A seven-stroke lead in golf can disappear in a matter of a few holes.
For Holy Family Catholic, the first nine holes of the second round of the Class 2A State Boys Golf Tournament June 12 saw the Fire not only avoid the disappearing act, but instead extend the advantage.
Five nine-hole scores of 39 or lower, including an even-par 36 from Sam McNulty, gave Holy Family Catholic a cushion they won't surrender.
The Fire shot 310 in both state rounds, securing back-to-back state titles at Ridges at Sand Creek near Jordan on June 11-12.
Holy Family Catholic won the second round by six strokes over Cloquet, defeating Detroit Lakes by 20 shots for the tournament.
It was the fifth consecutive state tournament appearance for the Fire, which were third in 2015 and runner-up in 2016 and 2017.
"Having a good start, it made you feel like you could attack the back side," the Fire's Blake Stedronsky said of the second round. "If you missed a shot, it was no big deal. We felt like we had a few shots to work with."
"Hearing that everyone was playing well at the turn, no one was over 40, it was good to hear. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing we could win it," Holy Family Catholic senior Jake Bornhoft said.
Stedronsky, a team-best 75 in the first round, birdied three of the final five holes, placing fourth overall with a two-day total of 149.
The junior was one of four players returning from the 2018 state championship team along with McNulty, a junior, sophomore Charlie Lindberg, and senior Cole Wilson.
"It was just about battling. I had a tough start to my round, but I was able to make a few shots, start to feel good again, and just finish off things with a good round," Stedronsky said of his 74.
After experiencing rain and gnats over the first 18 holes on June 11, the second round saw strong winds force players to adjust their games.
"The wind dried out the greens, which made them really quick and tough to stop balls. Everything, putts, chips, were flying by the cup," Bornhoft said.
"It forced you to hit lower shots, which is more difficult," Stedronsky added.
In addition to Stedronsky, Lindberg rebounded from a tough first day to shoot 75 in the sixth pairing in the second round. Bornhoft added his second score of 80 in the tournament followed by McNulty at 81.
Stedronsky (149), McNulty (158), Bornhoft (160), Ben Reddan (160) -- he was third on the team on Day One with a 77 -- and Wilson (164) rounded out the score for Holy Family Catholic.
After shooting 296 on the first day of sections, Holy Family Catholic came into state knowing it just needed to "fire it up a bit."
"It was a little tougher to watch last year, rather than play," Bornhoft said. "I was happy for them last year, but definitely happy to be on the team this year, playing in the state tournament."
Holy Family's boys golf victory was the second time a Fire program has won two state titles. Jazz dance were champions in 2004 and 2006. Football, boys basketball, girls tennis and baseball also own titles for Holy Family Catholic.
With four players returning, three other players in the JV program that posted rounds in the 70s this season, are the Fire the favorites for a three-peat in 2020?
"Who knows? That's the goal though," Stedronsky said.