Panther golfers elevate their game as weather deteriorates

Freddy Thomas takes first at Tri-State tourney

In golf, how a player performs when conditions are less than ideal tells you more than how he plays when conditions are perfect.

Lakeville North senior Freddy Thomas stepped up his game Saturday as conditions started to deteriorate at the Tri-State Invitational at Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park.

With the wind picking up and rain looming (it held off until after play was completed Saturday evening), Thomas shot an even-par 72. He was one of only two players to match par in the 24-team, 36-hole event; nobody had an under-par round.

That was enough to give Thomas, who shot 77 in Friday’s first round, a tie for first place with Owatonna’s Ted Urch. Thomas earned the first-place medal in a scorecard playoff by making par on Edinburgh USA’s No. 1-handicap hole Saturday. Urch had a bogey on that hole.

Lakeville North also had the best team score of the second day (310) and finished second, three strokes behind Wayzata. The Panthers were in fifth place after the first round.

Freddy’s twin brother Bobby tied for fourth individually with two rounds of 76 and a 152 total.

Lakeville South finished fifth in the team standings, 11 strokes behind Wayzata, and the Cougars’ second-round score of 312 tied for the day’s second best.

“The DePaul coach (Betty Kaufmann) said she likes recruiting Minnesota players because they’re used to playing in the wind,” said North coach Steve Sabetti.

It should be no surprise then that Kaufmann recruited both of the Thomas brothers, who will join the Blue Demons’ program in the fall.

“Freddy and Bobby are used to playing in bad weather, as are all our players,” Sabetti said. “They’re really good about it. They don’t let it get them down, and it seems to make them stronger.”

In the Tri-State Invitational, teams are limited to using five players each day, with the best four scores counting. That gives them less margin for error as opposed to other tournaments that allow six varsity entries, with the top four counting.

Eric Oberg shot 86-81–167, Carter Gidlow had 83-81–169 and Max McGlade finished with 83-91–174. The Thomas brothers, McGlade and Gidlow had the Panthers’ counting scores the first day. In the second round, the Thomas brothers’ scores counted, as did the 81s Oberg and Gidlow turned in.

Lakeville South ninth-grader Tanner Sperling was in his team’s lineup for only the second round of the Tri-State Invitational but turned in the Cougars’ best score, a 74. Phil Thompson, a senior, had a 76 in the second round and Max Redetzke and William Moore both shot 81.

Thompson was the Cougars’ best player over the two days with 81-76–157. Redetzke (78-81–159), Moore (82-81–163) and Trey Sheehan (84-85–169) also played both rounds. Noah Rasinski had a 93 in the first round.

The Lakeville schools dominated the first two South Suburban Conference tournaments, with North winning and South taking second in each. Tuesday’s scheduled conference tournament at Brackett’s Crossing was postponed until May 12, and the final conference tournament is May 14 at Crystal Lake.