Somerset golf team misses qualifying for state tournament by two strokes
For the second straight season, the Somerset boys golf team narrowly missed qualifying for the WIAA state championships.
At the Division 1 sectional meet in Eau Claire, New Richmond’s Kole Hallmark and Connor McCann both had rounds of 82. That left them each four strokes away from being an individual qualifier for the Division 1 state meet.
Somerset coach Bill Powers said he expected to be battling Hayward for the second state tournament berth out of the sectional tournament. At the turn, Somerset was at 165, while Hayward and Osceola were tied at 160. Somerset outplayed Hayward on the back nine, but so did Ellsworth, which slipped past the Spartans by two strokes.
There were only five players who shot in the 70s in the sectional tournament.
“It was disappointing, especially with the scores that high,” Powers said about failing to qualify for state. “We had the opportunity. We just didn’t play what we needed to get to the next level.”
Somerset was led by senior Danny Green, who finished with an 82. Junior Hunter Iverson shot 84, freshman Wil Gauper shot 85, senior Zach Bahr shot 89 and freshman Alex Lahde finished at 91.
Powers said the back nine on the Cumberland course is very tight and any wayward shots ended up turning into bogeys or worse. He said the pain from missing state by such a small margin two years in a row has left the Spartans stinging.
“We’ve got a bad taste in our mouths,” he said.
The Spartans lose Green and Bahr, who spent most of their high school careers playing at the varsity level. With Iverson, Gauper and Lahde returning, the Spartans are a threat to return to the sectional level again next season. Powers said junior varsity players Bryce Hanson, Austin Harty and Austin Perry could make the step up to being quality varsity players next season.
McCann and Hallmark were the top finishers among the eight individual qualifiers at the sectional meet. Hallmark was among the leaders throughout the day, starting with a 40 on the front nine at Wild Ridge Golf Course. He shot a 42 on the back. Tiger coach Jim Saliny said Hallmark had a bit of trouble putting during the tournament, with three of his putts lipping out.
McCann struggled on the front nine, shooting a 45. Knowing that a state bid wasn’t likely, Saliny instructed McCann to relax and concentrate on ending his career by playing the best he could on the back nine. McCann did just that, finishing his career with a 37 on his final nine holes. Only three golfers, all from Eau Claire Memorial, shot better on the back nine.
Saliny said he received comments from other coaches about McCann’s polite actions in tournaments this season.
“Connor’s a great kid. That’ll get him a lot further in life than his golf game,” Saliny said.
Eau Claire Memorial won the Division 1 sectional with a 293 score. Saliny said that’s one of the lowest rounds he’s ever seen played by a high school team. Memorial’s top four players had scores of 72, 73, 73 and 75. Eau Claire North was the other team to advance to state, with a 316 score.
WIAA Division 2 Cumberland sectional boys golf tournament
Team scores: Osceola 315, Ellsworth 338, Hayward 339, Somerset 340, Arcadia 344, West Salem 350, Northland Pines 351, Lakeland 353, Altoona 356, Northwestern 363, Sparta 364, Black River Falls 369
Danny Green 39-42=82; Hunter Iverson 41-43=84; Wil Gauper 41-44=85; Zach Bahr 43-46=89; Alex Lahde 47-44=91