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Boys golf doubles in size

By Staff | Apr 3, 2016

The 2016 BEA boys golf team, pictured from left to right, are: First row: Ben Johnson, Austin Thielfoldt, Manning Lane, Braden Gudahl, Hunter Spencer, Gaven Bruellman, and Kohl Jacobsen. Second row: Matt Krause, Adam Legred, Jared Mensing, Tannor Wolf, Zaine Stewart, Tanner Wickersham, and Tate Thielfoldt. Not pictured: Bailey Olson and Tyler Hannaman. The boys’ first meet will be held at the Minn-Iowa golf course against Maple River on April 4, at 4:30 p.m.

There is a huge interest in golf at Blue Earth Area this year. And, that has given BEA boys golf coach Travis “Doc” Armstrong some interesting scenarios and possibilities.

“We have 30 boys out for golf this year, in grades seven to 12,” he explains. “That is about twice what we normally have.”

Armstrong says he has a group of very talented older, senior, golfers and a group of very talented younger, junior high and even middle school golfers.

Coach Armstrong decided the only fair thing to do was to allow anyone who wanted to “tryout” for the varsity squad to play in a qualifier round of nine holes last Tuesday at Riverside Town & Country Golf Club.

“I thought maybe 15 of them would want to play in it, but all 30 showed up to try out,” Armstrong says. “That shows we have a lot of enthusiasm for golf this year, and that is good.”

The coach took the six lowest scores for his top group and the next six lowest scoring golfers for his second group.

These 12 golfers were a bit of a surprise to the coaches.

“The top six group is made up of one senior, one ninth grader, one eighth grader and three seventh graders,” Armstrong says. “The second group is made up of five seniors and an eighth grader.”

All 12 of these golfers will be vying for the varsity team all year as the season progresses. But Armstrong is going to take his top six low scorers as his varsity team at the first meet on Monday, April 4. But, since the Bucs next meet is 11 days later, Armstrong says the lineup could change before then, depending on how the players perform Monday and at future qualifying rounds.

Those top six golfers are; Manning Lane, a seventh grader, Gaven Bruellman, eighth grader, Jared Mensing, a senior, Hunter Spencer, ninth grader, Braden Goodall, a seventh grader and Austin Thielfoldt, a seventh grader.

Mensing was the fifth or sixth golfer on the varsity team last year, and Bruellman and Spencer also saw a lot of varsity play even as seventh and eighth graders last season. Spencer was a solid No. 3 man on the team.

Seventh graders Lane, Goodall and Thielfoldt have been playing solid golf for several years in youth leagues.

“These kids all come from golfing families and some of their parents have been and still are outstanding golfers,” Armstrong says. “So it is no surprise these young kids are so good.”

The second set of six golfers are seniors Tanner Wickersham, Zaine Stewart, Adam Legred and Bailey Olson (who is doing both golf and track), and eighth grader Kohl Jacobson.

“These 12 golfers will be our varsity and junior varsity team members this season,” Armstrong says. “But who is on what team will probably fluctuate throughout the season.”

As far as what teams will be the tough competition for BEA this season, Armstrong says there is a lot of talent out there but that also includes the Buccaneers.

“New Ulm is always good,” he says. “They were head and shoulders above everyone else last year, but they graduated a lot of those players. However, they still have some good golfers left.”

Fairmont and Jackson County Central also have some outstanding returning golfers from last year.

“But, overall, we will be competitive in every dual meet this year,” Armstrong says. “We should get four or five guys to shoot well below 44 every time. We might not have any superstars who will shoot below par all the time, but we have a lot of solid golfers.”

And, the coach expects these younger golfers to steadily improve as the season goes on.

“We are kind of like New Ulm was a few years ago,” the Buc coach recalls. “They had this group of really outstanding young golfers. Some of our players thought they (New Ulm) looked like a bunch of little kids, about as tall as the golf bags they were carrying. Then they smoked us on the course.”

Armstrong is assisted by volunteer coach Al Thielfoldt and Gary Holmseth as the junior high coach.

“With 30 guys out for golf, we are going to try and get as many on the course as we can,” Armstrong says. That may mean trying to create a C-team, in addition to the varsity, junior varsity and junior high squads. “We have kids out with all ability levels. We have a junior and a sophomore out for the first time.”

But, the Buccaneer coach is certainly not complaining.

“It is great golf is so popular and the kids enjoy it,” Armstrong says. “We want to expose them to this sport; it is a game they can play their whole life, so we want them to learn it and love playing it.”