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"It's Surreal," Tea Area's Keeton Newborg claims 'A' golf title

Dawn Sahli | South Dakota Public Broadcasting

“It’s surreal! It just feels like what I wanted since I was a kid, since I was watching my brother and all the way from I was a sixth grader until now, it’s just surreal.”

Walking off the No. 18th green on Tuesday afternoon at Moccasin Country Club in Aberdeen, this was Tea Area junior Keeton Newborg’s first reaction to winning the ‘A’ boys state title. It was an accomplishment that he’s had his sights set on for a while.

His brother Kolby was a runner-up in 2017 for Tea Area as well, so it’s safe to say golf is in his family’s blood.

“My parents actually started bringing me out to the course, and my dad would push me in a stroller, since I was one-years old,” explained Keeton Newborg. “So I’ve just always played, and this has been one of my dreams since I was a kid, and it feels so good to accomplish it.”

Last year, Keeton finished tied for 5th at the state tournament at the Madison Country Club. He scored 18-over. This year, he shot +1.

After the opening round on Monday, there was a four-way tie for first with +2 — Dakota Munger of Chamberlain, Trey Hansen of Vermillion, Cooper Girard of Vermillion, and Keeton Newborg of Tea Area. The top-25 after the first day had no score over +9 making this one of the most competitive ‘A’ boys tournaments in recent history.

“I told my coach [Monday], these have to be some of the lowest scores in ‘A’ for a while, because last year what won it was 76-78, this year it was 74-71, so that’s almost an eight shot difference right there,” Newborg exclaimed. “So it’s not that we’re any worse than ‘AA,’ but we definitely have the competition that they do.”

Newborg said his mindset coming into day two was stay calm, and if you have a bad shot, you had to put it behind you right away and move on.

“It wasn’t about beating the person I played with, it was just hitting good shots and trucking along until I got to 18,” said Newborg. “I hit some bad shots, the people in my group hit some bad shots, and we all hit good shots, so it was just a matter of who hit more good shots today.”

Dawn Sahli | South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Keeton finished his second round one-under par, earning him +1 for the tournament. As a junior, he already has his goal locked in for the 2023 state tournament in Rapid City — do it again.

“That’s where my brothers (Kolby) team won state in 2016, so it’s going to be really nice to go out there and try and do this again,” state Newborg.

As for what he plans to do on the ride home, he’s got a plan for that as well.

“It’s going to be the best nap I’ve took, on the way home,” Newborg chuckled.

Vermillion won the ‘A’ boys state tournament team title, their first since 2007. Aberdeen Roncalli took second, Dakota Valley and Sioux Valley tied for third, West Central placed fifth, and St. Thomas More finished in sixth.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.