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HMS eighth-grader finished in the middle of the pack at the state golf tournament last week

Hastings golfer Matthew Radke placed 46th at the state golf tournament last week in Coon Rapids. The two-day tournament was played at Bunker Hills. It concluded Wednesday.

Radke had a first-day total of 80. He shot a 78 on the second day, thanks in part to back-to-back birdies. He just finished his eighth-grade year at HMS and will be a freshman at HHS next year.

His day-two total was especially impressive considering the weather, coach Pete McGinnis said. Radke played the first 15 holes in the rain.

"It was just incredible," he said. "The thing I was most impressed with was that he

didn't make a double bogey

either day. Thirty-six holes and he didn't make a double. Any time that he got in trouble and was in the trees, he made the right play by getting it into the fairway and getting it up on to the green."

"He didn't play like an eighth-grader. He worked himself around the course and hit the ball where he needed to hit it. I know he would liked to have given himself a few more birdie chances, but he did make back-to-back birdies at one point."

The course played at about 6,600 yards. One of the players paired up with Radke is playing next year at a major college on a golf scholarship. Radke hung right with him, McGinnis said.

"He knows he can play with those kids," McGinnis said. "We talked about, as he gets older, he's going to get stronger and he's going to hit the ball farther. His game will change a little bit at that point.

"Most eighth-graders are playing from the white tees. This competitive level he's at, he's playing at the blue tees. He's got to be fairly accurate off the tee to get it down there in the fairway and to hit those greens."

Radke had a large gallery of family and friends following him around. It was about 50-people deep.

"It was kind of cool," Radke said. "I had a lot of people watching me."

He said he was nervous on the first tee shot, but then just blocked everyone out and kept going. He enjoyed the experience, playing before the biggest crowd to ever see him play.

"I was happy," he said. "On the first day, with an 80, I could have shot better, but I'll take an 80. I just battled through."

Next year, Radke is hoping his teammates will join him at the state meet.

"I want to see if I can get back there with the whole team," he said. "That's the goal. We want to bring the whole team with. It would be more fun. We had the dinner on Monday night, and I was the only one there. I didn't really know a lot of people. It'd be nice to go sit together and eat together."