BECKER - A year after finishing third and fourth at the Class A boys' state golf meet, respectively, the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks and Murray County Central Rebels are once again battling for one of the top spots in the state. Unlike 2012, however, it is MCC which has the advantage after Tuesday's opening round at Pebble Creek Golf Club.
Led by Devin Erickson's 8-over-par 80 and Adam Christensen's 81, the Rebels sit in third place after 18 holes with a team score of 333. The Blackjacks are in fourth, four strokes behind the Rebels, despite a 79 from sophomore Easton Popma.
Mille Lacs leads the field with a team score of 310, thanks largely to Grant Exsted's low round of 68. Legacy Christian Academy, of Andover, won the 2012 title and enters today's final round three strokes ahead of MCC.
Photo by Travis Andries
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton senior Hannah Kruger follows an approach shot on the fifth hole during the Class A State Golf Tournament on Tuesday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker. Kruger was the leader after Day 1, shooting an 8-over 80.
MCC's head coach Kim DeLong said the Rebels left enough shots out on the course on Tuesday and could close the gap on Mille Lacs today.
"The conditions, it was tough in the roughs," DeLong said. "We have some chipping and some putting to work on. We didn't come out bad, but we're capable of shooting much lower. I think that they are OK with the score, but they know that we can shoot lower."
It wasn't just the Rebels who struggled with the slippery greens and unforgiving rough. DeLong said that MCC picked a good day to slip up, seeing as most of the field did as well.
"We're sitting in third right now at 333, and we can shoot a 300 or 310," she said. "We'll come back and we'll do some putting, some chipping, some wedge shots. They were driving well, but it's the short game that we need to continue to work on."
Along with Christensen and Erickson, MCC also received scores from Ben Loosbrock (85) and Grant Everson (87). Loosbrock finished in a tie for 19th last season, and DeLong said the senior was a little slow starting on the back nine Tuesday morning.
"Ben struggled the first nine, had some shanks, but came back nice with a 39," DeLong said. "He'll do much better (today), all of them will. We didn't start out like we really wanted, but for several of the teams, as you can see in the scores, that's the case."
Christian Thoen posted an 84 for the Blackjacks' No. 2 score. Cameron Kemen and Spencer Erickson each recorded 87s for Dawson-Boyd as well.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove's Dana Madson, who qualified as an individual, overcame a tough opening nine holes, firing a 38 in his second nine to finish with a 10-over 82.
On the girls' side, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton senior Hannah Kruger is the individual leader after Day 1. Kruger was tied for the lead at the turn, matching the 3-over 39 shot by Christine Piwnica of Southwest Christian (Chaska), and followed with a 41 on the back nine.
Her 80 gives her a three-shot cushion over Piwnica, while WWG freshman Abby Herding is six strokes back of Kruger and in a tie for fifth.
After tying for 11th with Kruger last year, Lincoln HI's Kyra Gores posted a 93 on Tuesday. Gores took some time to settle in at Pebble Creek, shooting a 51 in her first nine holes.
The Minneota Vikings, making their team debut at the state meet, finished Tuesday in seventh place with a team score of 421. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River leads the team competition at 369.
Minneota head coach Ralph Hagen said the team score was not indicative of how the girls played, but rather the result of one tough hole per golfer.
"I think we golfed better than our 421 by a lot," Hagen said. "One girl had a 15 on a hole. If you have a normal bogey on that hole it's 10 less team strokes. Every girl had at least one horrid hole, but overall they battled, learned how to play the course and learned how to control their emotions. We're seventh, but we're seven strokes out of fifth.
"I am pleased; I'm not real disappointed because it was a hard day," he added. "Every one of them is a rookie, whereas half of the girls that are here are veterans and that makes a whale of a difference."
One of those rookies for Minneota is eighth-grader Heidi Guttormsson, who injured her knee a week ago. Hagen said the initial prognosis had not looked good for Guttormsson, but quick healing and a brace helped Minneota's top qualifier compete Tuesday.
"By Friday we saw her and she was OK. She kept wearing this brace which might have bothered her, but she seems to be getting used to it," Hagen said. "She was out there with seniors just now, some of the best golfers in the state, and she was holding her own most of the time. She keeps measuring herself against the best, which is very good."
Guttormsson shot a 105, second best for the Vikings. Alison Bot put together consecutive 53s for an 18-hole total of 106, while Rachel Knutson ended Day 1 at 111. Senior Alyssa Engler, the only upperclassmen to make the trip to state for the Vikings, was the only Minneota golfer under 100 on the day. She snuck under with a 99.
Day 2 begins at 7:30 a.m. today for the boys, with a noon start scheduled for the first group of girls.
Class A State Golf Tournament
Boys Team Scores: 1. Mille Lacs 310, 2. Legacy Christian Academy 330, 3. Murray County Central 333, 4. Dawson-Boyd 337, 5. United South Central 339, 6. Wabasha-Kellogg 344, 7. Kittson County Central 347, 8. Mahnomen 358
MCC: Aaron Boock 47-45-92, Adam Christensen 41-40-81, Devin Erickson 43-37-80, Grant Everson 41-46-87, Tyler Groves 47-51-98, Ben Loosbrock 39-46-85
Dawson-Boyd: Spencer Erickson 43-44-87, Cameron Kemen 45-42-87, Aaron Madson 48-48-96, Dalton Palmer 61-42-103, Easton Popma 41-38-79, Christian Thoen 42-42-84
WWG: Dana Madson 38-44-82
Girls Team Scores: 1. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 369, 2. Legacy Christian Academy 376, 3. Wabasha-Kellogg 385, 4. United South Central 389, 5. Mille Lacs 414, 6. Ortonville 417, 7. Minneota 421, 8. Ottertail Central 443.
Minneota: Alison Bot 53-53-106, Alyssa Engler 49-50-99, Heidi Guttormsson 52-53-105, Charlie Josephson 52-62-114, Rachel Knutson 53-58-111
RTR: Hannah Kruger 39-41-80
Lincoln HI: Kyra Gores 42-51-93
WWG: Abby Herding 41-45-86