by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Corey Muenzhuber collected his third consecutive, and by far biggest, tournament medal Saturday, pulling out the Tri-State Invitational crown with 71-76-147 at Edinburg USA in Brooklyn Park.
“It’s been a little bit like a dream. I’d have to say this is the best golf I’ve ever played in my life,” Muenzhuber said, in a story by Mike Fermoyle on the MGA web site,.
Rogers placed third with 311-316-627. Wayzata came out on top at 312-300-612 and Eden Prairie was next with 304-315-619. Elk River placed 14th among 20 teams with 339-334-673.
Muenzhuber won a conference tournament Monday at Monticello with 72 and the Brainerd Invitational on Wednesday with 68 before getting the hat trick at the Tri-State – the most power-packed regular-season tournament in the state, with leading teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota on hand.
“I was very impressed with the way he played this week,” said Rogers coach Dan Bursheim told the Star News. “He showed everyone that finding the fairways and hitting full shots into the greens is the way to score low.”
Rogers senior Jordan Rykal tied for 21st with 81-78-159. Senior Zach Hnath shot 79-83-162, and junior Morgan Rask 80-84-164. Andy Suedbeck shot 82 on Friday and Kyle Korva 79 on Saturday.
Muenzhuber was two strokes behind Eden Prairie’s Max Rosenthal with two strokes left on a cold, wet day. He got an opening when Rosenthal, one group ahead, double-bogeyed No. 17, which has an island fairway and a green surrounded by water on three sides, after a four-iron tee shot into water.
The slender senior capitalized mightily with a four-rescue shot off the tee that went beyond the downhill part of the fairway. He was 175 yards away, from a level lie, and got his approach 20 feet over the water, 18 feet from the cup, then drained the putt for a birdie.
He drove into the bunker on 18 but steered the ball out of the sand within six feet of the cup and sank that one, too, for par.
“Making the one on 17 gave me confidence,” he told the MGA reporter. “I would have liked to make a birdie on the last hole, but I saved the par, and that turned out to be good enough.”
When Muenzhuber and River Falls’ Garrett Loomis shot 71’s on Friday, they were the first two players to beat par at the Tri-State since it moved to Edinburgh from its original home, U of M Bolstad.
His final three-over score was four shots better than the winner last year when the event was played in two days of miserable weather.
Muehnzhuber will be KARE 11’s athlete of the week on Monday, according Bursheim.
The Minnesota-Mankato recruit has been an all-conference player since ninth grade and has placed 10th, 28th and 46th at state the past three years. With current D-I golfers Colton and McCabe Buege on his own team until this year, he had a total of four tournament wins between eighth and 11th grades. This year he was runner-up to another teammate, Jordan Rykal, at the conference opener in Becker before embarking on his three straight victories.
Rosenthal was second with 72-76-148, and Andrew Brandt of Wayzata third with 75-74-149.
Rogers will play at the Purple Hawk Invitational at Cambridge on Monday while Elk River has a conference meet at Rush Creek.