Schmitz medals at 2-under, McKeeth earns state bid
BUFFALO LAKE – New Ulm senior Kelton Schmitz took medalist honors at the Section 3AA golf meet on Thursday at Oakdale Golf Club in Buffalo Lake.
Schmitz’s 70, which is officially 2-under par, helped New Ulm to a second-place finish with a score of 302, just 3 strokes behind returning 3AA champion Marshall.
“Today he put it all together,” said New Ulm coach Dan Janke of Schmitz. “He’s been shooting right around 74, 75 a lot of times, right around par because 75 percent of his game was working. Today, he had every part of it working.”
Corinne McKeeth qualified for state on the girl’s side, having shot a personal-best 81 to nab the final individual qualifying slot for the section. For McKeeth, her state berth comes after having missed it two years in a row, each by 1 stroke.
However, McKeeth said her day did not begin as she had hoped.
“I almost started crying on the first hole because I was duffing all my shots,” McKeeth said. “On 15, I was dead-even par on the back side at least. I gathered myself a lot better on the back.”
McKeeth finished the back nine with a 38 after shooting a 43 on the front nine. Her 81 beat Jackson County Central’s Abby Brinkman by 2 strokes.
Julia Schaefer was New Ulm’s only other section qualifier on the girl’s side. She finished with a 113.
New Ulm almost had three state qualifiers, but Jonah Cooper lost in a playoff with Worthington’s Will Mulder and Fairmont’s Mitch Pfingsten. All three shot a 74 with only two state berths available.
“[Cooper] got a little bit nervous and a little bit tight – it just got to him, he didn’t quite make the big shots,” Janke said. “When he plays relaxed like he did out there on the course today, he plays great. When gets a little bit tight, a little bit nervous, he didn’t quite make the shots.”
The New Ulm boy’s team was left to vie for individual qualifying spots because it had been beaten by Marshall, which will send all six of its golfers to state on June 10.
New Ulm qualified for state as a team last year coming out of Section 2AA. However, the switch to 3AA made a return trip to state a little more challenging with Marshall in the way.
“I’d still say [Marshall is] the best team in southern Minnesota – I don’t even know if there’s any AAA teams around here that are better than them,” Janke said. “It’s just great that we are now in as the same category as them. We brought our game up to their level and made a run for it.”
Boy’s team standings
Marshall 299, New Ulm 302, Minnewaska 325, Redwood Valley 335
Girl’s team standings
Minnewaska 326, Marshall 336, Jackson County Central 357, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 385
NU boys (302): Kelton Schmitz 70, Ethan Kraus 79, Tanner Zupfer 91, Colin Huffman 81, Jonah Cooper 74, Peder Johnson 79
NU girls (ind.): Corinne McKeeth 81, Julia Schaefer 113
1. Kelton Schmitz, New Ulm, 70
2. Josh Polingo, Litchfield, 71
t-3. Brent Haukom, Marshall, 72^
t-3. Brett Buckingham, Minnewaska, 72
5. Matt Bennett, Marshall, 73^
t-6. Will Mulder, Worthington, 74
t-6. Mitch Pfingsten, Fairmont, 74
t-6. Jonah Cooper, New Ulm, 74*
1. Jenny Tanu, Minnewaska, 72^
2. Kennedy Sommerfeld, Litchfield, 77
t-3. Hannah Peterson, Marshall, 78
t-3. Jessica Blanchard, Marshall, 78
5. Emily Kim, Fairmont, 80
6. Corinne McKeeth, New Ulm, 81
*Lost in playoff, does not qualify for state
^Qualified as part of team