Future Gophers golfer Laorr wins girl’s state 2A title

Also, two future gophers men’s golfers competed. Tyler Lowenstein took third, Patrick Johnston struggled after a season-long bout with mono.

Patrick Johnston of Orono completes at the class AA high school tournament at Ridges At Sand Creek golf course in Jordan, Minn.

Anthony Kwan

Patrick Johnston of Orono completes at the class AA high school tournament at Ridges At Sand Creek golf course in Jordan, Minn.

by Andrew Baker

In six years as a varsity golfer at MinneapolisâÄô Breck School, senior Anna Laorr has made Craig TeikenâÄôs job pretty easy. Like many elite amateur golfers, Laorr âÄî who last week won MinnesotaâÄôs girlsâÄô Class 2A state title âÄî has been playing since elementary school and had her swing more or less down before she ever played a round of high school golf.

âÄúAt the state tournament I didnâÄôt have to say anything to her,âÄù said Teiken, BreckâÄôs varsity girlsâÄô golf coach. âÄúThatâÄôs a coachâÄôs dream.âÄù

For Laorr, who will play for the Gophers next year, this yearâÄôs state title punctuated an extraordinarily successful amateur career. It was her fifth individual appearance in the state tournament, where she finished third last year and fifth the year before âÄî and thatâÄôs just the beginning.

âÄúSheâÄôs a full-time golfer in the summer,âÄù Teiken said of Laorr. âÄú[The] high school seasonâÄôs usually like a warm-up.âÄù

In addition to her perennial mastery of the state tournament, Laorr last year won the Minnesota Junior GirlsâÄô State Championship, the Minnesota Junior PGA Match Play Championship and the Twin Cities Junior Girls Championship, while tying for eighth at the 2010 Minnesota WomenâÄôs State Amateur event and 11th at the 2010 Minnesota WomenâÄôs State Open.

Laorr said match play is her favorite tournament format. In that style of play, golfers compete head-to-head for individual holes instead of cumulative scores. Whoever wins the hole wins a point. The golfer with the most points at the end of a round wins, regardless of total number of strokes.

âÄú[Laorr] loves to beat people,âÄù Teiken said. âÄúSheâÄôs very competitive.âÄù

ThatâÄôs good news for the Gophers womenâÄôs team, which is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, but will lose important senior contributors Teresa Puga, Samantha Sommers, Michele Edlin and Mary Narzisi.

Laorr wasnâÄôt the only future Gopher making noise at this yearâÄôs state tournament.

After leading Wayzata to state team championships in 2009 and 2010 and finishing second individually last year, Tyler Lowenstein led the Trojans to a third-straight team title and tied for third place individually this year.

Like Laorr, Lowenstein has had success on the summer amateur circuit as well, highlighted by a 24th-place finish at last yearâÄôs Minnesota State Open and a career-best round of 8-under-par 64 at the Twin Cities Championship.

OronoâÄôs Patrick Johnston, who will also play for Minnesota next year, was expected to do big things at this yearâÄôs state tournament. However, he has been struggling from the residual effects of mononucleosis, according to his coach Doug Erickson.

After finishing third last year, this year Johnston tied for 35th place at state.

âÄúThis year the mono virus really knocked [Johnston] out,âÄù Erickson said. âÄúIt was something that we had to deal with all year.âÄù

Aside from this yearâÄôs disappointing finish, Johnston, like Erickson and Laorr, has had a stellar career. His biggest attribute though, according to Erickson, is his character.

âÄú[Johnston] probably would have been able to be all-conference this year, but because he wasnâÄôt sure heâÄôd be able to play in all of the matches, he stepped aside and allowed another senior to step in and get the required number of matches so he could get all-conference âĦ that type of character and maturity, you donâÄôt see very often.âÄù