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Litchfield's Thomas is medalist at Benson boys golf meet

<b>Rand Middleton</b> Litchfield junior Matt Thomas eyes his drive on No. 7 (his 17th hole) Saturday at the Benson Golf Club.

BENSON -- The great thing about the stock market and athletics is that there's always tomorrow.

Matt Thomas, a junior playing at the 2-spot on the boys golf team at Litchfield High School, shot a 91 at Hutchinson on Friday, well over his average.

As predicted, the sun did come up on Saturday and Thomas went out and toured the Benson Golf Course in 73 strokes.

The 1-over-par score was enough to win the gold medal at the Benson/KMS Invitational under mostly sunny skies and in a brisk wind. His two-stroke victory over runner-up Colin Bergeson of Dawson-Boyd also helped drive Litchfield to first place in a field of 22 teams.

It was the first invitational win for Thomas, who's been a Dragon regular for three years, but plays behind fifth-year starting senior Andrew Whitchurch in the Litchfield lineup.

So, he was asked, how do you erase 18 strokes from a scorecard overnight?

"Nothing special," he said. "I got a good night's sleep and felt good. I was just trying to hit it straight."

Three bogies and a double bogey were nearly offset by four birdies. After errant shots, he scrambled to save par successfully on his final two holes (Nos. 7 and 8). On the par three eighth, he sank a 20 foot side-hill putt to save par.

Litchfield got another big round from No. 3 Luke Magnuson, who finished at 76. Taylor Olson, No. 2 for Yellow Medicine East, also came in at 76 but the Dragons junior received the bronze medal on a scorecard playoff.

Zach Whitchurch, an eighth-grader, shot an 84 and Andrew Whitchurch, who had a tough day, shot 85 for the 318 total -- 28 fewer strokes than the squad took the day before at the Crow River Country Cub.

Rocori, led by Matt Braunberger's 79, was seven back at 325 followed by Benson 'A' in third with a 342. By far, Litchfield had the deepest team with all six players shooting 87 or better. Alexandria, which took fifth, sent a mainly sophomore junior varsity team.

With freshman leadoff Sam Peterson not on his game, Benson's No. 2, Joe Orr, posted the top score for the host school, an 82, tying for eighth place with three others, including Tyler Jensvold of Yellow Medicine East.

Team scoring

(1) Litchfield 318 (2) Rocori 325 (3) Benson 'A' 342 (4) Yellow Medicine East 347 (5) Alexandria JV 349 (6) Dawson-Boyd 356 (7) Wabasso 357 (8) Morris 361 (9) Redwood Valley 363 (10) Albany 366 (11) MACCRAY 368 (12) Sauk Centre 370 (13) Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 373 (14) Montevideo 382 (15) Minneota 384 (17) tie, Benson 'B' and Osakis, each 412 (19) Lakeview 415 (20) tie, Lac qui Parle Valley and Renville County West, each 429 (22) BOLD incomplete


TOP 12 - (1) Matt Thomas, Lit, 73 (2) Colin Bergeson, DB, 75 (3) Luke Magnuson, Lit, 76 (4) Taylor Olson, YME, 76 (5) Matt Braunberger, Roc, 79 (6) Robert Reichel, Roc, 80 (7) Brian Robley, Alx, 81 (8) tie, Joel Bruns, Alb, 82, Joe Orr, Ben 'A', 82; Aaron Hoffke, Roc, 82; Tyler Jensvild, YME, 82 (12) J.T. Radel, RV, 83

Area results

BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - Corey Tonn 90, Matt Goodwin 92, Mike Rodgers 93, Jake LeBrun 98

BENSON/KMS 'A" - Joe Orr 82, Peter Lindblad 86, Sam Peterson 87, Jordan Burns 87

BENSON/KMS 'B' - Zach Mauver 93, Dan Lee 99, Alex Aeikens 100, Jake Tessem 120

BOLD - Eric Hillesheim 85, Hempus Pettersson 90, Jake Erickson 103, Jason Kohout DQ

DAWSON-BOYD - Colin Bergeson 75, Jake Baldwin 84, Tyler Erickson 92, Aaron Lange 105

LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY - Quinn Swenson 92, Adam Weber 100, Justin Hughes 116, Brandon Zinda 121

LITCHFIELD - Matt Thomas 73, Luke Magnsuon 76, Andrew Whitchurch 85, Zach Whitchurch 84

MACCRAY - Zach Hauser 85, Justin Wassink 90, Dean Schroeder 96, T.J. Schroeder 97

MONTEVIDEO - ?Phillip Ward 92, Tyler Sachariason 93, Phillip Peters 98, Ryan Knudson 99, Aric Olson 101

MORRIS AREA - Tyler Miechsner 86, Corey O'Keefe 90, John Nissen 92, Jordan Kolden 93

REDWOOD VALLEY - J.T. Radel 83, Taylor Hengel 89, Adam Hengel 92, Derek Bebeau 99

RENVILLE COUNTY WEST - Tim Maurice 104, Evan Engstrom 105, Blaine Countryman 109, Tyler Bakker 111

YME - Taylor Olson 76, Tyler Jensvold 82, Cory Johnson 93, Jake Sharkey 96