Athlete of the week: Corey Muenzhuber, Rogers, golf: On fire

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

When the Star News decided to pick golfer Corey Muenhuber as our athlete of the week, we had to get in line.

KARE-11 honored the Rogers senior on Monday, after he won the state’s biggest regular-season tournament, the Tri-State, last  Saturday, his third tournament victory in six days. The Star Tribune made him one of their metro-area picks Tuesday and the coaches association installed him as the No. 1 ranked golfer in Class 3A, up from No. 5 a week earlier.

Those honors apparently didn’t faze Muenzhuber’s concentration. He’s added two more medals since then, giving him five in a row as the Star News takes its turn honoring him.

Corey Muenzhuber won five straight events, including the prestigious Tri-State, before finishing second at Becker on Thursday with a 70. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

Muenzhuber won a conference meet at Monticello with 72 on Monday, April 23, followed by  the Brainerd Invitational with a career-best 68 two days later, beating players then ranked one-two in Class 3A along with the top-ranked 2A golfer.

At the Tri-State, featuring top teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, Muenzhuber shot 71-76–147 last Friday and Saturday at Edinburgh USA to win by a stroke.

“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 after the Tri-State. He added, “I had never been a contender there before (in three trips) but I definitely felt confident going in, after Brainerd.”

Muenzhuber kept rolling with 69 at the Purple Hawk Invitational on Monday in Cambridge, and with another 68 on Tuesday in a conference meet at Fox Hollow, his home course. Muenzhuber, averaging 72.1, saw the streak end Thursday when he shot a 2-under-70 at Becker but Zach Johanns of the Bulldogs came in at 69.

“He has always been in the fairway and right around the greens, and this year he is even better at that, and more confident,” said coach Dan Bursheim.

Muenzhuber had four career tournament wins prior to his recent spree. He averaged 80 in eighth grade, 78 in ninth, 76.5 in 10th, and 75.1 as a junior, but when you play with guys like Colton Buege (current Gopher), Mac Buege (Central Florida) and Derek Brinker (St. John’s), it’s tough to lead your own team, let alone a tournament.

Muenzhuber (it’s pronounced “mens-huber”) has helped the Royals tie for the state championship last year with Wayzata and place second the year before behind Wayzata, along with winning 28 straight Mississippi 8 meets.

This year, Muenzhuber (signed by Minnesota-Mankato) and Jordan Rykal (South Dakota) lead the Royals.

“It’s definitely more on me and Jordan now, without Colton and Mac and Derek shooting 75 or better all the time,” said Muenzhuber. “I’m really enjoying it. We feel we can get back to state.”
A slight 5-foot-9 and 135 pounds, Muenzhuber drives in the 260–270 range and shoots with precision tee to  green.

“He lands within 150 yards and hits an eight or nine iron to get next to the cup,” said Bursheim. “He has been really good out of the sand.”

Muenzhuber credits  his swing coach, Aaron Jacobson of Rush Creek, for “really helping me” reach the next level. It is also nice to have supportive parents: “We went to Hawaii this winter and I golfed one day there, and we went to Arizona, too, where I golfed five days in a row.”

Muenzhuber was  barely 100 pounds when Bursheim called him up to varsity late in his eighth-grade season and the kid won his first tournament, a conference meet at Becker, with a 71 that was his career low until last week.

He was No. 4 player in ninth grade but became RHS’s lone state qualifier with 78-73–151 for fourth place at Section 8AAA. The next year he was sixth on the team with 78 but the Royals won team and advanced. Last year the team won again but he would have qualified anyway with 73 for second place in 5AAA behind Mac Buege.

At state, he placed 46th as a freshman with 81-81–162, 28th as a soph with 75-80–155, and 10th as a junior with  76-73–149. This year, he  might be the one to beat.

THE MUENZHUBER SCORECARD

Corey Muenzhuber

Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents, John and Cathy; brother, Kyle … Sport: golf … Academics: “B” average … College plans: Minnesota-Mankato, golf, major undecided

Favorite stuff – Class:  wildlife biology … TV shows: Discovery, A & E, Animal Planet, especially “River Monsters” … Movie: “Dodgeball” … Food: Subway fare …. Drink: Dr. Pepper, root beer … Athlete: Dwayne Wade, Bubba Watson ….  Team: Miami Heat … Kickback: fishing, bingo at Broadway … Would like to visit: “I haven’t been to California yet. It would be sweet to play Pebble Beach.”

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