BHS boys golf: Dale wins thrilling playoff, advances to state meet
After 36 holes and two days of golf at Greystone near Sauk Centre Bemidji junior Trey Dale was tied with two competitors for seventh place at the Section 8-3A individual tournament. Three of the top nine, however, were members of Moorhead's team which won the section team title and they were already assured a trip to the state meet.
Sharing seventh with Dale were state individual champion Charlie Braniff of St. Cloud Tech and Taylor Shuck of Fergus Falls and two of the golfers would qualify for the state tournament.
Because of the tie Dale, Shuck and Braniff would decide the state entrants through a playoff.
"There were three kids playing for two spots and it was the most exciting playoff I've ever watched," said BHS coach Seth Knudson. "There were 50 or 60 people following the playoff and it was tense."
All three golfers were safe after their drives and all three reached the green in regulation. Braniff faced a 20-foot putt and he gave it plenty of pace. The putt hit the hole dead-center but it carried to the back of the cup, bounced into the air and landed a foot away.
Shuck fared better on his birdie attempt as the senior drained a 12-footer.
Dale had eight feet separating him from the state tournament and he didn't waste his opportunity.
"Trey went about his business and made the putt," Knudson said. "And he is going to state."
"I'm going to remember that playoff for a long time," Dale, who shot 76-80-156 over the two days, said. "It was nerve-wracking.
"At the tee I was nervous but figured all I needed to do was make par and I would stay in the race. I didn't want to mess anything up on the first shot of the playoff."
Dale's drive trickled just off the fairway but he had a good lie and only 110 yards to the green.
"It wasn't a big green and the pin was in the middle so I just went for the middle," Dale said.
The shot landed about eight feet away and when he addressed the ball he knew a birdie would send him to state and a missed putt would extend the playoff.
"In my mind I went through all of the scenarios," Dale said. "I knew I could end it right here by making this putt and I wanted to be sure to get it to the hole.
"I was aggressive and that took the break out of it."
The ball found its mark and Dale was headed to Bunker Hills.
"I gave a little fist pump and a little 'Yay'. It was exciting."
In the team competition Bemidji maintained its third-place position after the first day's action. Moorhead won with 607, Buffalo claimed second with 632 and BHS shot 314-333-647.
Tailing the leaders were Brainerd at 658, Fergus Falls at 660 and Alexandria at 672.
Dale shot 76-80-156 over the two days and Max Hazelton finished 82-80-162. Elliot Leinen finished 77-86-163, Jordan Manick 81-87-168, Kodi Craft 80-89-169 and Kaleb Hanson 92-96-188.
"The kids played great golf," Knudson said. "Finishing third is a great accomplishment and seeing Trey make it to state was a great way to end the day."
The Class 3A tournament will be June 14-16.
Section 8-3A Results
Greystone Golf Club
Moorhead 303-304-607, Buffalo 304-328-632, Bemidji 314-333-647, Brainerd 326-332-658, Fergus Falls 320-340-660, Alexandria 326-346-672
State qualifiers: Rustad (Moor) 145, Welle (Moor) 147, Bollant (Buf) 151, Holtan (Buf) 155, Buckellew (Moor) 155, Lubben (Buf) 155, Trey Dale* (Bemidji) 76-80-156, Shuck* (FF) 156
*-won playoff for final state berth with birdies on first playoff hole
Other Bemidji: Max Hazelton 82-80-162, Elliot Leinen 77-86-163, Jordan Manick 81-87-168, Kodi Craft 80-89-169, Kaleb Hanson 92-96-188