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Newborg individual champ; Vermillion wins team title, Roncalli runner-up at A golf

Keeton Newborg, of Tea Area, looks over the green on the six hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Tuesday’s final round of the South Dakota Class A State Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 10/4/2022

While Vermillion took the suspense out of the team race, there was plenty of drama determining the individual title during the Class A State Golf Tournament on Tuesday afternoon.

Tea Area’s Keeton Newborg built a solid lead, lost it, and then regained at Moccasin Creek Country Club.

Newborg finished with a second round score of 71 and a two-day total of 145 to win the state championship by three strokes.

“Just to win this feels so great,” Newborg said.

The junior owned a four-shot lead before things began to get interesting late in the round. Newborg ran into trouble and Dakota Munger of Chamberlain and Trey Even of West Central took advantage of it.

“I hit an iron off of 14, the par 5, just to try to stay safe and Dakota just absolutely bombed a drive and he put it to within two feet and made an awesome eagle,” Newborg said. “I made bogey, so that was a three-shot swing right there.”

Newborg regained his advantage over Munger two holes later.

“I got to hole 16 with me and Dakota in the same spot. I hit it just right and I made a par and Dakota three-putted and made bogey,” Newborg said. “That’s when I thought that I had it. Then I found out Trey was there.”

Trey Even, of West Central, watches his putt on the fourth hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Tuesday’s final round of the South Dakota Class A State Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 10/4/2022

Even actually caught up with Newborg until running in trouble on the final two holes where he ended up taking a bogey on both. That meant that Newborg just had stay out of trouble on the final hole.

So was he thinking about playing it safe?

Not a chance.

“I don’t play it safe, because on 18 I hit driver,” Newborg said. “Never in my mind would it ever come to play it safe. I always hit driver.”

As a steady rain fell on the final hole, Newborg said he was only focused on one thing as he finished off his championship round.

“All I had was just thinking about hitting good shots. Shot after shot,” Newborg said. “I needed to make par on 18 and I made birdie.”

Even and Munger finished tied for second.

Vermillion, which shot a 304 on Monday, had another solid round of 310 on Tuesday to win the team title by 24 strokes. Aberdeen Roncalli finished second.

“Coming into the tournament we really anticipated that it was going to come right down to the wire,” said Vermillion coach Kirk Hogan. “For the first time the whole year, our team sort of threw it together on one day and what a time to do it.”

Hogan said he told the guys to treat the second round like it was a new tournament despite having a big cushion to work with.

“We talked about just going out and playing for the day,” Hogan said. “This was the second half and to stay focused on playing almost like it was a separate tournament.”

The state title is the first for the Tanagers since 2007. Interestingly enough, Roncalli was also second that year. Hogan said the squad was going to enjoy the accomplishment.

“You better always remember them,” Hogan said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and you don’t get them that often, so you better enjoy them when they come, because they’re far and few between.”

Roncalli continued to build upon its rich golf history with a runner-up finish. The Cavaliers have now finished first three times and second three times since 2002.

Roncalli played well with a two-day total of 638. That would have won the state title by more than 30 strokes a year ago.

“It was just a lot of fun watching the kids today,” said Roncalli coach Jon Murdy.

As they have throughout the season, the Cavaliers featured a balanced attack with all five golfers posting solid scores.

“We’ve been a team by committee this year. I mean we’ve got six guys,” Murdy said. “Jesse (Hernandez), he’ll do well for us next year. Him not making state, he’s determined to be a part of that team next year. So, we’ll have five solid kids again next year.”

Finn Anderson finished eighth to lead the Cavaliers. Lone senior Sawyer Henrich tied for 19th.

“Great kid,” Murdy said of his senior leader. “It’s hard to replace him.”

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Sawyer Henrich, center, starts to take a yardage measurement as he talks to his coach Jon Murdy, back left, on the fourth hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Tuesday’s final round of the South Dakota Class A State Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 10/4/2022

Henrich reflected on the emotions of his final tournament.

“It’s pretty sad, but there’s a lot of young kids on this team,” Henrich said, “so I’m pretty sure we’ll be good for the future.”

Henrich talked about what went through his mind heading to his last hole.

“On 18, I was like I just want to finish off with a birdie,” he said, “but I missed my first putt and made par, so it’s alight.”

Henrich can walk away knowing that he played an instrumental role in one of the state’s elite Class A golf programs.

“It’s cool to look up at the banners,” Henrich said, “and just seeing that you helped to put those numbers up there.”

Groton’s Brevin Fliehs also had a solid tournament finishing in a tie for 12th. He improved his score by seven strokes over the opening round.

“I just was able to make more putts and I just put the ball in play,” Fliehs said.

The sophomore is familiar with the Moccasin Creek Country Club course, because he worked there this past summer.

His performance was the top finish he’s had so far at a state tournament.

“It feels really good,” Fliehs said. “My main goal was just hitting greens in regulation and just trying to create a good score.”

Milbank Area’s Jonathon DeBoer tied for 24th.

To see complete state tournament results, click on the following link:

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