Tigers claim Big Nine golf title

Published 10:30 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

There will be no more talk about competing for the Big Nine Conference title for the Albert Lea boys’ golf team.

Not after the Tigers shot 318 Monday at Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester to finish second at the meet and claim a share of the conference title with Winona.

Albert Lea overcame a slow front nine to hold off Owatonna and claim its first conference championship since 1994 when the Tigers shared the title with Mayo.

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“They were really focused on a championship so they wouldn’t have been satisfied with anything else,” said Albert Lea head coach Riley Worth.

Winona won the tournament with a 310 and Owatonna finished four strokes behind the Tigers. Albert Lea entered the tournament with one conference loss and because Winona beat them Monday the two teams shared the title with two losses.

Seniors Tyler Haaland, Sam Matheson and Tyler Brackey each shot 79 while sophomore Brady Falk shot 81.

The Tigers all started the front nine with scores in the 40s, but rallied on the back nine to finish second. Had the team not recovered, Worth said it’s likely it would have finished in the middle of the pack and missed a chance at winning the conference.

Albert Lea struggled away from Green Lea Golf Course through the early stages of the season, but again showed Monday that it can compete away from its home course and perform well.

“We knew we were a strong home team,” Worth said. “We wanted to be a better road team and we have been in the second half.”

The Tigers play in the Section 1AAA tournament Tuesday to Hastings to play Bellwood Oaks Golf Course.