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Raiders boys golfers are conference champs – again

The Hastings boys golf team has done it again. They were Suburban East Conference champions in 2012. They repeated last year in 2013. And now they’ve won their third straight crown.

They secured the title on Tuesday at Indian Hills in Stillwater. The Raiders had a nine-point lead going into the final 18 holes of play, but points are doubled at the regular season finale.

After the first nine holes of play, that lead had been narrowed considerably, with Hastings holding a one-shot lead over Stillwater, White Bear and Woodbury. On the back nine, though, Hastings turned it on and won going away.

“On the back nine, the boys played extremely well,” coach Pete McGinnis said.

Hastings finished with a score of 303. The team had 15 birdies, 55 pars, 27 bogeys and 27 double bogeys. The team hit 50 fairways and 63 greens in regulation.

“The most important stat is that we keep hitting greens, and today the boys hit the ball off the tee to the yardage they felt comfortable hitting into the greens,” McGinnis said. “The course management led us to another victory and a conference championship. The ability for these kids to move on from a bad shot, stay positive and continue to work on the short game has provided us with three titles in a row.”

Hastings was led by Mark Huneke, who had a 74. He had a 36 on the front and a 38 on the back. He had three birdies, 10 pars and five bogeys. Huneke hit seven fairways and 11 greens and had a team-low of 31 putts. He finished with All-Suburban East Conference honors.

“Mark played with a lot of confidence and made great decisions,” McGinnis said.

Jacob Cooper had a 40 on the front but a 35 on the back to finish with a 75. He hit 12 fairways and 12 greens. He placed second in the SEC and was named all-conference.

“Jacob started the back side with a birdie on 10,” McGinnis said. “He hit a ball out-of-bounds on the back side, but responded with two more birdies to give him a total of five for the day.

Matthew Radke finished with a 76. He started the day with a birdie on the first hole after hitting the flag on his second shot. He had a 36 on the front nine and a 40 on the back. He earned all-conference honors, too.

“Matthew provided the team with a solid round,” McGinnis said. “Today he only hit six fairways but hit 12 greens. He hit some incredible recovery shots to find the greens today. He finished with three birdies, nine pars, five bogeys and one double bogey.”

Sam Otto was the final scoring golfer for Hastings. He had a 78, which included a 40 on the front and a 38 on the back. He earned a spot on the all-conference team as well.

“This could have been a very low round with a number of putts just missing the cup,” McGinnis said. “However, Sam never gave up and made two birdies, nine pars, six bogeys and one double.  Like all the other kids, hit the ball well, fought back and played well.”

Dominick Bacon shot 42 on the front and 37 on the back for a 79. He led the team with 12 pars and getting up and down four times. He was selected for the all-conference team.

“His incredible distance off the tee always gives him a lot of chances for birdies,” McGinnis said.

Nick Tusa shot 41 on the front and 40 on the back for an 81.

He had two birdies, eight pars, seven bogeys and two double bogeys. He hit 10 fairways and nine greens.

Hastings will play in a tournament at the Preserve in Brainerd, and then prepare for sections in Montgomery on May 31 and June 2.