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‘Younger’ golfers fight wind, finish fourth at home tourney

By Sue Sitter - | May 8, 2021

A windy day gave Rugby High golfers a challenge on their home course Thursday, April 29.

Still, many players met the challenge well and used the opportunity to learn, according to Panthers Coach Mike Santjer.

“We have a lot of younger kids this year,” Santjer said of the team. “We only have two seniors actually. So, if they don’t score well enough to play at that varsity meet, then we’ll send them to a JV or junior high meet. They usually get at least one meet a week that they get to go to and one JV meet.”

Rugby finished in fourth place among nine schools participating in the Thursday tournament at the Rugby Golf Club.

Among the most promising varsity players was Bryce Zietz, a seventh grader at Rugby Middle School. Zietz was the top finisher for the Panthers.

Zietz said he’s been golfing for most of his life. “I’ve been out here since I was two,” he said.

Zietz finished with a score of 89, tying him for ninth place with Zach Pfahl of Dunseith.

“My favorite thing about golf is the fun you can have with your teammates and how competitive it can get,” Zietz said. “I wasn’t fighting against the wind,” he added. “There were a couple of holes where it was stopping my ball from going a long distance but it wasn’t really a problem,” he added.

Golfers Robert Dibble and Cole and Dalton Vietz-Reile said they play golf in the spring to help with their accuracy in hockey. All three played for the Bottineau-Rugby Braves in the winter. Dibble, a goalie, graduates this year.

“He’s doing pretty good,” Santjer said of Dibble. “We’re just looking for a little more consistency. He’s a pretty capable golfer; he just hasn’t put together everything and shot the scores that I know he can do. So, we’re looking for some consistency there but he’s a good leader for the team.”

“It was tough today,” Dibble said, adding, “The weather was really windy and it was cold in the morning but I think we did good for the tough conditions.”

“It felt like with seven or eight of the holes you were working against the wind and you had to readjust your shots depending on where the wind was coming from. I got a 91,” Dibble said.

Dalton Vietz-Reile finished with a 92.

“I played a pretty solid game but the back nine was a little rough for me. The wind was pretty breezy. Hole six, we hit out of bounds and it just didn’t go up from there,” Dalton said.

“I think because of the way we swing the hockey stick, it helps with the golf swing, too,” Dalton added.

His twin brother, Cole, finished with a 94 in 22nd place, tied with Panther teammate Jackson Brossart.

“I didn’t do too great. I didn’t do as good as I thought I was going to do. I should’ve done better,” Cole said.

“We have a relatively big region and we have a lot of tough schools,” Santjer said of the competition. “Bottineau’s really tough and they’re the front runner.”

” We’re really young. Our kids haven’t been playing as long as the other schools, but it could be anybody in the race for second,” Santjer added. “That race for second place could very well come down to the last stroke. So, that’s why we get them the best we can and just keep them calm. Mid-season, it’s coming around a lot.”

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