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Fab east-metro foursome plays to win in Duluth

08/18/2013, 12:08am CDT
By AARON PAITICH, Special to the Star Tribune

Four east-metro golfers, led by two Mahtomedi teammates, won big in Duluth.

1st place Indian Hills CC after the 2nd round of the 53rd MGA Jr. Team Championship at the Ridgeview Country Club on Saturday, August 3rd. Left to right, Patrick Conroy, Danny Hoban, Michael Pitcher, and Sam Cowley. Photo by Mark Brettingen/Courtesy MGA


Patrick Conroy wasn’t sure his Indian Hills Golf Club team would qualify for the Minnesota Golf Association Junior Team Championship this summer. Turns out the four-player team eventually won it.

“Going into it, we were just happy to be there,” Conroy said. “Winning it was just an extra plus.”

Conroy, grouped with fellow Mahtomedi product Dan Hoban, White Bear Lake’s Michael Pitcher and East Ridge’s Sam Cowley, didn’t perform exceptionally well in the district tournaments earlier this summer. Only two teams from each district qualify for the championship tournament. The boys were afraid they wouldn’t make it, but they slipped into the second spot in the fourth and final district tournament.

Then they packed their bags for the Ridgeview Golf Club in Duluth, where none of them had played.

It didn’t matter.

The members of Indian Hills, which is located in Stillwater, had a heck of a first day. Conroy led the field by three strokes after shooting a tournament-best 69. Hoban shot a 72 on the first day while Cowley registered a 78. Just the top three scores are counted for each round. Indian Hills was at 219 with the next-best score at 233.

“That gave us a real nice cushion,” Conroy said. “We were playing to win it.”

Hoban shot a 74 on the second day, giving him a 146 overall, jumping him over teammate Conroy by two strokes for medalist honors.

“He’s always playing down the middle of the fairway,’’ Conroy said of Hoban. “He keeps his composure out there, but he has a competitive style to the game that’s very consistent.”

Conroy finished at 148 to make it a one-two finish for Mahtomedi in the tournament. Pitcher shot a 79 to help them secure the junior team championship. Indian Hills had a gross total of 451 strokes, putting them at 31 over par. The second-place group from Ridgeview — playing on its home course — finished 11 strokes behind Indian Hills.

“We had the total package,” Conroy said.

The foursome came together because they all play and practice at Indian Hills. They decided to join up and make a run at the tournament, which just concluded its 53rd year. Hoban and Pitcher just graduated. Pitcher finished tied for 28th at the Class 3A state tournament in June, and his Bears finished seventh overall in the team state standings. Cowley and Conroy will be entering their senior years of high school.

The rivalries and their camaraderie helped put together a championship summer.

“We’re just always up there practicing and building on each other. Just competing,” Conroy said. “I mean, we’re all friends, but we’re a pretty competitive group of guys. I think that helped carry over into the tournament.”

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