'It's a dream come true': Blooming Prairie's Tommy Braaten wins Class A state golf title
Becker – It was a storybook ending for Blooming Prairie’s Tommy Braaten.
On the final hole of Day 2 action at the Class A state boys golf tournament, the Blossoms’ senior was just over 100 yards from the pin.
With a gentle, yet decisive swing, he managed to drop his shot within five feet of the pin for a birdie attempt.
The rest became history.
With a smooth stroke on his putt, Braaten managed to birdie the final hole of the course to solidify not just his first state title, but the school's first individual boys state golf title Wednesday at Pine Creek Golf Course. He finished the afternoon 10 strokes ahead of Matt Berning from Mounds Park Academy.
“That was absolutely a storybook ending to his career,” commented Blossoms coach Cory Hendrickson. “And it’s so typical of how he plays. He hit his tee shot to a number that he was comfortable with and then sank that approach shot just feet from the pin.”
The storybook ending to the two-day tournament didn’t start his happily as the Blossoms senior would have liked. Despite opening the day sitting atop of the leaderboard with a four-stroke lead, he struggled early with his short game. Starting the on the front nine of the course, Braaten managed to record a pair of bogey on putts that he was converting with ease. However, he would recover to shoot a 37 on the front nine to extend his lead to nine strokes.
“I had a three-footer and I just blocked it,” he added. “For Par on four (hole), just blocked it again, another short one so that was frustrating.”
On the back nine of the course, the Tommy Braaten that managed to break the school’s record for an 18-hole course just a day earlier appeared to be back to his Day 1 form. With a blend of strong drives that led to short putts, the Blossoms senior started to pull away from the pack.
“There aren’t any scoreboards out here, so you never really know where you sit,” he added Saturday. “So I was kind of surprised at the margin at the end.”
Walking the course each day was his family, but one person stood out in particular.
His father, Jay.
Standing back from the crowd, he nervously watched and applauded each move made by his son. On Wednesday, despite seeing that Tommy held a nine-stroke lead before reaching the final nine holes of the tournament, the nerves increased each hole. They seemingly were for nothing as the play on the final hole was the icing on the cake for a championship. Afterward, he noted that there is nothing greater than being able to see his son accomplish a goal.
“It’s a dream come true,” Jay Braaten said following the awards ceremony. “He started golfing when he was three and this was one of his goals. To see any of your children achieve their goal, you’re as proud as can be and I’m sure it’s just the beginning for him. He has a bright future.”
In the fall, Braaten will be attending the University of Colordao-Colorado Springs where he plans to major in professional golf management and business.