Day two of the North Dakota Class A State Tournament on Wednesday, June 5 saw both of Wahpeton’s golfers shoot 78 on the day. It was the final meet for Tucker Hermes, who was in the state meet last year as well. Bridger Hansen, also a second-time qualifier, still has two years left to move up the leaderboard.
Cole Hanson from Grand Forks Central was crowned champion, shooting scores of 70 and 71 in the two days at Bois de Sioux Golf Course. It wasn’t a surprise the champion came out of the loaded Eastern Dakota Conference.
“There was a point where all six east teams were in the top six of the team tournament, so our conference is really good. That says something about our kids that they’ve got to play at a high level to make it to state and Bridger and Tucker did that,” Wahpeton coach Jeff Ralph said. “Both wanted to finish a little higher, but both played solid all the way around. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Hermes took 30th with a score of 157 in the two rounds. He was pounding the drives and getting on the green no problem, but his putter is what kept his score from dropping.
“On the front nine Tucker had four birdie opportunities anywhere from 14 feet and in. He just couldn’t get a putt to drop,” Ralph said. “He drove the ball pretty well and gave himself some chances, but just couldn’t get a putt to drop on the front.”
Of the two Wahpeton competitors, Ralph said Hermes was the more consistent of the two. That was nothing new for the senior who has been steady all season.
“(Hermes) played well and he played his best golf his senior year. He was the most consistent on our team this year and that’s kind of want you want to see from a senior,” Ralph said. “I’m sure he would’ve liked to have finished in the top 10 and get a medal, but I thought he played pretty darn good golf all year long and got rewarded by getting to go to the state tournament and had a really good experience.”
Hansen, who shot 77 the first day, finished in 25th place. He had some bad luck on multiple holes, which added some big numbers to his score card.
“He again had many opportunities today, but he didn’t find the fairway off the tee a couple times and that hurt him. Getting the ball on the green and making a putt he just seemed a little bit off,” Ralph said. “He played pretty good, too. He’s a kid going into the tournament that was expecting to be in the final two or three groups based on what he did last year.”
Part of what held him back was his aggressiveness in his approach. Ralph chalked it up to Hansen’s youth.
“It was a matter of trying to be a little too aggressive and trying to make a birdie at times where maybe you should just get a par and get out of there,” Ralph said. “He’s only a sophomore so sometimes they try to make something happen instead of playing the golf course and taking what you can get.”
With two trips to state already under his belt, Hansen will be one of the top returning golfers in the state the next two years.
“(Hansen) had a good season, too. He made the state tournament again and shot under 80 both times. That’s what you have to do. If you’re going to be a good golfer you’ve got to shoot under 80 and he showed that,” Ralph said. “I think next year he’s going to be more consistent and that’ll lead to lower scores in tournaments.”