In six years as a varsity golfer at Minneapolis’ Breck School, senior Anna Laorr has made Craig Teiken’s job pretty easy. Like many elite amateur golfers, Laorr — who last week won Minnesota’s girls’ Class 2A state title — has been playing since elementary school and had her swing more or less down before she ever played a round of high school golf.
“At the state tournament I didn’t have to say anything to her,” said Teiken, Breck’s varsity girls’ golf coach. “That’s a coach’s dream.”
For Laorr, who will play for the Gophers next year, this year’s state title punctuated an extraordinarily successful amateur career. It was her fifth individual appearance in the state tournament, where she finished third last year and fifth the year before — and that’s just the beginning.
“She’s a full-time golfer in the summer,” Teiken said of Laorr. “[The] high school season’s usually like a warm-up.”
In addition to her perennial mastery of the state tournament, Laorr last year won the Minnesota Junior Girls’ State Championship, the Minnesota Junior PGA Match Play Championship and the Twin Cities Junior Girls Championship, while tying for eighth at the 2010 Minnesota Women’s State Amateur event and 11th at the 2010 Minnesota Women’s State Open.
Laorr said match play is her favorite tournament format. In that style of play, golfers compete head-to-head for individual holes instead of cumulative scores. Whoever wins the hole wins a point. The golfer with the most points at the end of a round wins, regardless of total number of strokes.
“[Laorr] loves to beat people,” Teiken said. “She’s very competitive.”
That’s good news for the Gophers women’s team, which is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, but will lose important senior contributors Teresa Puga, Samantha Sommers, Michele Edlin and Mary Narzisi.
Laorr wasn’t the only future Gopher making noise at this year’s state tournament.
After leading Wayzata to state team championships in 2009 and 2010 and finishing second individually last year, Tyler Lowenstein led the Trojans to a third-straight team title and tied for third place individually this year.
Like Laorr, Lowenstein has had success on the summer amateur circuit as well, highlighted by a 24th-place finish at last year’s Minnesota State Open and a career-best round of 8-under-par 64 at the Twin Cities Championship.
Orono’s Patrick Johnston, who will also play for Minnesota next year, was expected to do big things at this year’s state tournament. However, he has been struggling from the residual effects of mononucleosis, according to his coach Doug Erickson.
After finishing third last year, this year Johnston tied for 35th place at state.
“This year the mono virus really knocked [Johnston] out,” Erickson said. “It was something that we had to deal with all year.”
Aside from this year’s disappointing finish, Johnston, like Erickson and Laorr, has had a stellar career. His biggest attribute though, according to Erickson, is his character.
“[Johnston] probably would have been able to be all-conference this year, but because he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play in all of the matches, he stepped aside and allowed another senior to step in and get the required number of matches so he could get all-conference … that type of character and maturity, you don’t see very often.”
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