SoHi senior finishes 3rd at Alaska State Amateur

While Anchorage’s Greg Sanders was understandably grabbing headlines for winning his 10th Alaska State Amateur title Sunday in Fairbanks, Soldotna’s Shane Sundberg was putting in a very impressive performance as well.

The three-round tournament was held Friday through Sunday at Chena Bend Golf Course. Sanders trailed Jason Aspelund by seven strokes after the first day, but came all the way back to tie Aspelund after Sunday’s round, then won in a sudden-death playoff that lasted six holes.

Both Sanders and Aspelund finished at minus-4 212, while Sundberg was third at 220. That’s notable because Sundberg is still old enough to be a junior golfer. He’s headed into his senior year at Soldotna High School.

Rather than a breakthrough, Sundberg said his finish is just a sign of continued improvement in his game. In early July, Sundberg made it all the way to the round of eight at Alaska State Match Play before being eliminated.

“I feel like I’ve been building to it and putting in the work to build to it,” said Sundberg, the latest product of the successful junior golf program at Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna. “I played very well in the match play and it led to this.”

If anything, Sundberg said it felt like Sunday’s finish came a little late.

“I felt my game last year could have been good enough to get me in the top five,” Sundberg said. “I put my game together a little more.”

Sundberg fired a 2-over par 74 on Friday, which left him tied for fifth with Sanders. After another 74 on Saturday, Sundberg was in fourth place, three shots behind Adam Baxter.

Sunday, Sundberg closed with a 72 to end up beating Baxter by three strokes.

Sundberg said Sunday’s round could have been better. He said that normally, putting is a strength, but he never was able to figure out the bumpy greens in Fairbanks. Sunday, Sundberg said he drove the ball very well and hit a lot of greens in regulation.

“I probably had five or six birdie putts inside 12 feet, but I only made two,” he said.

Sundberg said he’s done with his major tournaments for the summer. He said he’ll hit off a mat in the garage a few times a week this winter with the aim of ticking off more goals next summer.

“I’d love to win the state am or the match play and try to play college golf in the fall,” Sundberg said.

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