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Golf: Eggers, Reber get to play the big-time

In his first season as Rosemount's boys golf coach Greg Gamache got to watch Sam Reber up close for the first time.

Reber's talent was apparent. Yet, something separated Reber when it came to the bigger meets of the season -- a unique ability to focus under pressure.

It's one reason Reber was able to advance to the state high school golf meet this spring as a sophomore.

This summer, in front of professional golfers at one of the premier golf events in the Twin Cities, Reber again showed the ability to handle pressure.

Reber and Rosemount's Becca Eggers participated in the junior pro-am at the 3M Championships last week at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.

Following an even-par 36 in the nine-hole event, Reber and his three teammates won a skills competition to earn a $1,000 scholarship for each high school the students represented.

"It's one thing to stand up hit 100 balls on the practice range, it's another thing to be at the 3M tournament and have all those spectators and stand out on that tee box," Gamache said. "Sam can rise to the occasion. The more pressure there is, the better he plays. It amazes me that he has the ability to do that."

Spending a summer on the golf course would be a dream for many area amateur players. For Eggers and Reber, it's a lot of work -- and a bit of fun mixed in.

The two have played in various tournaments this summer and work at area courses.

With the Champions Tour in town for the 3M Championships at the TPC Twin Cities, Eggers and Reber were allowed to play in the junior pro-am thanks to their accomplishments in the Minnesota Junior Golf Association.

Eggers played in a foursome with golf professional Mark James.

She shot a 41.

"It was a lot of fun," Eggers said. "Playing with Mark James was fun. He helped me with a couple of things in my game, got me to try a few new things."

Reber's 36 helped his foursome, which included pro Mike Hulbert.

"It wasn't a competitive thing, so I wasn't really all that nervous going in," Reber said. "When I stepped on to the first tee box it was a little nerve-wracking, but other than that, it wasn't too bad. It was really fun."

Hulbert's best piece of advice for Reber, fittingly, had more to do with the mental aspect of the game.

"His biggest advice was to have fun," Reber said. "He said, 'Don't get too serious.'"

This week, Reber was headed to Detroit Lakes to play in the Minnesota Golf Association's Junior State Championship at Wild Flower Golf Course. He qualified for the tournament based on his handicap in MGA junior events.

He's also played in American Junior Golf Association events this summer. He played in one earlier at Rush Creek. Due to his performance at Rush Creek, he earned an exemption to play in another AJGA event, and will travel to South Bend, Ind. later this summer.

Reber's just getting as many swings in as possible this summer.

"I'm just trying to improve, trying to get noticed," Reber said. "I like to play."

And when he's not playing the courses, he's tending to them. He's working this summer on the grounds crew of a local course.

"It gives you a whole different perspective on the course," Reber said.

Eggers is sharing her knowledge, working with younger golfers in the Futures Club at Emerald Greens along with Irish girls golf coach Barry Wallin.

She isn't playing as many summer tournaments as she has in the past, but is still staying in the game. She also plans to play next year collegiately as she attends the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

"She enjoys the game and always brought that enjoyment of the game to practices and matches," Wallin said. "She has a really good attitude about getting out and enjoyuing the game, and now she is working with the Futures Club and giving back to the game."

She's able to share a game that allowed Eggers and Reber to play with the pros at one of Minnesota's premier golf events.

No pressure, of course.