WORTHINGTON - The Marshall Tigers boys and girls golf teams won Southwest Conference Championships on Monday at Prairie View Golf Links.
Coming off an undefeated regular season, the boys were on target to win the conference championship. MHS finished the day with a team score of 303, 11 strokes ahead of second-place Redwood Valley (314).
Brent Haukom led the way for Marshall with a 3-over 74 round on the day. However, it took a two-hole playoff victory over Redwood Valley's Adam Hangel before Haukom would be named Southwest Conference medalist.
The Marshall boys golf team poses for a picture after winning the Southwest Conference championship Monday at Prairie View Golf Links in Worthington. The Tigers include (from left) Matt Bennett, Jacob Baker, Alex Buysse, Matt Christianson, Brent Haukon and Jon Wyffels.
Marshall's Matt Bennett and Jacob Baker finished their rounds tied at 76, two strokes behind the leaders and one stroke behind Will Mulder of Worthington and Mitch Fischer of Redwood Valley. A one-hole playoff was the determining factor for the two Tigers as Bennett placed fifth and Jacob Baker sixth.
"This was a completely different course than when we played Worthington here in our dual meet earlier this season," MHS boys head coach Allen Lucht said. "The challenge came from the wind because, like other links-style courses in Scotland, there are no trees here."
Lucht said the Tigers had a strategy to combat the course and the wind.
"When it's a windy day on the course, we want to use a three-quarter swing going back and a three-quarter swing going forward and hit the ball two clubs less than we would normally hit it," Lucht said. "The object is hit the ball below the wind gusts."
The top six golfers were named to the boys All-Southwest Conference first team.
Rounding out the individual scores for Marshall, Jon Wyffels finished 6-over, Matt Christianson shot a 11-over 82, and Alex Buysse finished 12-over.
The Tigers were ranked third in Class 2A in the Minnesota Golf Coaches Association Boys Golf poll on May 11. MHS had been averaging 312.7 shots per 18 holes this season.
The Marshall girls had a strong showing as well, winning the team championship by 13 strokes over Jackson County Central. They did so by shooting a 340, which was the Tigers second-best score of the 2014 season.
MHS avenged a one-shot loss to JCC in a dual match this season on the Huskies' home course.
The Tigers finished the day with the top three individual scores at the meet. Marshall junior Jessica Blanchard shot an 8-over 79 to become the conference medalist, followed by an 82 from Hanna Peterson and a 15-over 86 from Kami Love. Love scored a par on the first playoff hole against Alison Benson of Jackson County Central to claim third place.
Abby Brinkman (87) and Abby Benson (87), both from JCC, rounded out the top six individuals at the tournament as well as the All-Southwest Conference first team.
"It was an awesome feeling to see our girls playing this well," MHS girls head coach Nancy Blanchard said. "Jessica and Hanna had only played the first nine holes only once and Kami had never played any golf here before."
Kirsten Webskowki shot a 93 for the Tigers' fourth score, while Sarah Vogl added a 100 and Mallory Griffin had a 104.
Blanchard said the Tigers played extremely well in the windy conditions on a tough course.
"This is a tough course because there are a lot of blind spots where you can't see how to play your shots," Blanchard said.
MHS was ranked sixth in Class 2A in the MGCA Girls Golf poll on May 11. The Tigers had been averaging 351 shots per 18 holes this season.
The boys and girls golf teams return to action Wednesday at the Class AA Section 3 tournaments.
Southwest Conference Championships
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Marshall 303, 2. Redwood Valley 314, 3. Worthington 317, 4. Luverne 330, 5. Jackson County Central 332, 6. Windom Area 352, 7. Pipestone Area 353.
MARSHALL: 1. Brent Haukom 74, 5. Matt Bennett 76, 6. Jacob Baker 76, Jon Wyffels 77, Matt Christianson 82, Alex Buysse 83.
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Marshall 340, 2. Jackson County Central 353, 3. Windom Area 375, 4. Luverne 412, 5. Worthington 416, 6. Pipestone Area 475.
MARSHALL: 1. Jessica Blanchard 79, 2. Hanna Peterson 82, 3. Kami Love 86, Kirsten Webskowski 93, Sarah Vogl 100, Mallory Griffin 104.