COON RAPIDS, Minn. — Moorhead senior golfer Ian Simonich had an inkling his sophomore teammate Joe Kortan was having a good day at the first round of the MSHSL Class 3A state boys golf championship on Tuesday. Simonich was one hole behind his younger teammate and could somewhat watch him.

Simonich saw Kortan birdie Hole 17 and thought he saw him birdie 18, but wasn’t certain. It wasn’t until the older Spud got back to the clubhouse at Bunker Hills Golf Club to record his score that he saw exactly how well his teammate played.

As Simonich suspected, Kortan birdied both holes 17 and 18 — as well as four other holes — as he finished the first round in third place with a three-under par 69. Simonich finished one stroke behind him, tied for fourth with a 70.

“I thought he made a birdie putt on 18, but I didn’t hear any cheers,” Simonich said. “I didn’t know what was going on. When I finished my round, I turned in my card and looked at his score and was like, ‘Holy!’ and his dad was like, ‘I know right?’ I gave him a big smile and a fist bump.”

The two Spuds trail Edina’s Jack Wetzel and Northfield’s Nate Stevens who are tied atop the leaderboard after they each carded four-under 68s. Maple Grove’s Josh Galvin, Buffalo’s Arthur Yitalo, and Farmington’s Kyle Schwamb are tied with Simonich at 70 going into Wednesday’s second and final round.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

“It’s exciting to be in there with Jack and Nate and Joe,” Simonich said. “Those are some really good players.”

Kortan, playing on the state championship stage for the first time, fought through nerves to shoot par on each of his first three holes and then birdied the fourth. That paired with another birdie on Hole 6 helped him to settle down and get into a groove. He finished the day with a grand total of six birdies — Holes 4, 6, 8, 13, 17 and 18.

“It’s a big confidence booster showing I can hang with these kids as a sophomore,” Kortan said. “The first hole I was very nervous. Then after that I kept it steady and the birdies on 4 and 6 really calmed me down.”

Kortan bogeyed the par-4 16th hole, but bounced right back with birdies on the final two holes. He hit his tee shot within a couple feet on the 220-yard, par-3 Hole 17 and just had a short tap-in for birdie.

“I knew I had a long par-3 ahead of me,” Kortan said. “I was just trying to get on the green and take a par. Hitting that close on 17 was a huge confidence boost going into 18.”

The first round of the last tournament of Simonich’s career didn’t start off the way he wanted it to. He bogeyed three of the first five holes. But everything turned around after he eagled Hole 6, which brought him back down to just one stroke over par.

“It was just a mindset change,” Simonich said. “After I made my third bogey on the front, I was like, ‘This is not how I want my last high school tournament to go. There’s no reason to pout.’ I made a couple putts on the back-nine. I made some mid-range putts and that’s what got me going on the back.”

Simonich finished the front nine with a two-over 38. He came out on fire to open the back nine with three straight birdies on holes 10, 11 and 12. Simonich made a big putt to save par after hitting into the trees on Hole 13. He made five consecutive pars on Holes 13 through 17 and closed his round with a birdie on 18.

“It was nice to end the day with a birdie,” Simonich said. “I finally got a decent-length putt to drop. That eagle on 6 really turned it around and got me back on track.”

Park Christian girls in 2nd

Moorhead Park Christian is in second place with a team score of 373 after the first round of the Class 1A girls golf championship on Tuesday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Minn.

The Falcons are 19 strokes off the pace set by first-place Lac Qui Parle Valley, which had a 354 in the first round. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River is in third (385), Adrian is fourth (399) and Fillmore Central rounds out the top five with a 403.

Emily Stueland paced Park Christian with a nine-over-par 81, good for second place. She is three strokes behind leader Isabella Jacobs of LQPV.

Falcons junior Madison Doeden is in eighth place after carding an 89. Seventh grader Kylee West shot a 101 and senior Grace Schmidt shot a 102 to round out the Falcons team score.

Minnesota state golf Round 1 results

Class 3A boys

Bunker Hills Golf Club, Coon Rapids

Team scores

1. Edina 298; 2. Maple Grove 301; 3. Eastview 302; 4. Alexandria 304; 5. Chaska 305; 6. Farmington 306; 7. Mahtomedi 318; 8. Duluth East 348

Top 30 individuals

T1. Wetzel, Edina, 68; Stevens, Northfield, 68; 3. Kortan, Moorhead, 69; T4. Ylitalo, Buffalo, 70; Simonich, Moorhead, 70; Galvin, Maple Grove, 70; Schwamb, Farmington, 70; T8. Renner, Chanhassen, 71; Johnson, Chaska, 71; Rebrovich, Alexandria, 71; Briguet, East Ridge, 71; Meyer, Minnetonka, 71; Roloff, Spring Lake Park, 71; 14. Dimich, Robbinsdale Armstrong, 72; 15. Sladek, Alexandria, 73; Herron, Minnetonka, 73; Gellert, Mankato West, 73; Hamak, Sartell, 73; Temp, Princeton, 73; Rouleau, Farmington, 73; T21. Holland, Elk River, 74; Stoxen, Brainerd, 74; Feterl, Maple Grove, 74; Bjork, Mankato West, 74; Kaste, Eastview, 74; T26. Jacklitch, St. Thomas Academy, 75; Spalding, Woodbury, 75; Honsa, Cretin-Derham Hall, 75; Rohlwing, Eastview, 75; T30. Ordal, Lakeville South, 76; Vue, Forest Lake, 76; Nielsen, Edina, 76; Reller, Eastview, 76; Carlson, Wayzata, 76

