STAPLES — Make no mistake, Beck Erholtz and Tyler Seeling want nothing more than to beat the other player.
They’ve battled each other 12 times this season prior to the Mid-Minn Conference championship Thursday, May 27, at The Vintage at Staples. Of the previous 12 meetings, either Seeling or Erholtz came away as medalist 10 times. In nine of those tournaments, the other player was the runner-up.
Thursday marked the 13th meeting between Erholtz, a senior at Staples-Motley, and Seeling, a junior at Pequot Lakes. And yet again it was a first and second finish among the two.
These two have battled all year. In 12 events together. Beck has 7 wins. Seeling 3. Most times the runner up was the other player. pic.twitter.com/WeWIBBxKom— Jeremy Millsop (@JeremyMillsop) May 27, 2021
This time, Erholtz defended his home course with a 4-under 68 to win the event and claim the Mid-Minn individual title. Seeling was second with a 2-under 70.
Erholtz’s 68 combined with a third-place 76 from Adam Oberlander and 86s from Grant Bestland, Isaiah Schultz and Peyton Mithun led the Cardinals to the team win as well as the season-long team title.
Erholtz finished with six birdies, including two on the front helping him to a 2-under 33 through nine holes. He improved to 3-under after a birdie 3 on the 10th hole. A bogey on the 12th hole dropped Erholtz into a tie with Seeling at 2-under. The senior rebounded with birdies on holes 13, 15 and 18 to pull away.
“My driver was the club I felt the most confident stepping up on the tee with,” Erholtz said. “There were a couple of errant wedges here and there. That’s what led to the bogey on 16. Six birdies, you know that’s kind of my game.”
Seeling shot even par on the front, but birdies on 10 and 12 had him at 2-under through 12. He had a shot at birdie on the par 5 16th, but misfired on a chip to settle with par. His approach on 18 also ended up short. Aside from those two shots, Seeling was content with his round.
“I’ll take it,” Seeling said. “Hole three and four kind of beat me up a little bit and so I put the driver away after those holes. I was hitting 3-wood mostly and it just kind of worked out. It was awesome to play a little more aggressively. It was good to finally start making some putts.”
Despite wanting to beat each other, the two have formed a tight bond and have benefited from watching the other's game.
“It’s nice to have somebody to compete against,” Erholtz said. “In the past, it was Brady Raph (of Pine River-Backus) that pushed me to get better. Now, Tyler brings that new atmosphere. He’s a quiet guy like me, who doesn’t say much, but he wants to throttle you deep down inside. We’re both like that. We’re silent killers. He’s got game and it’s good to see that we’re going to have more good players coming in here.
“It also forces our team to play better as a whole. Pequot has pushed us all year long.”
WHITETAIL RUN: Area Boys Golf: Erholtz, Cards win again
Seeling has learned when to play more aggressively by watching Erholtz.
“He helps me so much with my course management,” Seeling said. “He will take risks in the right spots. He knows his way around courses and that’s really helped.
“It’s been really fun because I’ve probably played with him seven or eight times this year. It’s just fun playing with one of your buddies.”
For most of the Mid-Minn season, Frank Meyer has been the third player in the Erholtz-Seeling group. The Crosby-Ironton/Aitkin junior has enjoyed the front-row seat.
“It’s really fun to watch them compete,” Meyer said. “Tyler has really put in a lot of work over the summer and he’s gotten a lot better. They are just both all-around solid players.
“They are really level-headed kids. I’ve played with a few guys that just aren’t like that and they don’t have the consistency.”
Meyer shot an 88 to place 11th Thursday and would like nothing more than to drive the ball like his playing partners.
“I’m pretty crooked off the tee right now so I’d like to hit it a little straighter as they do,” Meyer said. “They just have a lot of distance. I don’t know any high school golfers that hit farther than they do.”
When asked what part of Seeling’s game Erholtz would steal he joked -- everything.
“His ball-striking is phenomenal,” Erholtz said with a laugh. “His short game. That’s always been my least good part is my short game, but his ball-striking is something I wish I could have.”
Pequot Lakes received a sixth-place 85 from Anthony Armstrong and an 86 from Cooper Johnson. That’s how they finished in the final season standings to earn all-conference honors.
Oberlander was third in the final season standings and C-I/A’s Will Meyer was fourth. Will Meyer finished fifth Thursday with an 84 to lead his team to third.
Cole Woods enjoyed his best round of the Mid-Minn season as he fired a fourth-place 79 to lead Wadena-Deer Creek to fourth.
S-M’s Bestland was the final player to earn all-conference honors.
Erholtz is hoping his younger teammates can continue to step up as the Section 6-2A tournament approaches.
“It’s interesting because my swing has not been there all year,” Erholtz said. “I know that. My scoring game has always been something I’ve been good at as far as just being able to get it around. I’m feeling just fine. I know (Blackberry Ridge) pretty well. Hopefully, these younger guys can turn it up a notch and we’ll see where we go.”
Also in that Section 6-2A tournament field will be Seeling.
“I feel really good,” Seeling said. “I feel like my game is in a really good spot right now. My putting has really come along at this part of the season, which is a good time for that to happen.”
Team scores: (Mid-Minn uses top 5 scores) 1-Staples-Motley 402, 2-Pequot Lakes 419, 3-Crosby-Ironton/Aitkin 456, 4-Wadena-Deer Creek 481, 5-Pine River-Backus inc.
Individual medalist: Beck Erholtz (SM) 68
Crosby-Ironton/Aitkin results: Will Meyer 84, Frank Meyer 88, Brody Bodle 89, Luke Severson 97, Tyler Bill 98, James Stokman 101
Pequot Lakes results: Tyler Seeling 70, Anthony Armstrong 85, Cooper Johnson 86, Quady Bernu 89, Isaac Seeker 89, Hunter Nybakken 91
Pine River-Backus results: Joseph Zaczkowski 89, Isaiah Aulie 93, Brady Bristow 94
Staples-Motley results: Beck Erholtz 68, Adam Oberlander 76, Peyton Mithun 86, Isaiah Schultz 86, Grant Bestland 86, Carter White 89
Wadena-Deer Creek results: Cole Woods 79, Kade Woods 91, Aidan Allred 98, Cole Berglund 103, Isaac Christianson 110, Eshetu Loer 111
Final conference standings: 1-Staples-Motley 148, 2-Pequot Lakes 126.5, 3-Crosby-Ironton 85, 4-Wadena-Deer Creek 45.5, 5-Pine River-Backus 42
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Individual: Beck Erholtz shot 68 for medalist and the overall Mid-Minn Conference champion.
Team: With 148 total points, the Staples-Motley Cardinals collected the team championship
Next: Crosby-Ironton/Aitkin in Section 7-2A final at Giants Ridge Tuesday, June 1; Pequot Lakes, Staples-Motley in S-M Invite at Cragun’s Legacy Courses 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 1, Pine River-Backus in Section 6-1A Tournament at Perham June 7-8, Wadena-Deer Creek in Section 8-2A Tournament.