Schmitz, McKeeth to compete in AA

JORDAN – Kelton Schmitz will be looking for redemption at the Class AA state golf meet after missing out last year.

Toward the end of last season, Schmitz broke his wrist and was unable to play at the state meet when New Ulm qualified as a team coming out of Section 2AA.

The move to Section 3AA saw New Ulm get beat by 3 strokes to Marshall’s 299 to fall short of a return state berth as a team.

However, Schmitz shot a 2-under 70 at the section meet – held at Oakdale Golf Club in Buffalo Lake – to earn section medalist honors as well as New Ulm’s lone state qualifying bid on the boy’s side for the Class AA state golf meet at Sand Creek in Jordan.

“For Kelton it’s a great situation that he made it his senior year,” said New Ulm boy’s coach Dan Janke. “He made it as a freshman – great way to start his high school career; great way to end it as a senior.

“He’s been a huge part of the team and a huge part of why the team made it last year – even though he didn’t get to play – because of his encouragement.”

Jonah Cooper, a 2012 state entrant as an individual, lost a three-way playoff that decided the final two spots for this year’s state meet. Schmitz, a senior, qualified as an individual in 2011 when he was a freshman.

On the girl’s side, junior Corinne McKeeth will be making her first state appearance after having missed the cut by 1 stroke each of the past two seasons. McKeeth shot an 81 at the section meet to earn the fifth-and-final state berth among individuals, beating out the next-closest golfer by 2 strokes.

McKeeth said her chipping and putting will likely be influential in giving her the best chance to compete at state.

“In past years, it’s kind of gotten me in trouble,” McKeeth said of her short game. “This year I’ve really worked at it and it’s really paid off.”

Janke said a few key facets that will give Schmitz the best chance to compete at state are his accuracy and driving length.

“When he attacks the pin, he has got great accuracy into the greens,” Janke said. “When he was younger the first time he was here, he didn’t hit the ball very far so that made it pretty tough for him on this course, but now he can.”

At the section meet, McKeeth was not too pleased with her first few holes on the day. However, keeping her composure was crucial to finishing out the day strong and earning a state bid.

“It’s pretty important to me; I know I have to keep my calm,” McKeeth said. “It helps that I have my dad [New Ulm girl’s coach Todd McKeeth] there with me.”

The state meet for all three classes will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. The girls in all three classes will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, while the boys will begin at noon. McKeeth tees off at 8:42 a.m. and Schmitz tees off at 1:30 p.m.

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