MANKATO — It’s ironic that with the high-school golf season canceled, Leo Gellert is playing more golf than usual.
But that doesn’t mean the spring season has been a lot of fun for the Mankato West junior.
“It kind of sucks,” he said. “We still talk about once a week in Zoom meetings, but I feel bad for the seniors, who don’t get to play.
“Spring is all about the team. In the summer, you’re on your own, trying to figure things out. In the spring, the team is just trying to get as far as they can.”
Last spring, Gellert finished second at the Big Nine Conference meet, helping Mankato West win the championship. He tied for 17th at the Class AAA meet.
Gellert followed with a strong summer, finishing second in the Minnesota PGA Junior Golf Tour last summer, with three victories and 10 top-10 performances in 13 events.
Now an inch taller and 20 pounds lighter due to a winter workout program, he, and all the other high-school players, don’t have the spring season to improve and test their skills.
“I’m working a lot on my short game,” Gellert said. “I’m trying to get into midseason form. I’m also working on the mental part of the game, keeping my composure better.”
Gellert has been able to play three tournaments this spring in a tour sponsored by professional golfer Tim Herron. The events draw about 70 top high-school and college players who normally would be playing for their respective teams this month. He has one top-5 finish so far, with more tournaments coming up.
Come summer, Gellert expects to play several Minnesota PGA Junior events, as well as state events hosted by the Minnesota Golf Association, provided the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t interfere with the schedule. He’s been chosen to play for the Minnesota team against Wisconsin in an annual Ryder Cup-style event that has been rescheduled for July 16-17 at Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
“I think we have a pretty good team,” Gellert said. “I hope we get to play.”
He also hopes to catch the eye of college scouts this summer. He hopes to play Division I golf somewhere in two years, and he’s already had some contact with college coaches.
“I feel pretty good; I’m playing every day,” Gellert said. “I’m confident that I’m going to have a good summer. I don’t think COVID is going to mess with the tournaments. We’ll just have to take some extra precautions to ensure the safety of the players.”
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.