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Hastings' Nick Dittrich ties for 30th at state golf tournament

Hastings' Nick Dittrich chips out of the sand on hole No. 9 of the West course at Bunker Hills Golf Club during Day 2 of the Class 3A state golf tournament Wednesday, June 14, in Coon Rapids. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Hastings' Nick Dittrich putts on hole No. 9. Dittrich tied for 30th in his second trip as an individual to the state tournament. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Hastings junior Nick Dittrich tied for 30th this past week at the Minnesota State High School League class AAA boys' state golf tournament held June 13-14 at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids, Minn. Dittrich shot a two-day score of 154, which was about eight strokes off of the medalists and 11 behind the winner from Wayzata, Van Holmgren.

On day one Dittrich struggled a little, shooting a front-nine 41. However, he was able to gather himself and shoot a 38 on the back for a score of 79.

"Day one I felt like I played a little bit too conservative," Dittrich said. "The pins were in some pretty tough spots, so I was trying to hit more toward the middle of the greens. Sometimes when you do that and the pins are in a tough spot, you leave yourself with some tough two-putts. So I three-putted a few times on the first day."

Day two saw him shoot a 75 (36-39), which he said was a result of playing much more loose.

"The second day, I was like 10 shots back so I figured I had to go for everything," Dittrich explained. "Approach shots were a little bit closer to the hole on the second day and it was easier to get around the course that way."

Head coach Pete McGinnis said that he knew Dittrich was struggling a little during day one but applauded how he was able to bounce back on day two.

"I know Nick was frustrated after day one where he shot 79, but he came right back on day two and put together a solid score," McGinnis stated. "Only 15 of the 88 kids shot better than Nick on day two."

As for the course itself and the challenges it provided, Dittrich said that the weather was somewhat of an obstacle.

"The heat was pretty tough to deal with, and it did get windy in spots, but overall I think the course was fair," he said.

One other factor that the state tournament provides is the size of the crowds.

"Playing in the state tournament is always fun, you have more of a crowd around you," Dittrich explained. "I made a couple birdies on the second day and there was a bit of a roar when I made those, so that was fun. You don't get that at any other tournament, you don't get the crowds so that is probably the biggest highlight, having your family and friends there."

For many golfers, those crowds can serve as a distraction, but Dittrich said he treats them the opposite way.

"I kind of like feeding off of them (the crowds) when I'm playing well," he said. "A lot of kids do try to tune them out, but I actually like giving them some looks, some thumbs up, kind of Phil Mickelson like. I love playing in that kind of setting, I think it's super fun."

With two state tournaments under his belt as an individual, and one more high school golf season remaining, Dittrich said he has another goal to accomplish outside of his individual ones.

"The biggest goal next year is to get the team to the state tournament," he said. "I just think that would be super fun, maybe get a hotel up there and hanging out with the guys, going to the banquet as a team would just be fun. So that's my goal next year, to qualify as a team."

As he approaches his senior year, Dittrich is starting to think about college and the prospect of playing collegiate golf. He said he has been contacted by Minnesota State University-Mankato, St. Olaf College and Concordia University-St. Paul, but until now has been concentrating on the season and not given it too much thought.

Dittrich also ends the season having accumulated quite a few accolades. He was named All-Conference for the third time, All-State, was the individual section champion, and won both the Bunker Hills and Don Saatzer invites.

The Hastings boys' golf team also received the All-State Academic Award for their section.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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