September 27, 2022

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Don’t glance back: Benson starts off powerful, captures Labor Working day Traditional in Worthington

Benson, competing in his fifth consecutive LDC Remaining 4, captured his third match championship with a 1-under par 70. He birdied holes 17 and 18 to finish in design and style on a heat and breezy working day at the GreatLife Golfing and Health and fitness Club.

Jonathan Burns was a distant next with 5-around par 76. Tad Leistico, the 1-time Worthington Large Faculty star now living in Omaha, Neb., who’d received the LDC twice, concluded 3rd with a furthermore-six 77. And Steven Rubis, of St. Paul, shot a 14-around 85.

Benson was even par following the sixth hole, by now two strokes far better than Leistico, four strokes greater than Burns and six strokes superior than Rubis. His competition under no circumstances really produced a sturdy run at the leader as Benson — who counts the Worthington program as one of his favorites — stayed reliable all through. It seemed, for a moment, that Burns could become a threat just after he sunk a 16-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole to pull inside 3 strokes, but he missing a stroke on the 15th and another on the 16th when Benson holed a 9-foot putt for a par.

When Benson, a Jackson Superior University graduate now residing in Chook Island, built a 25-footer from the fringe on 17, there was no denying that this was his day. His birdie on 18 dropped him underneath par — a fitting climax.

Afterwards, Benson mentioned he doesn’t genuinely like placing from the fringe, but he famous that the 17th eco-friendly appeared very speedy and he assumed — rightly — that his putter would serve him well.

“This one’s superior,” Benson said about his 2021 championship. “Any time you can acquire, it is very good. This is 5 in a row Ultimate Fours for me. This is a pleasurable match. This is one you mark on the calendar every 12 months.”

Benson was the only golfer from the 2020 Closing 4 (Max Tykle of Lakeville, Jamie Quesnel of Lakeville and Ben Nath of Luverne ended up the other a few) who returned this yr to the last round of 18. The 34-calendar year-aged, who is the K-12 principal at Daring Large Faculty, created it count on Monday.

“I performed perfectly. There was a stretch in there that I hit some shots that I typically really do not strike,” he explained. “But I felt self-confident. I’ve performed this study course considering the fact that I was a junior (in high university). We’re probably seeking at 16-17 several years I have been actively playing in this tournament.”

Benson’s duration off the tee was amazing. But then, which is normally been one particular of his strengths.

“I hit the ball significantly sufficient on this program that that’s a big edge for me. When I’m 15 or 20 toes beyond anybody, that would make it simpler for me,” he reported.

Nevertheless they could not capture up to Benson, the other three rivals experienced quite a few superior shots on the back again nine, ranging from the monster tee shot Leistico had on No. 13 to the 50-foot putt on 15 that Burns still left only two inches shorter of the hole. Those people had been fantastic for oohs and aahs, but not a title.

Leistico, 47, who figures he’s competed in 29 Labor Working day Classics in his profession, initially burst onto the local golfing scene when he competent for the point out event as a freshman on Don Kuiper’s WHS boys’ workforce. He works now as a gross sales consultant for Srixon and Cleveland Golf, and he retains returning to Worthington hoping to capture lightning in a bottle one particular extra time.

“Just a single of those days,” Leistico reported of his Monday event performance. “It was a large battle on the front 9, hoping I could just keep on to it. Trying to hit some excellent pictures on the back again nine and get again into it.”

Not this time. Maybe subsequent calendar year.