (49) to tally a an even 100 and a two day total of 216.
“My 2nd year at state did not go as well as I had hoped. After a very rough 18 holes the first day,” said Ahlers. “I finally figured out the course and came back with an average 18 hole score the 2nd day. My rounds would have definitely had gone better if I was more consistent with every club and my ball striking. Between trees, the thick roughs, and the insanely fast greens, it really made it tough.” He continued, “I really enjoyed the experience, being back for my 2nd consecutive year and the team’s 5th consecutive year. I hope we can will make a return trip in the future. Even though we did not come out placing or playing our best scores, we definitely made some memories that we will remember forever.”
Head coach Kim DeLong commented, “All four of the boys (Groves-4, Pierson-3, Schreiber-3, and Ahlers-2) have been on teams that have golfed at the state level the last four years. As an 8th grader, this was Abby Hamman’s first time competing at state.”
She continued, “I think the kids were disappointed with the way they golfed the first day. We learned a hard lesson in a good way. We found trouble on some holes that led to a little higher scores than usual for us. I told Abby and the boys’ team all they had to do was golf the way they golfed all year and things would work out. I’m proud of them for how they handled themselves the second day and were able to bounce right back after a rough hole.”
DeLong concluded, “With all state participants coming back, and with a little work, we could be right in the middle of things next year. I am looking forward to what the future has to hold for both the boys and the girls teams.”
Murray County Central finished in eighth place over overall with a team total of 752. Mounds Park Academy won the crown with a score of 623, followed by Mahnomen/Waubun (634), Lac Qui Parle Valley (669), Sleepy Eye United (672), Blooming Prairie (673), Mille Lacs (694), Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (703).