Jared Hoppe shot the exact score he wanted Wednesday.
The Brainerd Warriors freshman fired a 75 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids to jump 23 spots from 37th to 14th place in the final round of the Class 2A boys' golf tournament.
Hoppe finished with a two-day total of 154 to tie Cory Blenkush and Jeff Nechas of Wayzata and Peter Deeg of Stillwater.
It's believed to be one of the highest finishes in school history. Since 1988 only Zach Lundbohm (58th in 2003) and Tony Hochmayr (27th in 1988) have advanced to state.
"I don't think he missed a putt from inside six feet," said Warriors coach Brian Wallace. "He made every one. That helps your score so much when you have the confidence to make those putts. He maybe missed two fairways and he just played so steady all day long.
"He hit it to the fairway, hit it to the green and made his two putts and walked away with par."
Because of poor weather conditions, Hoppe didn't tee off until about 2:30 p.m. That didn't affect him. Not much did.
"It probably helped me more than anything," said Hoppe. "It gave me more time to sit and relax."
Hoppe finishes 14th
Key: Putting was the key to Jared Hoppe's final-round 75 in the Class 2A state boys' golf tournament.
Finish: Hoppe tied for 14th.
The same hole Hoppe had a double bogey on in Tuesday's first-round 79, got him again Wednesday, this time only for bogey.
"What was great about that (Wednesday) was he made a nice putt to save his bogey, then the next hole, a par five, he birdies it," said Wallace. "The next hole, another par 3, his birdie putt does a 360 around the cup. He just had great control of his mental game.
"He doesn't let nerves bother him. He doesn't let bad holes bother him. He's got great poise for a ninth-grader."
Hoppe finished second among Section 8, Class 2A players. Only Jon Sauer of St. Cloud Tech topped Hoppe's 154.
"I think I was in the 20s both rounds with the number of putts I had," said Hoppe. "I definitely had the best putting I've had the whole year. I probably hit more greens and I didn't get into one bunker (Wednesday). (Tuesday) I must have been in five.
"I just kept making pars and threw in a couple of birdies. I didn't hit any real bad shots. I didn't miss any little putts so my confidence was good."
Hoppe opened with a front-nine 36, an improvement of three strokes from Tuesday's opening round. He followed that with a 39 on the back, an improvement of one stroke from the first round.
"I feel real good," said Hoppe. "I just hope I can do just as good next year."
Team scores -- 1-White Bear Lake 601, 2-Litchfield 608, 3-Eagan 609, 4-Grand Rapids 628, 5-Alexandria 630, 6-Apple Valley 639, 7-Benilde-St. Margaret's 644, 8-Hastings 673
Class 2A individual champion -- Andy Paulson (White Bear Lake) 69-72--141
Top 10 results -- 2-Joe Schoolmeesters (Litchfield) 142, 3-Ryan Peterson (Eagan) 143, 4-Robbie Kelley (Hopkins) 145, 5-Troy Merritt (Spring Lake Park) 146, 6t-Brandon Hartzell (White Bear Lake) 148, 6t-Theo Frentzos (Elk River) 148, 8-Trent Peterson (Eagan) 149, 9-Matt Schneider (Grand Rapids) 150, 10t-Ben Jensen (Litchfield) 151, 10t-Nate Geiger (Faribault) 151
Warrior results -- 14t-Jared Hoppe 79-75--154
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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