SEU boys tied for the lead

Staff photo by Jeremy Behnke New Ulm Cathedral’s Ethan Kirchberg tees off at the Class A Boys’ golf state tournament in Becker on Tuesday.

BECKER — Sleepy Eye United senior Ben Laffen wants a state championship more than anything in his final year.

By Wednesday afternoon, he might have two.

The SEU boys are tied with Mounds Park Academy for first with a 325 after Day 1 of the Class A state tournament at Pebble Creek. North Woods sits three strokes back with a 328.

Not only is Laffen in position to win a team title, but also an individual title as he currently sits in third with a 71, three strokes behind Bethlehem Academy’s Khrystjan Petersen (68).

For Laffen, it’s a rare opportunity on Wednesday to show why he’s been regarded as one of the best golfers in the state for the last few years.

“It feels great, it’s really encouraging but the team, we aren’t satisfied with how we played today,” Laffen said. “There’s definitely room for improvement and it’s really eye-opening to see that we’re tied for first. We just gotta go out there and play some golf, we can’t worry about a state title yet.”

Sleepy Eye coach Crystal Ibberson said that her team didn’t play its best round on Tuesday and she also knows her team is capable of so much more on Wednesday.

“Toby [Weiss], Logan [Netzke] and Andrew [Neid] all struggled at times, it just seems like all the scores all over the board were in the low 40s,” Ibberson said. “That helps us out a lot, we definitely can shoot better, we had a penalty stroke which definitely cost us and we had some short putts that they normally don’t miss. There’s three teams that can win it, but if [we] come out and play well [Wednesday], we can come out and take this. They’re pretty excited.”

While Laffen is in second individually, he wasn’t completely satisfied with Tuesday’s round.

“It was up and down,” he said. “I didn’t end as good as I would’ve wanted, luckily I ran into some deep putts, on [Hole] 5 I ran in a 30-foot eagle putt and that led to a 15-foot birdie stroke the next hole. That’s three strokes either way, so that boosted me and got me through the day.”

Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Sam Pfingsten is also in the hunt and it’s possible he could emerge as the individual champion, too. Pfingsten shot a 75, which is tied for fourth. Springfield’s Mason Kretsch is tied for 10th with a 77.

Also for Sleepy Eye, Toby Weiss (83), Logan Netzke (84) and Andrew Neid (87) all figured into the team scoring. Parker Landkammer and Thor Weiss each shot a 90.

New Ulm Cathedral’s Ethan Kirchberg shot an 86 and Wabasso’s Jacob Iverson shot a 100 in his first day of competition.

Iverson will tee off at noon on Wednesday, followed by Kirchberg at 12:18, both on the red tees. Kretsch (12:27), Pfingsten (12:36), Thor Weiss (12:45), Landkammer (12:54), Neid (1:03), Netzke (1:12), Toby Weiss (1:21) and Laffen (1:30) will all tee off on the white tees.