There’s no pause before the response from either Freddy or Bobby Thomas.
As confident and nonchalantly as the Lakeville North senior golfers would roll in a four-foot putt, they give quick answers to the hypothetical question:
Tied for the lead with one hole to play in a tournament, which of the twins hoists the trophy?
“Me,” Bobby said quickly. “Definitely me.”
“Oh, it’d be me,” said Freddy when asked separately, only a little more sheepishly than his brother. “It’d depend on the day, but I’d take my chances.”
Panther coach Steve Sabetti laughed at the question.
“If they’re both playing well, we’re in really good shape,” he said. “That’s what matters.”
That’s been the case just about every time the Lakeville North boys’ golf team has teed it up this season.
Led by the Thomas twins, the Panthers are unbeaten in conference play, having swept all three South Suburban matches. They rank fourth in the Minnesota Golf Association’s team rankings and have picked up a number of impressive tournament victories. One was a dominant, double-digit victory at the Nelson Invitational at Ridges at Sand Creek earlier this spring.
The Thomases have been at the forefront of it all.
“They are two of the best five players in the state,” Sabetti said, “and you get that kind of top-end talent on a team, and have some other guys contribute, you’re going to be pretty hard to beat.”
Freddy is the more consistent of the two, they both admit, rarely prone to high scores. Bobby, who is the bigger hitter off the tee, can make lots of birdies in a hurry.
Freddy was the top-ranked player in the state as of Wednesday. His brother was fourth.
Freddy has a pair of impressive individual victories this season, including the prestigious Tri-City Invitational and the Nelson. But he’s quick to point out that his brother’s game is really rounding into form.
“It just really depends on the year, or time of year, for who’s playing better,” Freddy said. “For the year, I think we’re only separated by two or three strokes total. There’s not a big difference.”
More impressively to Sabetti, both brothers excel on and off the course. He described them as “true student athletes.”
“They’re kids that scored 32 or 33 on their ACT and are really good students,” he said. “It’s always great to have kids like that, because I’ve seen the other end of it, too.”
Their academic success was part of the reason the twins say they chose to both attend DePaul next year. It also gave them the opportunity to play Division I golf together.
Before that, though, the twins are hoping to accomplish a pair of identical goals: team and individual state titles. Of course, at least one of them will come up short.
“We’ve gone head-to-head a lot, and it’s pretty much a tossup,” Bobby said. “It’ll just come down to who’s playing well. Hopefully we both are, and hopefully our team’s right there, too.’’