COON RAPIDS - The state Class 3A meet begins today at Bunker Hills and Bemidji High School golfer Trey Dale is excited to be part of the field for the second consecutive spring.
A year ago as a junior Dale shot 77-75-152 over the 36-36-72 layout and tied for 23rd. This year, however, Dale expects to fare even better.
"Being at the state meet last year will help me this week," Dale said prior to Monday's practice round. "I played Bunker Hills four times last year and I'll have two rounds under my belt before the state meet this year so I have a feel for the course.
"I've also matured as a golfer and I have performed at a higher level this year than last. I think I can do better than last year. I know I can do better than last year," Dale said.
The senior will begin his state meet 12:43 p.m. today on the West Course at Bunker Hills. He will be paired with Dylan Rusk of Edina, Alex Kline of Elk River and Patrick Conroy of Mahtomedi.
His tee time on Wednesday will be determined by today's score.
"Trey is playing very well right now," said BHS coach Seth Knudson. "He is striking the ball well and he's played Bunker Hills often enough to know where driver may not be the best option off the tee and where to best position the ball.
"If he can keep the big numbers off the card he'll do well this week," the coach added.
Dale earned this week's trip to the state meet. After shooting 79 in the first round of the Section 8-3A meet at Greystone, Dale was out of the running for the state meet. He rallied with a 72 on the second day, however, and completed his goal.
"After the first day at sections Trey was bummed but when he came back with a 72 on the second day you could see a bounce in his step," Knudson said.
"My goal now is to play as well as I can," Dale said. "At Bunker Hills you have to play it smart. You must keep your tee shot in the fairway. If you do that you can set up a second shot to the green and have two putts for a par.
"I'm very excited about the state meet," he continued. "I'm ready and I think I can do well."
A trio of area golfers will also be at their state meets today and Wednesday.
In the boys Class 2A meet at Sand Creek in Jordan, Aaron Leintz of Bagley will hit the first tee at 1:10 p.m. Leintz won the Section 8-2A meet last week, nipping Casey Anderson of Warroad by one shot. His group will include Josh Polingo of Litchfield, Jack Riester of Holy Angels and Sam Peterson of Benson-KMS.
In today's Class A boys meet at Pebble Creek in Becker, Cass Lake-Bena's Dakotah Brunelle will have a 1:10 p.m. tee time. He will be paired with Luke Johanson of Southwest Christian, Beau Hanson of Frazee and Cordell Weber of Martin County West.
In the girls Class A state meet, also in Becker, Daisey Mondragon of Red Lake will be in the field. She will hit her first shot at 8:24 a.m.
Mondragon will be joined by Andrea Eye of Mille Lacs, Laynee Cole of Lake Park-Audubon and Allison Deckert of Heritage Christian Academy.