Golfers finish ninth at state

By Jason Ferguson

Blake Martinz waits for his putt to drop in the hole during last week’s Class A State Golf Tournament. Martinz, a senior, finished in 43rd place in his final meet as a Wildcat.

The Custer High School golf team wrapped up its season Oct. 3-4 at the Class A State Golf Meet at Hart Ranch near Rapid City where it finished in ninth place.

The team shot a score of 350-353 703 in the two-day event, led by seniors Cole Conard and Noah Zacher, who finished in a tie for 17th place with score of 166. Zacher shot 85-81, while Conard did the reverse, shooting 81-85.

“Noah played the best he has played all year long,” head coach Paul Kelley said. “Cole medaled at the state meet two years in a row. I can’t remember the last time a (Custer) golfer did that. All in all, to have two kids finish in the top 25 is pretty good.”

Fellow senior Blake Martinz posted the third best score for Custer, firing 87-92 for a total of 178. He was followed by Dustyn Fish at 104-95 199 and Austin Eggers at 97-107 204.

Jacob Lee of Parkston won the tournament with score of 76-77 for a 153. Just behind him was Nick Lust of St. Thomas More at 74-80 154.

In the team race, Tea Area emerged as state champions, with scores of 336-334 670. Tied for second were a pair of Black Hills Conference Schools, as Spearfish and St. Thomas More both finished at 372.

The meet was played in less than favorable conditions, as cold weather and rain accompanied by lightning that was heavy enough to suspend play twice on the first day of the meet, stuck around for the balance of the tournament.

Kelley said he didn’t think the weather affected his golfers much, however.

“Our kids played pretty well. You just have to turn in some really good scores if you want to get up there on the leaderboard,” he said.

Each year the team sets a goal to qualify for state as a team, Kelley said, which it accomplished. And while the seniors hoped to bring home more hardware this year, they still go out with a lot of success, Kelley said.

For instance, Kelley said, Martinz is one of two golfers he can recall having played in six state tournaments during his career.

“They accomplished some things. They are a group we are going to miss,” he said. “And we gained some experience for our younger kids. That’s a positive.”

Fish and Eggers both return next fall and, joined by other younger golfers such as Nick Van Horn, Gunner Prior, AJ Kortemeyer and Jace Kelley, figure to have another team capable of returning to the state meet next October.

“Those guys are going to have to put in some time over the summer if they want to keep things going,” Kelley said.