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Perham boys golf snaps conference drought

Perham's Charlie Rasmussen rips a drive down the middle of the fairway at the Wildflower Golf Course during the HOL Conference Championships. Jason Groth/FOCUS

The Perham boys golf team started their conference season strong, hit a small lull and then closed it out by capturing the 2017 Heart O’Lakes Conference Championship when they finished out the conference schedule at Wildflower Golf Course in Detroit Lakes on May 25.

While the Yellowjackets did not win the final meet of the conference season, they built up a strong enough lead to capture the crown with the final meet. The Yellowjackets finished the day third overall, yet had a big enough points lead to capture the title.

“It feels good to finally after a five year drought,” Perham head coach Mike Kunza said. “The boys didn’t play the greatest at the end but, luckily we played pretty well during the season and played well enough at the end to win. It was good and good for the boys.”

The Yellowjackets edged out defending champion Hawley for the crown. Barnesville was third, while Pelican Rapids, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Frazee and Breckenridge rounded out the field.

“It’s been really enjoyable. We have been in the driver’s seat with scores this whole year,” Kunza said. “It’s been really enjoyable to see the boys play well and continue to put up good numbers. All of their hard work paid off today.”

It was a struggle at the Wildflower golf course as teams had to deal with the already tough layout and strong winds throughout the day. Kunza said the direction of the wind at the course caused havoc on everyone’s game.

Isaac Guck was the top finishing Yellowjacket. He finished fifth overall, coming into the clubhouse with an 85. Charlie Rasmussen was right on his heels, falling in a scorecard playoff, finishing with an 85 for sixth place.

Ben Nelson finished the day with an 86, while Philip Guck came into the clubhouse with a 94. Marcus Belka finished with a 98, while Leighton Rach ended the day with a 104.

“A lot of the boys have put in a lot of time and it’s not that you deserve it, but it’s nice to see that hard work pay off at the end to accomplish one of our goals,” Kunza said of capturing the team title.

The HOL Conference Player of the Year came down to the final day and Hawley’s Carter Justesen captured the crown. It was a close race with him and a trio of Yellowjackets for the top spot. Ben Nelson finished second overall in the conference, followed by Isaac Guck in third and Charlie Rasmussen in fourth place. In all, the Yellowjackets had four members earn HOL All-Conference honors with Marcus Belka finishing the season in 11th place as well.

“It’s nice to have that balance up-and-down the lineup,” Kunza said. “You can count on a variety of different kids to score every meet. It’s really good.”

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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