Senior Blake Kahlbaugh of Mahnomen/Waubun entered his final round of high school golf Wednesday with a chance to win a state championship but would need his short game to come through in a big way.

Luckily, it was the strongest part of his game through his final 18 holes at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker. The senior shot a 70 to finish with a combined score of 138, 11 shots ahead of his closest competitors.

“I’ve never had this happen so I’m glad it happened to me now” Kahlbaugh said.

His team, Mahnomen/Waubun, finished in second place behind state champions Mounds Park Academy, to whom Kahlbaugh gave much credit. Mounds Park was led by Dylan Merchant, who finished in a tie for second behind Kahlbaugh at 149, along with Brady Madsen of Maccray.

“Mounds Park Academy is a great team, very strong,” Kahlbaugh said, but added, “I’m proud of our team.”

“We finished second last year and another second place this year is just awesome,” he said. “Hopefully they can keep it going through the years.”

With many players tied atop the leaderboard, Kahlbaugh ran away from the field with his 138.

“I didn’t really realize it until a few holes left and then I started getting nervous” he said.

His overriding emotion, however, was pegged to going out on top.

“It couldn’t have ended any better, I’m just so happy,” he said.