by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Rogers golfers closed the Buege era with a terrific performance on Wednesday and brought home a state championship trophy, but not without some regrets.
The Royals had to share it with Wayzata, the team that upset them at last year’s state tournament, and Mac Buege just missed the state gold medal he wanted badly, after bogeying the last two holes.
But a state crown is a state crown.
“We almost had a school record score and this is the state tournament,” said coach Dan Bursheim. “Some of the guys were not real happy but it was a good day. Mac has had a great career. We are state champions.”
Royal sophomore Morgan Rask, who placed 15th, said it was “very exciting” to be in the championship hunt again. “We had a lot of fun both days.”
Indeed the Royals and Trojans engaged in probably the hottest-shooting duel in state tournament history as each tallied a 592 score — Rogers with 299 and 293, and Wayzata with 301 and 291.The MSHSL web site lists the team scores back to 2004. Only Eagan with 591 in 2005 was lower in that span.
Whatever Rogers achieves from now on — and four of the top six returns — will have to be done without any Buege’s.
Colton Buege, now a freshman with the Gophers, and Mac Buege, who’ll play at Central Florida, boosted this program –just six years old — to state prominence quickly, with plenty of help from players a year or two younger.
But Mac Buege, who shot 72-72-144 and finished a stroke behind Forest Lake sophomore Max Kelly, could not enjoy the moment at his final high school event, despite bagging a state team title and runner-up medal.
“Terrible. I had a bad last two holes,” said Buege, asked about his feelings, after the team photo was shot.”This is not what I wanted. I am very happy for our team, but I’m disappointed (for myself).”
The Royals had all four counting scores place in the top 15 as juniors Jordan Rykal and Corey Muenzhuber tied for 10th with 149 and Rask tied for 15th with 150.
“Jordan and Corey each had a great day with 73′s,” said Bursheim. “Morgan was solid again; he has been since the Albert Lea tournament (May 13-14).”
Wayzata, copping its third consecutive state crown, was led by Tyler Lowenstein, who tied for third with 146, and Jack Holmgren, seventh with 147.
Wayzata coach Allen Christopherson had no problem with his team sharing the crown with Rogers.
“We are elated to share the title with Rogers — no, that’s a misnomer — to be state champions along with Rogers,” Christpherson said. “There are two great programs and both can say they are state champions.
“Dan and I have known and respected each other for years and we talk often. A new school like that, what they have accomplished this soon is amazing.”
Wayzata is way deeper than Rogers. The Royals found that out in the Albert Lea tournament when Wayzata beat them even with two of their top players at a Detroit Lakes tournament which they also won. But only four scores count at a time and Rogers can hold its own with anyone with Buege, Muenzhuber, Rykal and Rask. Rogers beat Wayzata in the biggest regular-season tournament, the Tri-State Invitational.
Buege, last year’s MGA junior player of the year who’s done well at the national level in his age group, and placed fourth in the state tournament last year, and has been ranked No. 1 all season, lived up to his laurels through 34 holes, standing two-under par going into the final two.
He drove badly on No. 8 and went for a bogey “because I knew I couldn’t make par.”
His drive on the par-four No. 9 was OK, about 75 feet from the cup, but his approach shot didn’t do what he wanted. Intending to get a back-roll with top-spin, he lofted the ball a bit too far, and wound up about 3 1/2 feet outside the green.
“He had a downhill lie and I think he was rally amped up with a big crowd watching and sensing that it could mean a lot,” said Bursheim. “He got caught in the rough and the ball took another bounce.”
From there he chipped seven feet past the cup, and his putt for parr lipped out. He tapped in, which turned out to be one stroke from tying the individual medal and with his team dead even with Wayzata when it was all tallied up.
But Wayzata also missed a chance, as Lowenstein couldn’t sink a short putt on the final hole.
The Royals had four stellar performances at Bunker Hills.
Muenzhuber shot 38-35-73 Wednesday after his 76 on Tuesday.
“My driver was way off today but II was making good putts. I only had one three-putt,” said Muenzhuber, who made five birdies, one of them with a 10-foot putt.
“But I messed up some other holes, too,” he said.
Muehzhuber started with a bogey on East No. 1 but quickly got back to even with two straight birdies.
“Corey’s like that when something goes wrong. He just digs in like a pit bull,” said Bursheim.
Rykal shot 34-39-73 Wednesday after an opening 76. He didn’t bogey until his 13th hole, although he had a double-bogey on the next-to-last hole.
“I was a lot more consistent today,” said Rykal, adding that one highlight was a birdie on West 7 where he used a 60-degree hybrid to get three feet from the cup.
Rask, whose brother Clayton played on a state third-place team for Elk River, shot 75 for the second straight day, 39-35 this time.
He double-bogeyed East 5 when he drove into the water but got the putt down in two tries. Subsequently he notched two birdies. On East 6 “I almost dunked it” — his drive hit the flag and rolled 25 feet away but he nailed the putt. On East 9 his 9 iron got him within 15 feet and he sank a downhill putt.
The golfers gave Rogers its second state championship of the school year, joining the unbeaten girls soccer team. Those are the first two state crowns for the eight-year-old school.
1. Rogers …………… 299-293–592
Wayzata …………. 301-291–592
3. Eden Prairie ……. 299-303–602
4. Moorhead ……….. 303-309–612
5. Eastview …………. 309-308–617
6. Lakeville North … 311-307–618
7. Elk River ………….. 311-315–626
8. Cretin-DH …………. 323-326-649
Top 8 individuals
1. Max Kelly, Forest Lake ………. 70-73–143
2. McCabe Buege, Rogers ……. 72-72–144
3. Jon Dutoit, Chaska ………………73-73–146
Max Tylke, Eastview …………… 75-71–146
Tyler Lowenstein, Wayzata … 74-72–146
Ben Welle, Moorhead …………. 72-74–146
7. Jack Holmgren, Wayzata ……. 74-71–147
8. Drew Lynch, Stillwater ………… 72-77–148
Other Rogers players
10. (tie) Jordan Rykal …………… 76-73–149
10. (tie) Corey Muenzhuber …. 76-73–149
15. (tie) Morgan Rask …………… 75-75–150
66. (tie) Zach Hnath ………………. 83-81–164
80. (tie) Phil Ballard ………………. 80-89–169