DICKINSON — In both days of the Class A state boys golf tournament, Valley City High School senior Nick Jenson saved his best for last. The last nine, that is.
In both days of the 36-hole tournament, which ended Wednesday at Dickinson’s Heart River Municipal Golf Course, Jenson struggled in the course’s front nine, but was able to make up for it on the back.
“I like the back nine a lot better here, so I knew I’d make some birdies and I did” he said.
He finished with a final score of 155, which tied for sixth place and earned him All-State honors.
He was one of three Hi-Liners who competed at the tournament. Senior and future Valley City State University golfer Ben Sorenson finished with a 160, which tied him for 19th and freshman Jared Lentz tied for 41st with a 167.
In Jenson’s case, the difference between the front and back nine was noticeable.
He said it was the first few holes that tripped him up. He said he finished the Tuesday four over par after the first four holes and was three over after the first five Wednesday.
He nearly made up for his plus three Wednesday, hitting two birdie putts in the final nine, including one on hole 16 that evoked a Tiger Woods-like fist pump, to finish one over par.
He also had several birdie attempt putts that stopped inches short of the hole.
In all, he dropped nine strokes from the day before, in which many of the golfers struggled due to 30-40 mile per hour winds, coach Buff Murray said.
“It was at least a good three-club wind yesterday,” Sorenson said. “For your normal seven iron yardage you were hitting a five iron to the green, so it was pretty tough.”
The wind left bits of debris scattered in the rough but calmed down for Wednesday.
Jenson said though plenty of balls were affected by the wind, he was more affected mentally.
“It’s a big mental part of the game and you’ve just got to battle through it,” he said. “(Tuesday,) through the first nine, I was just losing it mentally. I couldn’t handle it, and the back nine I kind of pulled myself together.
He finished Tuesday with an 83 and hoped to shoot a 75 Wednesday, but struggled with bunkers at points and finished with a 77.
“I was two over my goal, but overall I thought I played decent,” he said.
Lentz, the team’s lone freshman at the state meet, shot an 84 Tuesday and an 83 Wednesday. He said his main issue was his short game.
“The balls were flying good today but I had a couple of extra putts that weren’t falling,” he said.
Murray was pleased with his team’s performance thought it was a good way for the seniors to end their high school careers.
“These guys (Sorenson and Jenson) have both played in state tournaments for probably four years, so they’re probably used to this,” he said. “To have them go out with a good round, that’s good for them.”