The New Richmond boys golf team is the 2019 champion of the Middle Border Conference, but the season title came with much more drama than expected at the end of the season.
The MBC golf tournament was played at Krooked Kreek Golf Course in Wednesday. New Richmond took third place in the tournament. That gave the Tigers 70 team points for the season. St. Croix Central, which placed second at the tournament, finished second in the final team standings with 67 points.
Osceola won Wednesday’s tournament with a team score of 334. St. Croix Central took second place at 336 and New Richmond was third at 344.
New Richmond sophomore Owen Covey was the medalist in the conference tournament, shooting a 76. Central’s Matt Mueller was second, shooting a 78. Osceola’s Jacob Hall was the overall individual champion for the MBC season.
New Richmond coach Neal Ziller was less than thrilled with how the Tigers finished the season. After winning five of the first six conference matches, the Tigers finished third, second and third in the final three events.
The saving grace for the Tigers on Wednesday was Covey. Over the last week, Covey has found his game, shooting 75 in a match at Chippewa Falls, 72 in a match at Superior and the 76 on Wednesday.
“When we played Chippewa Falls, something clicked for him,” Ziller said. “He started concentrating in putting the ball in the middle of the fairway.”
That has resulted in Covey hitting a high number of greens in regulation in these three matches. The consistency in Covey’s play showed on the back nine at Krooked Kreek, where he finished with eight fours and one five on his scorecard.
Blake Peterson shot an 87 for the Tigers at Krooked Kreek, with Michael Benedict at 89, Max Davis at 91 and Clay Gess at 93.
The strong overall season produced by the Tigers was reflected on the all-conference team. Covey, Benedict, Peterson and Davis all are first team All-MBC golfers, ranking fourth through seventh in the final conference results.
Ziller said the conference will remain strong in upcoming seasons. Peterson and Davis were the only seniors among the top eight golfers in the conference this season.
The Tigers begin WIAA Division 1 tournament action next Tuesday, when they return to Superior to play at the Nemadji Golf Course. The Tigers shot a 314 team score at Nemadji on Monday. Ziller estimated that a team will need to shoot between 308-310 to advance out of next week’s regional meet.
St. Croix Central
Over the final half of the season, the Panthers have been one of the hottest teams in the conference. That continued with their second place finish on Wednesday. By finishing second at the tournament, Central finished two points ahead of Osceola in the overall team standings.
Mueller has developed into one of the top players in the conference this season. After the front nine on Wednesday, he was leading the tournament with a 37. The back nine at Krooked Kreek is considered the tougher half of the course and Mueller shot a 41 on the back nine.
The rest of the Panthers have improved right along with Mueller. Mason Bohatta shot an 82 Wednesday, Jordan Woyda shot an 85, Jacob Sanders shot 91 and Zach Anderson shot 92.
All five Panthers earned All-MBC honors. Mueller finished second in the final overall standings and Bohatta was also in the top 10 to earn first team honors. Woyda, Sanders and Anderson were honorable mention players.
“I am very pleased with the performance,” Central coach Chris Buckel said of the Panthers’ tournament performance. “The boys competed at a high level. We had hoped to catch New Richmond and take first but we’re happy with a second place finish for the season.”
The Division 2 regional meet will be held Tuesday at Bristol Ridge Golf Course in Somerset and Buckel said the Panthers’ goal is to win a regional title.
“Regionals will be competitive. Bristol Ridge is a tough course but we will do our best to prepare,” he said.
The Spartans finished seventh at Wednesday’s conference tournament and they finished seventh in the final overall season standings. The Spartans shot a 444 team score Wednesday. Senior Dominic Abbott again was Somerset’s top finisher, shooting a 96.
Colton Musta, Johnathan Richard and Rory Hoff all shot 116 for the Spartans and Ben Cahanes shot 125. The Spartans didn’t have any golfers earn all-conference honors.
“Some parts of the course proved to be a challenge for my players,” said Somerset coach Todd Myers.
Myers said the highlight of the day for the Spartans was when Richard produced his first birdie in competitive play. It came on the 15th hole after a long drive and an accurate fairway shot, with his chip putting him in position for an easy putt to finish the birdie.
The Spartans will play on their home course for Tuesday’s regional meet. Myers said the team is hoping they can convert the knowledge of their home course into a strong round that will advance them to the sectional tournament.