After leading the Wayzata High boys golf team to the state Class AAA title last month, Ben Frazzini and Van Holmgren, best friends since sixth grade, are heading in different directions for college.
Frazzini has won a scholarship at the University of Minnesota, while Holmgren will join his older brother Will at North Dakota State University.
“Winning the state title was the best,” said Frazzini, who won All-State honors by finishing seventh individually at state.
“Ben and I are almost like brothers,” said Holmgren. “My favorite memory of high school golf is winning the state title with Ben. He elevated me to play great.”
Holmgren was the 2017 State Tournament medalist with rounds of 72 and 71 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. His 143 total put him one stroke ahead of Minnetonka’s Ben Sigel and Mankato East’s Carson Haley in the battle for individual honors. Wayzata defeated Minnetonka by two strokes to capture team honors.
When the Wayzata boys first met as sixth-graders, Holmgren was already playing tournament golf, and Frazzini was just getting involved.
“Van was crazy good even in sixth grade,” said Frazzini. “Probably the most important thing I learned from him was the way he keeps his emotions under control. You watch him and you can’t tell is he is playing good or bad. He has the same smile on his face.”
Holmgren comes from a golf family, and he learned the value of an even keel from his dad Rob and his brothers Jack and Will, who were mainstays in the Wayzata program.
“We have had at least one of the Holmgrens on varsity for the last nine years,” said Wayzata head coach Allan Christopherson. “And at one time, we had all three.”
Van was something of a golf prodigy, and he was able to make the varsity lineup as a seventh-grader. By then, Frazzini wasn’t far behind.
During their senior season this spring, both boys posted incredible rounds.
Holmgren fired a 65 at Pioneer Creek and this summer shot the same score at Southern Hills.
Frazzini had rounds of 66 and 67 during the Detroit Lakes Invitational and added a 68 in a dual-meet victory over Edina at Interlachen Country Club.
With Frazzini and Holmgren setting the pace, Wayzata set a school record with a team score of 273 the second day of the Detroit Lakes Invitational. In the first round, the Trojans shot 278.
While the Wayzata twosome may someday team up in Minnesota Golf Association events, they won’t be collegiate teammates.
“My college recruiting went quickly,” said Frazzini, who committed to the University of Minnesota in January of his junior year.
“I always wanted to go to the U and play for my hometown team,” he said. “I like the coaching staff there.”
Frazzini’s second choice was the University of Arizona, but he said he felt more comfortable with the Gophers.
Holmgren’s recruiting was relatively stress-free, as well. His brother is the captain at North Dakota State.
“I was in contact with a lot of schools,” Holmgren noted. “The team up in Fargo is like a big family, and I’m excited to join them.”
Holmgren will need some extra length on his golf shirt, since he stands 6 feet, 7 and 1/2 inches. He is the tallest of the three Holmgren brothers. Jack is 6-4 and Will is 6-1.
Sometimes the Wayzata golfers like to adjourn to the basketball court, and that is another area in which Van excels.
Who dunks the ball better, Van or Ben Frazzini?
“That would be Van,” said Frazzini. “I don’t jump very well.”
After their college careers are over, Frazzini and Holmgren agreed that they would like to take a shot at the PGA Tour. However, they’re not in a rush.
“Obviously, it’s a dream,” said Holmgren. “I have to trust the process, take it shot by shot, tournament by tournament, and play some good golf.”
“The PGA Tour is definitely a goal and a dream,” said Frazzini. “I will focus on doing my best in college and then see what happens. I want to eventually have a job in the golf industry.”
Both Frazzini and Holmgren are thankful for the guidance they’ve had from Wayzata head coach Christopherson and assistant coach Joe Hannon.
“I always love it when Joe walks the course with me,” said Frazzini. “He’s optimistic and has a really calm demeanor. Allan has been instrumental in helping me mature as a player. I couldn’t ask for better coaches.”
“Allan and Joe have been there for us every step of the way,” said Holmgren. “They helped me through all of the ups and downs and taught me how to enjoy the game. They are like two very close uncles.”
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