Playing among one of the toughest fields its seen all season, the Marshall boys' golf team rose to the challenge and won the St. Cloud Invitational Thursday with a team score of 305.
The Tigers defeated Staples-Motley, which finished third at the Class AA state tournament last year, by a single stroke.
The Marshall girls' team finished the day in a tie for 10th at 364.
The Tiger boys had their top four golfers all shoot in the 70s. Matt Bennett finished in a three-way tie for medalist honors with a 2-over round of 74. Brent Haukom followed with a 76, Jacob Baker had a 77 and Matt Christianson fied a 78.
"I can't be any more proud of the boys and the way they played and stuck through it," Marshall boys' head coach Allen Lucht said. "They stuck to their game and picked each other up and played really well."
Lucht said this is the third straight year the Tigers have played the event and the first time they've won it. The St. Cloud Country Club is a tight course with a lot of trees and Lucht said players have to hit really good shots to be able to hold the greens.
St. Cloud Invitational
Girls' Team Scores: 1. Detroit Lakes 310, 2. Buffalo 326, 3. St. Cloud Cathedral 333, 4. Rocori 339, 5. Pequot Lakes 348, 6. St. Cloud Tech 351, 7. Staples-Motley 353, 8. Maple Grove 354, 9. Eagan 362, t-10. Marshall 364, t-10. Monticello 364, 12. Brainerd 367, 13. Benilde St. Margaret's 370, 14. St. Michael-Albertville 374, 15. Becker 375, 16. St. Cloud Apollo 390, 17. Cambridge-Isanti 392, 18. Sartell 393, 19. Rogers 401, 20. Fergus Falls 423.
Marshall Individual Scores: Jessica Blanchard 41-42 83, Kirsten Webskowski 48-44 92, Hanna Peterson 48-45 93, Allie Pogatchnik 51-45 96.
Top 6 Boys' Team Scores: 1. Marshall 305, 2. Staples-Motley 306, 3. Buffalo 311, 4. Eagan 312, 5. St. Cloud Tech 315, 6. Rogers 316.
Marshall Individual Scores: Matt Bennett 74, Brent Haukom 76, Jacob Baker 77, Matt Christianson 78, Alex Buysse 84, Jon Wyffels 88.
"It's a good test of golf and a good win for us," Lucht said. "We're more together as a team and you can see their determination. They just used their heads. Like Matt Christianson, he didn't use his driver hardly at all today because he had struggled with it and it worked out for him."
The Tiger boys return to the course Saturday for a tournament at Owatonna.
The Marshall girls finished the day in a tie with Monticello at 364, which put them in 10th place. Detroit Lakes led the way in the 20-team tournament with a 310.
"I've always said central Minnesota has some of the best competition, especially in AA," said Marshall girls' coach Nancy Blanchard. "Detroit Lakes is probably the best team in the state right now.
"We went in there trying to improve our scores, get a nice team score and see where it fell. Anything within the top 10 and we were going to be happy with how we performed."
Jessica Blanchard shot an 83 to lead the Tigers. That score also put her among the top 15 individuals for the day.
"Once you have one person that starts to keep that same consistent number, it helps them ease their minds a little," Nancy Blanchard said. "They are all hoping that each does well."
The remaining three golfers had stronger performances on the back nine. Kirsten Webskowski shot a 92 while Hanna Peterson added a 93. Allie Pogatchnik rounded out the top four with a 96.
"It was a little more hilly than they are used to," Blanchard said. "It was some challenging things. The greens were hard and fast.
"In general I thought we played pretty well. Hannah, Allie and Kirsten all shot better on the back nine. That was good to see."
Laura Mityling and Eden Deutz carded scores of 106 and 123 respectively.
The Tiger girls will be in action again today when they travel to Hutchinson to get one more round in before the Southwest Conference meet.
"The seniors won't play, which leaves an opportunity for a couple more of the freshmen," Blanchard said. "We will have a young lineup, but I'm excited to see them play."