Class 1A girls

At Pebble Creek Golf Course, Becker

Team scores

1. Lac Qui Parle Valley 354; 2. Moorhead Park Christian 373; 3. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 385; 4. Adrian 399; 5. Fillmore Central 403; 6. BOLD 406; 7. Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 407; 8. Legacy Christian Academy 407; 9. Braham 412

Top 30 individuals, Park Christian individuals

1. Jacobs, LQPV, 78; T2. Stueland, Park Christian, 81; Halvorson, LQPV, 81; 4. Rinde, BGMR, 84; T5. Omang, Fosston, 87; Goblirsch, Fosston, 87; Hopkins, Hinckley-Finlayson, 87; T8. Barchus, Pine River-Backus, 89; Compton, Legacy Christian, 89; Doeden, Park Christian, 89; T11. Nelson, Ashby, 90; Strunk, Blooming Prairie, 90; T13. Novacek, BGMR, 91; Ewan, Fergus Falls Hillcrest, 91; Johnson, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, 91; Bowyer, Minneota, 91; Clobes, Minnesota Valley Lutheran, 91; T18. Mork, Dawson-Boyd, 92; Guise, Red Lake, 92; T20. Tysdal, Ottertail Central, 93; Ressler, Blooming Prairie, 93; T22. Maurer, Benson, 94; Olson, LQPV, 94; Thell, JWP, 94; Topness, Fillmore Central, 94; Bang, Heron Lake-Okabena-Fulda, 94; 27. Snow, BOLD, 95; T28. Nelson, Legacy Christian, 96; O’Leary, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, 96; Elias, Adrian, 96; Rinehart, JWP, 96; Burmaster, Braham, 96

Additional Park Christian golfers: T43. West 101; T48. Schmidt 102; T74. Stromme 115; 81. Frueh 123

Class 1A boys

Team scores

1. Fertile-Beltrami 321; 2. Sleepy Eye 321; 3. Legacy Christian Academy 323; 4. North Woods 346; 5. West Central Area 350; 6. Benson 351; 7. Lanesboro 359; 8. Adrian 369

Top 24 individuals

1. Petry, Fertile-Beltrami, 70; 2. Erickson, Sleepy Eye, 74; 3. Harrison, Legacy Christian, 74; 4. Finseth, Fertile-Beltrami, 78; 5. Weiss, Sleepy Eye, 79; 6. Steffen, Legacy Christian, 80; T7. Nowacki, Fertile-Beltrami, 81; Frazee, North Woods, 81; T9. Olson, North Woods, 82; Netzke, Sleepy Eye, 82; 11. Stromquist, Legacy Christian, 84; 12. Halcomb, Legacy Christian, 85; 13. Nelson, Sleepy Eye, 86; 14. Kleppe, North Woods, 88; 16. Swenby, Fertile-Beltrami, 92; T17. Ivanov, Fertile-Beltrami, 95; Smith, North Woods, 95; T19. Arneson, Sleepy Eye, 100; Nelson, Legacy Christian, 100; 21. Fabish, North Woods, 101; T22. Schultz, Sleepy Eye, 103; Wald, Legacy Christian, 103; 24. Boutto, North Woods, 116

Class 2A girls

Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan

Team scores

1. Lake City 343; 2. Fergus Falls 359; 3. Minnewaska 362; 4. Providence Academy 365; 5. Pequot Lakes 367; 6. St. Croix Lutheran Academy 373; 7. Fairmont 392; 8. Hermantown 397

Top 30 individuals

1. Belka, Perham, 73; 2. Windhorst Knudsen, Lake City, 75; 3. Bahr, Cannon Falls, 78; T4. Stensrud, Minnewaska, 79; Reinhardt, Le Sueur-Henderson, 79; T6. Thelen, Albany, 80; Krieger, Pequot Lakes, 80; 8. Eckmann, Park Rapids, 81; 9. Gunderson, Stewartville, 82; Petzold, Providence Academy, 82; T11. Jyrkas, Fergus Falls, 83; Soydara, Fergus Falls, 83; Wiebke, Caledonia, 83; 14. Woytassek, Jordan, 84; 15. Dickey, Staples-Motley, 85; T16. Bixby, St. Peter, 86; Fagerlind, Kasson-Mantorville, 86; 18. Budden, Pipestone, 87; T19. Steffen, Minnewaska, 88; Moe, SCLA, 88; Matzke, Lake City, 88; Virnig, Pierz, 88; T23. Schroeder, SCLA, 89; Brown, Redwood Valley, 89; Merchant, Mounds Park Academy, 89; Kennedy, Lake City, 89; 27. Totzke, Fairmont, 90; T28. Showalter, Hermantown, 91; Berge, Lake City, 91; Anderson, International Falls, 91; Maninga, Park Rapids, 91; Monette, Providence Academy, 91; Nelson, Waseca, 91; Jenniges, Redwood Valley, 91