Panthers go low, win section title

HASTINGS — Looking up at the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Rochester Century boys golf coach Jeff Wells knew his team faced a tall order during the second day of the Section One, Class AAA meet at Bellwood Oaks Golf Course.

The Panthers trailed top-gun Lakeville North by nine shots heading into Monday’s action. And worse yet, the weather was glorious.

"Usually when you have great weather like this, it makes it almost impossible to make up much ground because all the scores will be low," Wells said.

There were plenty of low scores Monday at Bellwood Oaks. But nobody went lower than Century.

The Panthers picked an outstanding time to play their best round — by far — of the season. They went crazy low, carding an incredible 293 to blow away the field and advance to the state tournament for just the second time in school history. Century’s only other appearance came in 2001, when it won the Class AA state title.


Century beat Lakeville North by 20 shots Monday, easily making up the nine-shot deficit. The Panthers’ two-day total of 605 was 10 better than second-place Owatonna. North sunk to third at 616.

Century’s crazy day included throwing up a pair of under-par rounds and counting four scores of 75 or better.

"The guys, they were simply lights out," Wells said. "There’s no other way to describe what they did today."

Both Michael Klampe and birthday boy Peter Moe stepped up big time for the Panthers on Monday. They both came in with one-under-par 72s.

Klampe said he knew Century, which sported pink polo shirts Monday, was in a tough spot heading into the final round, but he said all the Panthers believed winning was still possible.

"We knew we needed to go low," Klampe said. "To be honest, I just didn’t know if we could all come together at the same time. That’s what I hoped would happen, and I knew it was possible, but we all just managed to get it done at the same time."

Century’s No. 1 player, C.J. Fritcher fired a round of two-over 75, which was the final counting score for the Panthers. As the last Century player on the course, Fritcher said he had no idea where the Panthers stood.

"Nope, no clue coming into 18," he said. "I heard the cheers on 18, but I still didn’t know. I didn’t find out until I got off the course. That’s a pretty crazy round. We knew we needed to go low, and we knew we needed a big round out of Peter Moe, and he gave it to us."


Fritcher struggled a bit with his putter Monday. He also had several pull-hooks off the tee box, which put him in trouble. "I’ve struggled with the pull-hook for a good week now, but I like to joke that I’m better out of the trees than I am out of the fairway," he said.

Chris Captain also played well for the Panthers. He carded a one-over 74.

"Chris has just been on fire lately," Klampe said.

Joining Klampe, Moe, Captain and Fritcher at state will be seniors Zenny Kuzyk and Miles Barnidge.

"It’s going to be awesome to be there as a team; it’s a good chance to bond and just an overall great experience," Fritcher said.

After knocking off the No. 1 team in the state Monday, Klampe said the pink polos might make an appearance at state. "Yeah, it definitely won’t be the last time we wear them," he said. "If we throw up another round like that, who knows, maybe we could win the whole thing."

The Panthers open the two-day Class AAA state meet June 12 at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids.



At Bellwood Oaks GC, par 73

Team scores

Rochester Century 312-293—605, Owatonna 316-299—615, Lakeville North 303-313—616, Winona 320-303—623, Albert Lea 319-320—639, Farmington 326-316—642, Faribault 324-322—646, Red Wing 328-324—652.

Individual state qualifiers

Peter Jones, Owatonna 71-71—142; Freddy Thomas, Lakeville North 73-74—147, Jason Edstrom, Winona 75-73—148, Tom May, Farmington 74-75; Alex Thorson, Austin 78-75—153.

Area results

Century (605):C.J. Fritcher 74-75—149, Michael Klampe 78-72—150, Chris Captain 77-74—151, Peter Moe 84-72—156, Zenny Kuzyk 83-81—164, Miles Barnidge 94-95—189.

Red Wing (652):Blake Westerberg 83-77—160, Matthew Petterson 80-82—162, Jarrett Enevold 83-79—162, Tyler Grove 82-86—168, Zach Sachen 88-86—174, Ross Elford 88-91—179.


Rochester Mayo:Grant Coleman 79-79—158, Alex Fidler 84-75—159, Charlie Berland 82-81—163.

Rochester John Marshall:Bryan Johnson 77-85—162, Cole Donahue 82-82—164, Ben Wageman 84-89—173.

Austin:Alex Thorson 78-75—153, Isaac Christianson DQ.

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