BECKER - Despite sitting in second place after Day 1 of the Class A state golf championship tournament, the Lincoln HI girls' golf team felt a bit of frustration after 18 holes at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.
Thanks to rounds in the 80s by senior Malorie Midtaune and freshman Kyra Gores, the Rebels have a team score of 374, sitting 13 strokes behind defending state champion Lewiston-Altura. Legacy Christian Academy (379), Sleepy Eye (380) and Ortonville (392) round out the top five.
But with four of their golfers shooting in the 100s, the key for Lincoln HI on Day 2 is how to turn the team's frustration into a positive.
Photo by Joe Brown
Lincoln HI senior Malorie Midtaune chips out of the sand on the No. 9 hole on the white course during the Class A state golf
championship meet at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker on Tuesday. Midtaune carded
an 18-hole round of 84 as the Rebels sit in second place with a team score of 374.
"You don't want to think too much about it," said Midtaune, who is at the state tournament for the fourth time. "You don't want to psyched out over the holes. If you think you'll go in, you'll go in."
Along with Midtaune and Gores' rounds, Taylor Ness and Chelsey Benz each added to the team score with 100 and 101, respectively. Danielle Buseth carded a 109, while Miranda Jerzak finished with a 125 for Lincoln HI.
Already a tricky course with plenty of sand traps and water hazards, especially on the red course, another curveball got thrown to golfers on Tuesday.
CLASS?A GIRLS / DAY 1
1. Lewiston-Altura 361; 2. Lincoln HI 374; 3. Legacy Christian Academy 379; 4. Sleepy Eye 380; 5. Ortonville 392; 6. Fosston 393; 7. Mesabi East 432; 8. Barnesville 460.
Lincoln HI individual Results: Malorie Midtaune 84, Kyra Gores 89, Taylor Ness 100, Chelsey Benz 101, Danielle Buseth 109, Miranda Jerzak 125.
Top 10 Individuals: t1. Steph Werner (Lakeview), Rachel Gray (Legacy Christian Academy), Paige Hungerholt (Lanesboro), Carly Schmalz (Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart) 82; t5. Kaitlyn Hennessy (Lewiston-Altura), Christine Piwnica (Southwest Christian School) 43; 7. Malorie Midtaune (Lincoln HI) 84; t8. Kayley Borkowski (Lewiston-Altura), Kailey Younggren (Kittson County Central) 86; 10. Alli Wood (United South Central) 87.
Area Girls Results: t1. Steph Werner (Lakeview) 82; t11. Hannah Kruger (Russell-Tyler-Ruthton) 88; t61. Abby Herding (Westbrook-Walnut Grove) 106.
CLASS?A BOYS / DAY 1
1. United South Central 327; 2. Legacy Christian Academy 329; 3. Wabasha-Kellogg 333; 4. Murray County Central 337; 5. Mille Lacs 342; 6. Dawson-Boyd 345; 7. Fosston 346; 8. Mahnomen 351.
MCC Individual Scores: Ben Loosbrock 78, Grant Everson 85, Devin Ryan 87, Adam Christensen 87, Devin Erickson 88, Cole Degreeff 107.
Dawson-Boyd Individual Scores: Easton Popma 81, Ryan Sumner 83, Jon Tensen 90, Spencer Erickson 91, Christian Tholen 92, Aaron Lange 97.
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Cordell Weber (Martin County West) 71; 2. Sam Eisenhuth (Northeast Range) 73; 3. Jade Hasslen (Ortonville) 74; 4. Aaron Walzak (Mountain Lake Christian) 75; 5. Luke Johanson (Southwest Christian School) 76; t6. Adam Westling (Heritage Christian), Beau Hanson (Frazee) 77; t8. Ben Loosbrock (MCC), Dana Madson (Westbrook-Walnut Grove), Ben Kindseth (Kenyon-Wanamingo), Kaleb Thalmann (Ottertail Central) 78.
Area Boys Results: t8. Dana Madson (WWG) 78; t63. Nate Christensen (Russell-Tyler-Ruthton) 91.
"The pin placements were hard," Gores said. "They were all on the tip of the hills, and it was hard to get it in the hole."
The last nine holes on the red course turned out to be an uphill battle for the Rebels. After the team had an average score of 48 on Pebble Creek's white course, the scores bolted up on the red course, with the Lincoln HI golfers averaging over 53 strokes over the final nine holes.
"I couldn't get my drives going and I was nervous the whole time," said Gores, who golfed at the No. 1 spot for Lincoln HI. "I don't know why that was because I've been to this course before."
