By Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
The Rogers boys golf season ended with no state entrants as Dylan Kline placed 14th and Luke Bunkers 22nd in the Section 5AAA meet that concluded May 29 at Bunker Hills.
“The season ended as it went for the Royals all year; the top two boys could not both play their best on the same day,” noted coach Dan Bursheim. “Luke had a very nice end to his career with a 76. Dylan was 2-over-par and just missing on some great opportunities on the first nine, and then had trouble on the back.”
Kline shot 74-82-156 in the tournament. He was two strokes off the lead after Wednesday’s 18 holes. Bunkers shot 83-76-159.
Champion was Spring Lake Park’s Pete Sienko with 73-70-143.
Earlier, the team placed seventh in Section 5AAA May 28 while Dylan Kline and Luke Bunkers qualified for Thursday’s second round individually at Bunker Hills.
The Royals shot 326, ending their string of four consecutive championships. The top four of 12 teams advanced to the second round. Those were Blaine 309, Spring Lake Park 313, Maple Grove 319 and St. Michael-Albertville 321.
Kline shot 74, one stroke off the lead, held by Spring Lake Park’s Pete Sienko and Blaine’s Joe Manthis with 73′s. At 76 are Anoka’s Max Savini, Champlin Park’s Anson Kuznick and STMA’s Trey Fessler.
Kline opened with a birdie on West No. 1 and had birdie putts lip out on No. 4, 8 and 9, finishing the nine holes one-under-par. On the East, he kept the par streak going until the No. 4 par 5.
“He got in trouble in the trees right,” reported coach Dan Bursheim, “and then got his approach shot to settle next to a tree root after a nice punch-out shot.”
Kline settled back down to go even par the rest of the way with a birdie on the par 3 No. 7 hole from the fringe and lipping out a par putt on the last hole.
Bunkers shot 83, which got him into a qualifier for advancement. He parred the first bonus hole and earned a spot in the top 16 returning Thursday.
Cruz Martinez shot 84, Taylor Fischer 85 and Sam Suedbeck 86. Freshman Brady Groenwold had a 95.
“Getting to Day 2 would have been a nice accomplishment for the team,” said Bursheim. “They were starting to turn the corner but just could not get four guys to play their better golf on the same day.”
Significant improvement was seen in all of the players back from last year, the coach said.
“Cruz was shooting in the upper 80’s and put up a 73 in a practice round this week. Sam and Taylor were mid-JV team members last year and Brady did not make the team as an 8th grader. We look forward to their improvement and the development of the group of freshmen who love to get out and play the game.”