Boys Golf: Wingers secure 4th-place finish at home
Playing at their home course, the Red Wing boys golf team was hoping to use Red Wing Golf Club to its advantage in Monday's Missota Conference championship meet.
"We were pretty confident coming in (playing at Red Wing GC)," said Wingers sophomore Dylan Goggin. "We usually played at Mississippi National (Golf Links), and not many of the other golfers have played here."
But the great equalizer came from the weather, where occasional rain and wind gusts proved to be a challenge.
Ultimately, Red Wing battled through the elements to finish in fourth place with a team score of 328. The Wingers tied with Farmington for fourth place, but edged the Tigers using the fifth golfer as a tiebreaker.
"I'm proud of the players," said Red Wing head coach Lee Kinney. "They've had challenges all year, and honesty, they didn't expect to play as well as they have this season. ... There was tough conditions today and they really haven't played all that much."
Chanhassen secured the Missota Conference title with a score of 302, which was 22 strokes better than Chaska and Shakopee, who both shot 324s to finish second and third, respectively.
Leading Red Wing was senior Taylor Hanson with a 79. Because of their season-long performance, Hanson, Goggin and fellow senior Jack Gorman were named All-Missota honorable mentions. Goggin followed with an 81, and Zach Sachen and Fritz Belisle each carded 84s. Gorman finished with an 87 and John Wedrickas had a 94.
With the weather conditions making the already-challenging course more hectic, Red Wing's golfers had to adapt on the fly.
"The wind really picked up those last few holes for me, so I was hitting a 3-iron to help keep it low," Hanson said. "Those last three to four holes were all into the wind."
Kinney added, "(Playing in the wind) was one of the things we worked on last week. Golf isn't about playing (the ball) as high as you can hit it. They had to hit it low, use punch shots and work the fairway from the right to the left. They had to lower their trajectory today."
That adaptation helped Hanson play a strong back nine, scoring a 38 in the last nine holes, compared to 41 on the front.
"I had a little bit of a rough start," Hanson said. "Then I started hitting some fairways and it started to get better."
Shooting 41-40 on Monday, iron play also made the difference for Goggin.
"I was playing my irons really well, and my driver was decent," Goggin said. "I hit a lot of greens in regulation and I was able to putt decent. ... I had to use my irons a little more than usual. You had to play it safe so you didn't add strokes."
Kinney added, "Taylor's played consistent, as has Jack, Zach, and our most consistent player all year, Dylan. That consistency is the strength of our team."
Claiming medalist honors was Jacob Hansen of Chaska, who finished with a 72, one stroke better than Chanhassen's Collin Seal. The Storm's Cody Seal won the Missota's Player of the Year honor, edging his twin brother, Collin, by half a point.
Now, the Wingers shift their focus to the Section 1AAA meet, which begins on May 30 at Bellwood Oaks Golf Club in Hastings. With more than a week to prepare, Kinney wants the Red Wing golfers to learn from Monday's conference championship and learn how to adapt on the course in hopes of bringing a golfer to state.
"First, we got to get some practice in and get a round or two at Bellwood Oaks," he said. "Then we need to work on some different shots. Whether we're under a tree, in a divot, whatever the case is, we need to be capable of hitting any shot."