Grand Forks Red River golf posts individual depth while looking to string together wins
West Fargo Sheyenne takes the win at the Grand Forks Central Invite while Grand Forks Red River finishes third and Grand Forks Central finishes fourth.
Grand Forks Red River head coach Nate Olson has seen the depth in his lineup make for tougher decisions in recent weeks.
Players that were regular starters but struggled to open the year have turned their game around and as a result, the team has pushed for a top-three finish in the past three meets.
The Riders' third-place finish in the Grand Forks Central Invite on Tuesday was no different. West Fargo Sheyenne took the win, but blessed with warm weather and good conditions at Grand Forks Country Club, Olson was pleased with what he saw throughout his lineup.
“We brought six other individuals and they don’t score as a team, but within that group, we had two 78s, an 81, another with an 82, an 84 and 86,” Olson said following the tallying of scores, “That would be a good team though. It would probably be almost the fifth-best team here.”
Leading the way for the Roughriders were Zach Hinschberger and Carson Skarperud, finishing with a 73 and 76, respectively.
Coming into Tuesday, Skarperud has been in the top 10 for scoring average in the EDC. The sophomore’s 87 in the first competition of the year was followed by a 77, a 75 and now a 76.
This is coming off a winning performance in Detroit Lakes last week where the Roughriders had six scores on the card at 80 or better. Confidence is running high, which can be tough to balance on the golf course, but Red River has handled it well.
“That was where we turned the corner because we got a win. It’s always going to depend on how the course suits everybody and how they are playing at that moment. There’s a lot of parity,” Olson said.
The top four teams are all in a position to claim victories at each outing. Fargo Davies’ streak was stopped at three by Red River and then Sheyenne on Tuesday. Grand Forks Central has been in a position to grab a victory as well, with multiple second and third-place finishes.
The Knights did not have their best game on Tuesday. Brady McGarry was the low score on the squad with a 73 and put together a hot start out of the first tee.
He opened with a birdie on holes one, three, seven and eight and headed for the turn with a tournament-low -3 after nine holes. Then on the back nine McGarry bogeyed holes 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 pushing his score to plus 1 for the round.
Similarly, the rest of the Knights struggled to keep up at their home course as the day moved along.
“Sometimes I think it’s tough for these kids to hold it together for 18 holes,” said Central head coach Josh Cichy. “You get off to a good start and you’re on a roll, but one speed bump and it can really throw a round off.”
Cichy felt GFCC was in good condition, which is no surprise to a team that practices there regularly, but thought the tough holes such as eight and 14 were especially so.
“We just kind of struggled overall today. When you don’t have things together early on it’s tough to grind on a course like this. It just wasn’t our day,” Cichy said.
To stay in the top half of the leaderboard is always a positive. Now the Knights just need to figure out the magic formula to put together a winning sequence.
McGarry and Joey Kennelly are two of the top EDC individual golfers, based on average, and held positions in the top 10 of the conference individual scoring average, while Carson Seng has also put together solid sub-80 rounds.
As Central has seen, to take a first-place finish there needs to be around four of the six scores close to the 75 range.
“We have to focus a little more. We need to work hard and come with a business-like approach to it and get the job done everyday,” Cichy said.
As for the Grand Forks Central Invite victors, Sheyenne put together a strong scorecard. Sophomore Andrew Wilhelm shot a 72, sophomore Nate Peyerl and senior Layton Bartley shot 73s and senior Ethan Frisch shot a 74.
“Their one and three golfers were their fifth and sixth-best scores, which is great for them,” Olson said of Sheyenne. “They’ve had talent for a lot of years and they’ve had a young team. Now they are all coming of age and I’m happy for them because they’ve been close.”
The next EDC golf meet will be sponsored by Fargo Shanley at Fargo Country Club on Monday, May 17.