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Boys' golf: Nugent leads the way again, Panthers and Cardinals finish in bottom half of MBC

Ellsworth's Zach Nugent shot an 11-over-par 83 at the 18-hole Middle Border Conference Tournament on Wednesday, May 16 to tie for first place. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Carter Strand finished in 30th place at the New Richmond Golf Course on Wednesday, May 16 with a score of 101, Prescott's low score of the day. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Ellsworth's Zach Nugent pulled off another first-place finish at the Middle Border Conference tournament on Wednesday, May 16, but the Panthers fell nine points short of finishing in the top half of the 2018 conference rankings.

Nugent said he felt his team's limited amount of practice time hindered its chances of playing to its full potential this season, but that he's happy with his team's improvement from its 2017 sixth-place conference finish.

Nugent shot an 11-above-par 83 at the New Richmond Golf Course on Wednesday to tie for first place with Osceola's Jacob Hall. The senior golfer finished the front nine in 42 strokes then showed a slight improvement with a score of 41 on the final go-around.

Nugent came into his final season as a Panther golfer with a goal of placing in the top-three of the MBC. Now he can check that off of his senior bucket list.

Nugent's first-place finish landed him a second-place overall finish against his MBC competitors. New Richmond's Blake Peterson edged out Nugent by four points to secure the top spot in the MBC individual standings.

"I feel like I'm playing some good golf right now," Nugent said. "Everything in my game is pretty consistent. My putting has been slacking a little bit, but I'm still shooting decent scores."

Nugent told the Herald not scoring points at the season's first meet in New Richmond hurt his chances of finishing as the conference's top golfer, but that he was happy to win his last conference match on a course he wasn't too familiar with.

The Panthers finished in fourth place with a score of 378 at Wednesday's meet. Isaac Kemmerer and Landon Gilbertson both shot 98's, Sawyer Hamilton competed the 18-hole course in 99 strokes, and Sam Thurmes shot a 112 to round out Ellsworth's varsity. New Richmond won their home meet with a score of 346. The Tigers also won the 2018 MBC title by an 11-point margin.

The Panthers shot 189's on both nines.

The Prescott Cardinals finished in last place at the conference tournament with a score of 403. The eighth-place team came out of the front nine with a score of 221 but improved their score by 12 strokes on the back nine.

Carter Strand finished as Prescott's top golfer by shooting a 101 as the 30th-place golfer. Brian Tayson finished right behind Strand with a 103 and 31st-place finish. Ian Waters shot a 108, Pat Haas completed the course in 118 strokes, and George Wazlawik set the Cardinals' final score with a 121.

The Cardinals' eighth-place finish on Wednesday matched their overall conference ranking as they finished with 15 total points, three points behind the seventh-place Somerset team.

Ellsworth and Prescott will now receive a five-day break from competition before they compete at their WIAA regional meet at Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake on Tuesday, May 22 at 9 a.m.

Nugent hopes that his team's allotted practice time after a hectic 2018 regular season will help Ellsworth's chances at Turtleback, where he golfed at sectionals last year.

"If we shoot a low round at Turtleback, we have a great chance at advancing (to sectionals) as a team," Nugent said. "If we don't make it as a team, I want to make it as an individual. Having experience at the course hopefully will give me an advantage."