Neitzke top golfer at Deacon's Lodge
On a day when the heavy hitters felt defeated, Ethan Neitzke prevailed.
The Pequot Lakes junior switched to a new putter just in time to tackle the fast greens and tough pin placements and win the Deacon’s Invite with a score of 76 on Wednesday, May 14, at Deacon’s Lodge in Breezy Point.
The next closest player was Brainerd’s Thomas Stoxen with a 78. Dakota Waverek of Staples-Motley and Chase Mouch of Forest Lake each fired 79s to tie for third. Those were the only four scores under 80 in a field that featured nine players ranked in the state’s top 100.
“Four of his seven rounds have been below 80,” Pequot head coach Steve Stoxen said of Neitzke, who earned his first medalist honor. “He’s matured a lot and he deserves all the accolades he gets. He has put in a lot of time on his game. I can attest to how much time he puts in because my son sees him at the course all the time and you can tell. That was a great score.”
Neitzke’s round led the Patriots to sixth place. Forest Lake won the 15th annual event with a team score of 325. All six players on the state’s 12th-ranked team shot 86 or better, but its team score was 17 strokes off of last year’s winning score, attesting to the toughness of the course.
Bradley Boldt shot 86 for Pequot, which finished with a team score of 352.
Neitzke shot a 1-over-par 37 on the front nine. One birdie and four bogeys on the back nine led him to a 79.
“I just wanted to hit fairways and hit the center of the green,” said Neitzke. “This is only my second time playing here. I’m not really surprised at my score. Kind of, but at the same time not really.”
Neitzke said his entire game was working for him, but his new putter may have been the key.
“I switched to the new putter my dad got me about a year ago,” he said. “For some reason I just felt confident with it and judged what I thought it would be and then hit it and it worked.”
Saul Sasse carded a team-best 97 for Pine River-Backus, which finished 12th.
Pine River-Backus in Subsection 6A tournament at Perham on Thursday, May 22, while Pequot Lakes plays in the Brainerd Invitational at The Preserve in Pequot Lakes on May 22.
Team scores: 1-Forest Lake 325, 2-Fergus Falls 331, 3-Staples-Motley 331, 4-Brainerd 333, 5-Moorhead 338, 6-Pequot Lakes 352, 7-Crosby-Ironton 360, 8-United North Central 366, 9-Park Rapids 378 10-Wadena-Deer Creek 380, 11-Nevis 399, 12-Pine River-Backus 447
Individual medalist: Ethan Neitzke (PL) 76
Other Pequot Lakes results: Bradley Boldt 86, Ethan Neitzke 75, Jackson Goerges 92, Trenton Beyer 98, Hunter Clement 101, Tyson Kramer 107
Pine River-Backus results: Saul Sasse 97, Austin Stockman 102, Troy Staples 124, Nathan Brasel 124, Beau Broom 146
Patriots 2nd on Monday
The Pequot Lakes boys’ golf team finished second and was led by All-Mid-State Conference scorers Jackson Goerges, with an 88, Hunter Clement 87, and Jonah Lelwica 87, at the conference meet on Monday, May 19, at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
Dakota Waverek shot a 2-under-par 70 and leading Staples-Motley to the conference crown.
Saul Sasse was the lone Pine River-Backus representative and he shot an all-conference 88.
Team scores: 1-Staples-Motley 27.5, 2-Pequot Lakes 16.5, 3-Crosby-Ironton 13.5, 4-United North Central 10.5
Individual medalist: Dakota Waverek (SM) 70
Pequot Lakes results: Ethan Neitzke 94, Bradley Boldt 89, Jackson Goerges 88, Trenton Beyer 90, Hunter Clement 87, Jonah Lelwica 87
Pine River-Backus results: Saul Sasse 88