Buboltz and Nelson earn state bids
It was a fitting close for the North Branch boys golf team in a season continuously affected by weather. At the Section 7AAA meet at Grand National Golf Club, the boys squads were only able to fit in 18 holes of play on Monday, June 2, due to rain and lightning delays.
North Branch earned fourth place of 12 teams at the Hinckley course with a score of 306. Andover took the section title with a mark of 303, followed by Duluth East and Forest Lake in a tie for second place at 305.
The Vikings qualified two golfers for the Class AAA state meet. Senior John Buboltz and junior Regan Nelson tied for fifth place with a score of 74 and found themselves in a playoff round with junior Jack Purdy of Duluth East and senior Daniel Massey of Forest Lake to compete for three individual bids to state.
According to head coach Ryan Minke, Buboltz made a “nice par” while Nelson drained a 3-foot putt for par to clinch two of the three bids. Massey earned the other slot with a birdie.
The biggest key for both players was staying in the moment, Minke said, instead of worrying about previous shots or looking ahead to what their scores will be.
“They just played one shot at a time,” he said. “They both did a great job of controlling their emotions during the playoff hole. They were both nervous but never let it show.”
Nelson’s initial score of 74 was a career low.
Sophomore Nick Kress and senior Joey Courtright both earned a score of 79 to tie for 22nd place of 71 golfers to round out the scoring for the Vikings. Sophomore Cole Pearson (90) and ninth-grader Reece Armistead (92) also competed for North Branch on the day.
Buboltz and Nelson were set to compete at the Class AAA state tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids on June 10-11.
Minke said he was excited for both Viking athletes.
“Bunker Hills is a long and tight course. I hope they play well and have fun,” Minke said. “This is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. They are both great kids, and I know they be great representatives of our school and community.”