SPEARFISH — Gabe Dirksen and the Lead-Deadwood Golddiggers will take regional championships into next week’s state A boys’ golf tournament.
Dirksen fired an 18-hole 75 to earn medalist honors Monday afternoon at the Region 4A tournament, held at Spearfish Canyon Country Club. His efforts helped the Golddiggers finish at 334 and top the field by 20 strokes.
“It went better than I expected,” said Dirksen, who topped the field by six shots. “I went in with a positive attitude and did my best.” Spearfish’s Dillon Orth finished second with an 81.
Dirksen said putting worked especially well for him Monday. The first-time regional champion needed only one putt on 11 of his 18 holes to record his best tournament score on this course.
Lead-Deadwood automatically qualified a team for state as the top two teams in the region earn that honor. “I’m proud to be a part of the team,” Dirksen said. “We will be back on Monday.”
Garrett Mack shot an 83 and finished third for the Golddiggers. Teammates Brett Enright (fourth at 84), Cameron Enright (11th at 92), and Brett Mattson (16th at 95) followed.
A golfer must hit straight tee shots at Spearfish Canyon Country Club, Dirksen said, and the greens were fast today. He added he likes the greens in that condition.
Lead-Deadwood head coach Austin Travis said the score was about what the team expected, but the margin of victory was not.
Spearfish carded a 354 for second place; St. Thomas More finished third at 355. Both schools also qualified teams for state.
Travis praised Dirksen, Mack, and Brett Enright for their efforts. The coach said having three golfers earn top-four status is impressive.
“Gabe is playing the best golf of the year at the right time,” Travis said. He said all team members practiced a lot this summer.
Travis said Lead-Deadwood would work on keeping its focus this week. “They know what they are capable of,” he said.
Familiarity with the Spearfish course — which will host next week’s state A tournament — means the Golddiggers will definitely be competitive, Travis said.
Spearfish’s Matt Peterson shot an 86 to finish seventh. Will Storhaug (12th at 92), Jackson Roberts (15th at 95), and Vint Furnish (17th at 97) also competed for the Spartans.
Spartans’ head coach Eric Ligtenberg praised Orth and Peterson for their efforts. He said the team goal for the two-day state tournament is a 36-hole score below 700.
“We know how difficult the course can be for other schools,” Ligtenberg said. “We have a good attitude about it and hope to capitalize on it.”
Belle Fourche qualified three golfers for state. They were Luke Westland (sixth at 86), Will Graves (14th at 94), and Luke Leverington (23rd at 101). The top 25 golfers, plus ties, also advance to state.
Drew Jewett added a 105 for Belle Fourche, which finished fourth at 386.