Pine Island/Z-M rallies to win fourth consecutive Section 1-2A boys golf championship

May 30—ROCHESTER — Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa had been in this position for three consecutive years, contending for a boys golf section championship in the final round.

The Wildcats won all three of those Section 1, Class 2A championships, one of which ultimately led to a state championship.

Albert Lea had also been in this position, leading a section meet after one round.

A year ago, the Tigers held a four-shot lead over Rochester Mayo entering the final round of the Section 1-3A meet, only to get passed by the Spartans in the final round and watch Mayo hoist the section championship trophy.

Thursday, the same story played out for both teams at Northern Hills Golf Course.

PIZM entered the final round of the Section 1-2A meet relaxed, playing the role of the hunter, trailing Albert Lea by eight shots. The Wildcats caught the Tigers by the turn in the final round, then surged past them over the final nine holes, pulling away for a 12-shot victory and a fourth consecutive trip to the Class 2A state meet.

"It wasn't a big difference for us today (from Wednesday)," PIZM coach Mark Moran said. "We were slightly more relaxed today, knowing we were behind. To go out and try to chase them down, it was a little more fun than having the pressure (of being the leaders) and trying to hold them off."

The Class 2A state meet is set for June 11-12 at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.

The Wildcats remained patient on Thursday, shooting a 305 as a team, after shooting 307 in Wednesday's opening round. They let Albert Lea come back to them, the Tigers shooting 26 shots worse in the second round than the first. They finished as the section runners-up, with a score of 299-325 — 624.

"We just played really steady both days and (our guys) played great down the stretch today on the back nine. The play there from all of our kids was fantastic."

Collin Fogarty has been around the PIZM varsity for four seasons. He played on a state championship team in 2022 and has watched and learn from some of the best players the program has ever had, including Division I golfer Anders Larson, the senior leader on that 2022 state title team.

Now it's Fogarty's time. He shot 75-74 — 149 this week, rallying from seven shots back after the first round to earn Section 1-2A medalist honors.

"Every bad shot was followed by a couple of good shots," Moran said of Fogarty's section meet. "He really scrambled well when he had to and he was super consistent both days. He hit lots of fairways and lots of greens, and that made life a little easier. When he did have to scramble some, he made the most of those chances, too."

Fogarty, a junior, has been outstanding since the start of the year. Aside from two early season rounds in the 80s, Fogarty hasn't been outside of the 70s. In his 36 holes at the section meet, he had three birdies and 25 pars.

He is one of four Wildcats who watch the leaderboard while on the course, Moran said. When he got to 18 on Thursday, Fogarty knew he could relax, that PIZM had another section title in the bag.

"He has been our most steady player this year," Moran said, "and when he has faltered, he's always come back strong. He's been playing really well the past couple of weeks."

In addition to Fogarty's outstanding play, the Wildcats had three other golfers finish in the top eight individually: senior Cameron Bruns (79-74 — 153, fifth place); senior Garett Sperber (78-76 — 154; tie-sixth place); and sophomore Jag Foster (75-81 — 156; tie-eighth place). Sophomores Josh Scripture (82-85 — 167) and Logan Schurke (82-99 — 181) rounded out the Wildcats' lineup.

That's the group PIZM will take to state, looking to build on last year's sixth-place finish.

"The guys have all taken turns this year being our top scorer in meets," Moran said. "For the first six-eight tournaments of the year, our No. 6 player (in the lineup) scored in the top four. ... Our depth has been one of our best attributes. You can have a really bad day, but we've got somebody to cover you. That's a great feeling as a coach."

The five individuals from the section who qualified for state are Albert Lea's Archie Nelson (68-82 — 150, second place), who led after the first round, and Noah Teeter (74-82 — 156, tie-eighth place); Lake City's Braxton Berlin (73-78 — 151, third place) and Noah Wallerich (75-79 — 154, sixth place); and Lourdes junior Colton Rich (72-80 — 152, fourth place).


Final Round

(At Northern Hills, Thursday)


1. Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 307-305—612, 2. Albert Lea 299-325—624, 3. Lake City 316-323—639, 4. La Crescent-Hokah 318-335—653.


(Top 20)

1. Collin Fogarty (PIZM) 75-74 — 149, 2. Archie Nelson (AL) 68-82 — 150, 3. Braxton Berlin (LC) 73-78 — 151, 4. Colton Rich (Lrds) 72-80 — 152, 5. Cameron Bruns (PIZM) 79-74 — 153, 6t. Garett Sperber (PIZM) 78-76 — 154, 6t. Noah Wallerich (LC) 75-79 — 154, 8t. Jag Foster (PIZM) 75-81 — 156, 8t. Noah Teeter (AL) 74-82 — 156, 10. Carson Harstad (Chat) 77-80 — 157,

11t. Matthew Justice (K-M) 82-76 — 158, 11t. Noah Amundson (Byr) 77-81 — 158, 13t. Charlie Waltman (Stew) 82-77 — 159, 13t. Alex Ratz (LC) 79-80 — 159, 13t. Eli Farris (AL) 77-82 — 159, 16t. Ryan Nutter (L-H) 76-84 — 160, 16t. Ben Rasmussen (AL) 81-79 — 160, 16t. Austin Walker (Stew) 78-82 — 160, 16t. Jack Lundgren (RW) 75-85 — 160, 20t. Jacob Quade (RW) 81-80 — 161, 20t. Bravin Myrvold (FC) 81-80 — 161.