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Dedication to the greens: Southland sophomore is state-bound after a summer of hard work

ADAMS — Southland sophomore Max Schmitz is not one to settle for mediocrity.

After shooting a two-day score of a 184 and finishing well below the top score as a freshman, Schmitz dedicated himself to golfing as much as he could over the last summer. That dedication paid off big time for Schmitz, who lowered his two-day score at the Section 1A Meet by 34 strokes just one season later.

On Thursday, Schmitz went from the middle of the pack to the top of the mountain when he took first place at the Section 1A Meet in Willow Creek in Rochester.

“Last year I didn’t do too great at the section meet. I practiced a lot this summer,” Schmitz said. “I worked very hard on it.”

Southland’s Max Schmitz won the Section 1A meet recently to qualify for the Minnesota Class A State Boys Golf Meet. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Schmitz is now the first Rebel golfer to qualify for state since Matt Breitbarth advanced to state and finished 40th in 2011.

Schmitz is hoping to build up some confidence and find more motivation as he will tee off against the best golfers in Class A at Pebble Creek in Becker on June 11 and 12.

“I’m just hoping to get experience this year,” Schmitz said. “I’ve never played that course yet and I’ve just got to take it one step at a time.”

Schmitz learned the game of golf from his parents Alan and Paula Schmitz.

“My parents have opened up doors for me to do what I want to do and it makes it easier,” Schmitz said. “I’ve put in enough practice where I can trust my swing to do what I want the ball to do. I feel confident hitting shots when I need to.”

Southland’s Max Schmitz tees off a shot in practice in Cedar River Golf Course in Adams Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Schmitz was a bundle of nerves down the stretch of the Section 1A Meet, but he was able to edge out Fillmore Central’s Jake Fishbaugher by two strokes to take home the title.

“I knew I had a chance to win it. I felt confident and I knew that I could do it. It is really exciting (to win it),” Schmitz said.

Although he’s still an underclassmen, Schmitz has served as a leader for the Rebels and he’s stayed active in golf throughout the summer by playing in Minnesota Jr. PGA Tour events. He’s gained consistency on the course and he never lets a bad hole keep him down.

“I have a good mentality where I forget about my prior shot when I get up to the next one,” Schmitz said. “It’s a completely different shot and anything can happen.”

Southland’s Max Schmitz works on a putt in practice at Cedar River Golf Course Friday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com