Story by Head Coach Jeff Groth
The Albert Lea Boys Golf team hosted the 2023 Albert Lea Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Green Lea Golf Course and Wedgewood Cove. This was a field that showcased many of the top teams in the state.
Highlighting the event were Spring Lake Park (#3 in the state), Holy Family Catholic (#6), Albert Lea (#10) and Lakeville North (#12). It also featured 4 of the top 20 individuals in the state with Jake Birdwell (#2), Evan Raiche (#12), Max Wolf (#17), Drew Teeter (#19) and Carter Spaulding (#20).
The weather was not very cooperative for the invite but fortunately the teams were able to get both rounds in. Friday at Green Lea was a wet start after all the rain the night before. A few greens had standing water but after some quick maintenance, it minimally affected the boys ability to use the greens. Saturday at Wedgewood was similar as they teed off at 9AM, most of the field got a few holes in before heavy rains, lightning and thunder caused the course to pause the event for an hour to let the weather pass.
After the delay, the teams were able to finish out the round in pretty fair conditions. Winning the event was Spring Lake Park with a combined two day score of 589. Holy Family Catholic came in second with a score of 600 and Albert Lea finished 3rd with 605. The medalist for the event was Jake Birdwell from Spring Lake Park with a two day score of 137 (71 & 66).
Coach Jeff Groth said there were many positive remarks from visiting coaches throughout the weekend. “Many coaches commented on how nice the courses were here in Albert Lea. We have known for a while that we have two high quality courses to offer to visiting teams and this weekend proved that. Even given the poor weather conditions, both courses played fair and we were able to provide players a quality experience. We as a team are extremely grateful for the support shown by both Green Lea and Wedgewood. Both courses provide many opportunities for our team to get better ,whether its range balls or multiple tee times throughout the week. We can’t thank them enough for the role they have played in the success of this team.”
The Tigers will have their final regular season match on Tuesday, May 16th at Wedgewood Cove when they host the Winona Winhawks, Rochester JM Rockets and Big 9 rival Rochester Mayo Spartans. The Tigers currently hold a one point lead over the Spartans for 1st place in the Big 9 Conference.
11 teams competing
1. Spring Lake Park 589
2. Holy Family Catholic 600
3. Albert Lea 605
4. Lakeville North 614
5. Moorhead 615
For Albert Lea, Archie Nelson tied for 3rd with a 145, and Drew Teeter took 6th with a 146