The only Rebel golfer to actually improve on the red course was Midtaune, who carded a 40 on the red, compared to 44 on the white course.
"Usually, it takes a while for me to start hitting consistently, and in the first nine, that definitely showed," Midtaune said. "Overall, everything was working pretty good, especially the short game.
"My putting got consistent towards the end," Midtaune added. "I think my last four holes, I made each in one putt."
As the Rebels fought to stay within striking distance of Lewiston-Altura, Lakeview senior Steph Werner managed to put together one of the best rounds of her life.
After Day 1, Werner sits in a four-way tie for first place with a score of 82. Werner is tied atop the leader board with Legacy Christian's Rachel Gray, Lanesboro's Paige Hungerholt and Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart's Carly Schmalz.
"I started off my front nine with a 40, and that's the lowest I shot on nine," Werner said. "I was just kind of in my own zone, thinking shot-by-shot. I think I do better under pressure."
Early on, it became apparent that Werner was in for a hot round, scoring a birdie on No. 5 of the red course, and sinking a long putt from the fringe on No. 6 to save par.
Werner admitted after the par-saving putt, she had to curb her own enthusiasm.
"It was really hard to hold it back," Werner said. "I tried not to smile too much because I thought, 'OK, that hole is over, I need to work on the next hole."
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton junior Hannah Kruger sits in a tie for 11th place after carding an 88 on Day 1. Westbrook-Walnut Grove's Abby Herding finished with a 106, putting her in a tie for 61st place.
BECKER - The Murray County Central boys' golf team qualified for the Class A state championship in its first year of existence since 1976. But that was no excuse for the Rebels to rest on their laurels.
A Red Rock Conference title wasn't enough. The sub-section title wasn't enough. And the Section 3A championship wasn't enough.
Putting together a team score of 337 on Tuesday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, MCC is in fourth place at the state championship, trailing United South Central (327), Legacy Christian Academy (329) and Wabasha-Kellogg (333).
"We made it, so we're right up there with the rest of them," said Rebels junior Ben Loosbrock. "It's just going to take four good rounds to place up there. I know we're capable of it.
"It'll set in more overnight, but I think we have more than a shot to get back in it tomorrow."
After the first day of competition, MCC head coach Kim DeLong has a good idea on what needs to get done in order for her team to stay in the team championship hunt. And it all begins on the greens.
"We had a lot of three-putts, and we're hoping we'll come back stronger (on Wednesday)," DeLong said. "We didn't play that well, but we came out OK."
Loosbrock paced MCC with a score of 78, which puts him in a tie for eighth place in the individual tournament.
"We're fourth best right now, but I think we could have a shot at least 10 strokes better than we did," Loosbrock said. "We should be with the leaders, but we'll try again (on Wednesday)."
Grant Everson carded an 85, and senior Devin Ryan and freshman Adam Christensen each put together rounds of 87.
"I was real nervous (at the first tee box)," Ryan said, "but I knew if I had a nice solid drive, the rest of my day would come together."
Aiding the Rebels along the golf course was a pack of purple-clad supporters, cheering on the first-year squad every step of the way.
"The whole community is behind us, and it's nice that the whole community wants the golf team here," Ryan said.
In sixth place sits Dawson-Boyd, the Section 5A champions, with a score of 345. Leading the way for the Blackjacks in Day 1 was freshman Easton Popma, who carded an 81. Ryan Sumner followed with an 83, followed by Jon Tensen (90) and Spencer Erickson (91). Dawson-Boyd finds itself back in the state championship for the first time since 2008.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove's Dana Madson, who finished tops among area players last year at the state tournament in a tie for 13th, was back in Becker on Tuesday. And the Charger junior didn't seem to miss a beat on Pebble Creek, sitting in a tie for eighth place with a score of 78.
Leading the individual tournament after Day 1 is Martin County West's Cordell Weber, who carded a one-under par round of 71.
Madson admitted that things weren't easy on the track to get back to state. For some time now, he has been struggling to find his stroke from the tee box.
Madson's drives were off again on Tuesday, but thankfully, other facets of his game were able to shine through.
"I was putting amazing today," Madson said. "I didn't have any three-putts, and I had a handful of one-putts, which really saved me.
"There were some very tough pin placements out there, and I was definitely very nervous on a few of them," Madson added. "But they putted true, and the course was in beautiful condition."
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton's Nate Christiansen made his state debut on Tuesday, shooting a round of 91 that put the Knight senior in a tie for 63rd place.