Pequot Lakes head coach Steve Stoxen said it before the tournament began.
Despite being a freshman, Tyler Seeling's best quality as a golfer is his composure and mental toughness.
Seeling showed that as he rebounded from an opening round 80 to post a 75 in the final round of the Class 2A State Tournament Wednesday, June 12, at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
His two-day 155 topped the area players and landed Seeling in 15th place in his first ever state tournament.
"They were very even keel after Tuesday's round, both of them," Pequot Lakes head coach Steve Stoxen said about Seeling and Pequot teammate Henry Neva. "They shot 80, 81 and both could have been in the mid to high 70s yesterday, but they just let a few get away from them near the end of the round. They both wanted to come back out today and set the tone.
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Class 2A State Golf
- Team champions: Holy Family Catholic boys and Red Wing girls
- Individual champions: Cecil Belisle of Red Wing and Sophia Yoemans of Red Wing
- Area highlights: Pequot's Seeling, C-I's Finnerty and LF's Abby Turkowski finish in top 20
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"There was a little bit of nerves to begin with for both of them, but Tyler definitely came through in the end. He hit a lot of nice shots and made a lot of nice putts."
Seeling opened with a 37 on the front nine. He ballooned to 3-over through four holes, but birdies on holes eight and nine got him back to 1-over. A birdie on the 343-yard 12th hole got the freshman back to even par, but hole 13 cost him a stroke. Two more bogeys down the stretch propelled Seeling to his second-round 75.
"He made a 4-footer on hole seven to remain 3-over," Stoxen said. "That was kind of a turning point because then he came back for birdie on eight and nine. He chipped in on 11 on a par 3 and then he birdied 12. After 12, he was even after being three over after the first six. That was a nice comeback."
Casey Finnerty had the best opening round of the area players Tuesday, June 11, as he opened with a 79. The Crosby-Ironton senior improved by two strokes as he carded a 77 Wednesday to finish tied for 16th with a two-day 156 in his first state tournament appearance.
"He didn't have a whole lot of problems today," C-I head coach Rich Aulie said. "His ball striking was really good again. His putting, especially his short putting, was spot on again. It was just a solid round.
"I told him that most of the kids that played well the first day do not play as well the second day. That's just typically the way it goes so for him to improve by two strokes that's pretty significant."
Finnerty opened with a 3-over 39 on the front nine. After opening with a bogey, he birdied the 390-yard second hole. A double bogey on the next hole was countered by a birdie on the par 3 fifth hole. A double bogey on six was followed by six straight pars. He posted two bogeys and seven pars on the back to come in at 38 and finish with his 5-over 77.
"On the back nine there are just some holes you can't be aggressive on," Aulie said. "You get aggressive and sometimes you're looking at a big number. Sometimes you just have to play safe. Overall, for the back nine, he played more aggressive today than he did yesterday."
The Little Falls Flyers' Abby Turkowski followed up her opening round 83 with another strong showing Wednesday with an 85. The eighth-grader fired a two-day 168 in her state debut to finish 20th.
What made her round more impressive was the fact she started with a triple bogey 8 on the par 5 10th hole-her first hole of the day. Turkowski settled and was 4-over the rest of her first nine for a 43. On her second nine she recorded three pars and three bogeys for a 42.
Beck Erholtz carded a 2-over 38 on his opening nine Wednesday. The Staples-Motley sophomore finished with seven pars and two bogeys. Erholtz rattled off six straight pars before carding another bogey on the par 3 third hole, his 12th hole. Four more bogeys on his second nine landed him with a second-round 78 and a two-day 159. That was good for 27th place.
Ethan Ballou made the biggest jump as the Flyers senior shaved six strokes off his opening round to card 79 and finish with a two-day 164. Ballou opened with a front nine 39. A birdie on the 404-yard eighth hole helped him remain at 3-over for his first nine. The Little Falls senior birded 13 and 18 as well in his final high school round.
Pequot's Henry Neva struggled on his second round. The junior fired an 87 after opening with an 81. His two-day 168 placed him 57th.
"Henry, to begin with, was just not getting any breaks," Stoxen said. "Other than that I thought he held his composure and did the best he could.
"We're already talking about it, how we need to get a few extra players out to see if we can create a little more depth with our team. We were looking at some of our team scores and we could have been right there. If we can get a little more depth with some of our younger guys and get a few of our other guys to come through this experience that these two guys received could go a long way."
Staples-Motley's Adriana Dickey improved by two strokes from her first ever state round. The Cardinals freshman posted a two-day 192.
Boys Team scores: 1-Holy Family Catholic 620, 2-Detroit Lakes 640, 3-Cloquet 641, 4-Red Wing 653, 5-Blue Earth 654, 6-Hill Murray 658, 7-St. Cloud Cathedral 676, 8-Jackson County 684
Individual champion: Cecil Belisle (Red Wing) 74-69-143
Crosby-Ironton results: 16t-Casey Finnerty 79-77 - 156
Little Falls results: 44-Ethan Ballou 85-79-164
Pequot Lakes results: 15-Tyler Seeling 80-75-155, 57-Henry Neva 81-87-168
Staples-Motley results: 27t-Beck Erholtz 81-78-159
Girls Team scores: 1-Red Wing 646, 2-Minnewaska 647, 3-Detroit Lakes 662, 4-Jordan 698, 5-International Falls 735, 6-Visitational 751, 7-Albany 773, 8-Providence Academy 797
Individual champion: Sophia Yoemans (Red Wing) 69-69-138
Little Falls results: 20t-Abby Turkowski 83-85-168
Staples-Motley results: 61t-Adriana Dickey 97-95-192