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Jake Olson leads Watertown to first boys golf team title in 52 years

Tom Plooster
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

For the first time since 1971, the Watertown Arrows are boys state golf champs in South Dakota. Arrows senior Jake Olson, who won the individual title as a sophomore, walked off the 18th green on Tuesday with an impressive six stroke victory.

Olson entered Tuesday with just a one-shot lead, but he quickly extended it with an eagle on the first hole.

“On the first tee shot my motto is to swing hard. I mean, just hope you hit it hard. And I did,” explained Olson. “I hit that one hard, so I didn't have very far in. It was fun to start off with the three.”

Olson shot four under for through nine holes.

“The front nine was a little easier,” Olson said. “The wind hadn't picked up as much yet, so there was some scoreable opportunities out there.”

He shot 69 in round one on Monday, and then shot a 66 on Tuesday. Ironically, Olson says Brandon is usually a course he struggles on.

“Brandon is not one of the courses I usually play good at until my practice round before this tournament I had never broken par here,” he exclaimed. “So it was, it was a good tournament and I'll take it.”

Olson tied for 18th as a freshman, won the event as a sophomore, placed runner-up last year as a junior, and now is back in the top spot as a senior. He’s currently undecided on his future plans with the sport.

“It's just fun because, you know, it's a grind. It's a two-day tournament, which I think is better. I mean, you just know that even if you play bad the first day, you have that opportunity to come back and play better the next,” Olson told.

The Arrows didn’t just leave Brandon with Olson’s individual title. They would also make the trip home with their first boys golf team title since 1971.

Tom Plooster
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Along with Olson winning the individual title for the Arrows, Kaden Rylance finished third (+2), Jaden Solheim tied for 14th (+9), Jonathan Lake tied for 21st (+12), and Ty Lenards tied for 24th (+14). Gabe Norberg tied for 29th (+17) in the contest as well.

“I mean, the guys knew about the drought. It's a long, long time. So, to be able to break that drought with these six guys, it's awesome because I know the work they put in. They're all great young men,” said Watertown boys golf coach Corey Neale. “I'm just super happy for them.”

Watertown had a one stroke lead over O’Gorman after Monday’s round. And while the Knights did take the lead at one point on Tuesday, the Arrows were able to recapture the top spot and win by five strokes when it all ended on Tuesday.

“We started off hot and, but you know, its golf, there's no clocks, you have to finish off the round and so they knew what was going on,” explained coach Neale. “We had a little lull part there in the middle of the [Tuesday] round and then got close to the end. But these guys, they put their heads down. They concentrated on the one swing, and then the next. To be able to put the scores together and make some pars, and to hit some good shots down the stretch, it was huge.”

Jake Olson is the lone senior on this year’s Watertown boys golf team.

For complete results of the 'AA' and 'A' boys state golf championships, click here.

Greg Beesley is a content producer for South Dakota Public Broadcasting
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.