Rhinelander’s Kole Gechas putts on the 17th hole at Eagle River Golf Course during a Great Northern Conference golf Thursday, May 16. Gechas shot 87 to finish ninth on the day and finished tied for 12th overall in the final conference standings. (Brett LaBore/Lakeland Times)
5/18/2019 7:30:00 AM Hodag golfers take third in final GNC leg, fourth overall
The Rhinelander High School golf team matched its best rounds of the season Thursday but stayed put in the final Great Northern Conference standings.
In windy conditions, the Hodags shot 363 at Eagle River Golf Course to take third in the final round of the GNC tournament. The result kept Rhinelander in fourth place in the final GNC standings, 2 1/2 points behind Antigo, which shot 360 and finished second Thursday.
"Taking third, that was cool," coach Adam Schmidt said. "We ended up taking fourth overall in conference and we were so close. We shot 363, Antigo shot 360 and Mosinee shot 364. I told the boys, '359 we would have got it done.' That's the way she goes."
Rhinelander also locked up two spots on the All-Great Northern Conference team. Nick Twite and Kole Gechas finished tied for seventh and ninth, respectively Thursday, to finish comfortably inside the top 15. Twite finished sixth in the final conference standings to earn second-team honors while Gechas, a freshman, tied for 12th and received honorable mention.
"That was pretty awesome to have Kole come in as a freshman and earn honorable mention," Schmidt said. "I was pretty proud of him. Nick, a senior, getting first place second team, the competition was super stiff. Those Lakeland guys can really play and they shot a lot of low scores. That was good for Nick."
Things were tricky on a day when the wind gusted over 20 mph at times. Schmidt said the wind, coupled with Eagle River's tight, tree-lined layout, made club selection difficult on a number of holes.
"It was like a three-club wind," he said. "We told the guys two clubs and they were still 10, 15 feet short of the hole. You could have clubbed down three ... With the wind, it was just hard to judge. You'd hit and think the wind was in your face and it would be behind them."
Both Twite and Gechas made triple bogeys on the hole but otherwise put together solid back nines. Twite shot 85 which included a 44 on the back nine. Gechas went 44-43 for a round of 87.
"(Twite) struggled a little bit putting," Schmidt said. "He only had 34 putts, but he was missing a few short ones that normally go in. He would get on the green an three-putt. Kole he shot 87. That was good to get him back in the 80s again."
Nick Schiek was Rhinelander's third scorer on Thursday with a round of 94. Freshman Garrett Kulhanek shot 97 and Devon Gaber shot 101.
"Nick (Schiek), that was good to keep him lower. He said he was struggling a little bit with his tee shots but, by the back nine, he had it going on. Garrett shot 97, that was exciting as a 5-man coming in."
Lakeland shot 319 to cap off its second straight perfect GNC season. Kyle Bengtson was the only golfer to break 80 on the day as he wrapped up the conference title over teammates Kaeden and Ansen Nomm.
For Rhinelander, Thursday's round of 363 matched the season best they shot at Bass Lake Golf Club in Deerbrook on Tuesday, an encouraging sign with the playoffs set to begin Tuesday.
"We're shooting our best scores and it's starting to click. It should be exciting going into next week," Schmidt said.
Rhinelander was back at Bass Lake Friday to play a dual meet against Antigo, which essentially served as one final practice round before returning to Bass Lake Tuesday for WIAA Division 1 regional competition.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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