By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
St. Michael-Albertville golfer Ryan Swenson had an agenda heading into his first state tournament appearance held June 11-12 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.
The senior knew going in that his chances of winning state was a long shot. What he was aiming for was a shot to beat Rocky Nelson of Rogers in the final standings.
Swenson brought his A-game on day one. Only the second STMA boys’ golfer to reach state, the all-conference lefty shot an impressive 39 in the front nine and a 40 on the back for a day one total of 79. His score had him sitting tied for 49th place, but only 10 strokes back of the leader, William Leaf of Winona.
“My goal was to finish in the top 50, but I really wanted to finish ahead of Rocky,” Swenson said. “He and I golf together at Fox Hollow and I was pretty happy when I finished ahead of him after the first day.”
Nelson struggled the opening day shooting an 84 and was tied for 74th place. Only 5-time all-conference golfer Morgan Rask (74) was the only one from Rogers to shoot better than Swenson’s opening round.
As day two and a 7:42 a.m. tee time rolled in, so did the thunderstorms. Swenson struggled out of the gate and then the rains came. Lightning eventually delayed the tournament about an hour and when play resumed, Swenson fell further from the pack and finished the front nine shooting a 43.
“I was actually struggling before the hour delay,” Swenson said. “In day one, I double-bogeyed and bogeyed the first two holes but was able to recover. I wish I had my iron working in day two. Outside of my iron, I was real happy with the rest of my game.”
“He hit the ball real well in day one, but struggled a bit on that second day,” said STMA boys’ head coach Mike Fore. “Ryan’s game isn’t about getting birdies. He has a good mental approach and that results in him getting a lot of pars.”
Swenson finished the tournament tied for 54th place, firing a 41 on the back nine and finishing tied with five others, including Rogers’ Kyle Korva with a final score of 163. Swenson did finish the tournament two strokes better than Nelson’s 165.
Cody Seal of Chanhassen won the Class-3A individual title with a score of 143. Eden Prairie took the team title shooting a team score of 609. Rogers finished eighth with a score of 641.
“It was a proud moment for me to be only one of five guys from our section and only the second boys’ golfer from St. Michael to make it to state,” Swenson said.