MARSHALL - For the third straight year, the Murray County Central boys golf team is advancing to state. The Rebels edged Windom Area 342-345 to earn the state meet berth along with the Windom Area girls, who also topped the Section 3A competition Wednesday at Marshall Golf Club.
"We've had a team for three years and we've made it all three years, so that feels pretty good," junior Grant Everson said. "We lost three seniors last year, too, so we didn't know if we'd have a shot again this year, but some guys really stepped up for us."
Everson shot a 77 to earn medalist honors on the boy's side
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Murray County Central’s Grant Everson attempts a putt during the Class 3A section tournament. Everson topped the field with a 77 to help the Rebels take the boys team title.
"My game was really good today, other than the last hole, where I three-putted and doubled," Everson said. "It feels good. My game hasn't been top before subsection, so it's good to finally get my game together coming into state. Hopefully, we can pull something out up there."
Along with Everson's first-place finish, MCC's Adam Christensen took third after firing an 80. Jaden Boerboom tied for 14th overall with a 92, while Tyler Groves came in 16th with a 93. The Rebels hope to improve on the second-place finish at state last year.
"It's nice that a couple of us know the (state competition) course already," Everson said. "Hopefully we can put in a good week and a half of practice to get ready for state and just do our best out there."
Westbrook-Walnut Grove sophomore Abby Herding carded an 83 to win the girls overall competition.
"It feels good," Herding said. "I didn't play my best last week at subsections, so it feels good to be in the low 80s this week for sections. I got my drive in the fairway a lot, which helped me with approach shots. The fairways kind of ate me up at times. They're kind of thin, so it was hard to get my club under it."
Herding medaled at state last year, finishing seventh overall. This year, she's set a goal to finish in the top five.
"I still need some work before state to get in that top five, but it'll feel good after some practice," she said. "Winning would feel really good, but I know that I have a couple more years to still improve, to get to that spot. Being a state champion is the ultimate goal."
While golfers competed against each other on the course, they also battled the heat for the first time all season. Fortunately, most didn't let it interfere with their game.
"It's definitely something new this year," Everson said. "But I just drank a lot of Gatorade and water and tried to stay in the shade as much as possible."
Herding said she appreciated the high temperatures.
"It felt good," Herding said. "It's better than having tons of layers on and playing in 40-degree weather. It's awesome, especially with no wind."
Herding is looking forward to the practice round on June 9 before competing at state - June 10-11 at Pebble Creek in Becker.
"We do a practice round with some of the other girls from the section," she said. "I hope that goes really well for me. That's a big confidence booster if you have a good practice round."
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton teammates Jeremy Alsaker, who tied for fifth with an 84, and Hunter Burns, who tied for seventh after firing an 86, also advanced to state. Burns had to win a sudden death playoff hole against three other individuals - Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Devin Skalak, Minneota/Lincoln HI's Jeff Gladis and Southwestern United's Clay Salzwedel - to earn the state berth.
"This was a new experience for me, personally," Bruns said of the playoff hole. "All I was trying to do was hit it straight. I put myself in a good spot after the tee shot. Then I had a nice second shot to give myself a look a possibly a birdie, but I left it short."
Bruns was short of the hole by about a foot.
"I ended up with par, but that putt was nerve-wracking," he said. "When Devin missed his putt, that took the pressure off of me a little bit. It was still tough. It feels great. I'm really excited. I have not been to state before. It's going to be fun."
According to Burns, his day on the course started out pretty badly.
"On the back-nine, which is what we started on, I took a 45, so it wasn't very good," Burns said. "Then on the front-nine, I was four over through five and then I just kept getting pars until Hole 9 and then I got a bogie to take an 86. I guess that got me into the four-guy playoff. It's crazy. But RTR will be well represented now."
The Knights finished third as a team with 365 points, while Minneota/LH was fourth (370).
"The boys got better all year long," Viking coach Ralph Hagen said. "They worked hard."
Viking coach Greg Gile said the boys recorded some of the their best scores, so that was a positive for them.
"Just to be here was nice," Gile said. "We had no illusions about walking away with the team title."
The Minneota/LH girls fell just short of advancing as a team, finishing second behind Windom Area, who put together an incredible second-round effort to overtake the lead from the Vikings. The Eagles' No. 5 golfer - Miki Bolin - shot an 86 to help lead the team to a 364-381 victory. Adrian Area finished third (412), while Lakeview was fourth (430).
"We were ahead through nine holes, 180 strokes to 181, but we couldn't hold on and lost on the back nine," Hagen said. "I'm not sad, though. I know there's always a feeling like you failed because you didn't get first. But we golfed our absolute top-drawer, just about as good as we can do, score. Three of the girls had a little bit of a rough time, so we didn't get that low fourth score, but Windom's top four scores were amazing."
Three Minneota/LH golfers did advance to state as individuals, though. Kyra Gores tied for second with an 86, while Allison Bot tied for fifth after firing a 92. Heidi Guttormsson qualified for state, finishing seventh after carding a 94.
"Our top three players are going to state and they're all coming back next year," Gile said. "So there's no reason not to feel optimistic about the future. We also have tremendous junior high golfers coming into the mix."
Lakeview junior Whitney Fischer snagged the final qualifying spot to state after shooting a 95.
"I'm pretty excited," Fischer said. "The day went really well for me. It was warm, but I hit the ball really well. I was really hoping to make it to state, but I didn't know for sure, so I'm pretty happy about it."
Fischer credits her improved golf swing for propelling her into the state meet.
"This season has gone really well," she said. "Toward the end, it really picked up and I've been doing really well. My dad's been helping me quite a bit and my swing has gotten a lot better. It's my first time going to state, so I'm just going to have fun and play my best."
Hendricks seventh-grader Courtni Frank didn't have her best round of the season or advance to state, but she competed hard, especially considering she was playing with a broken toe. As the lone Grizzly competing in her first section meet, Frank finished in a tie for 31st place overall after recording a 122.
"She's tough and is doing really well considering she's competing with a broken toe," Grizzly coach Tom Olson said.
Boys Team Results: 1. Murray County Central 342, 2. Windom Area 345, 3. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 365, 4. Minneota/Lincoln HI 370.
Boys Top 10 Finishers (Top seven advanced to state): 1. Grant Everson (MCC) 77; 2. Ben Henning (Adrian Area) 78; 3. Adam Christensen (MCC) 80; 4. Kyle Antes (Windom Area) 81; 5. Jeremy Alsaker (RTR) 84; 6. Dylan Pigman (Windom Area) 84; 7. Hunter Burns (RTR) 86; T8. Jeff Gladis (M/LH), Clay Salzwedel (Southwestern United) and Devin Skalak (Tracy-Milroy-Balaton) 86.
MCC Individuals: 1. Grant Everson 77; 3. Adam Christensen 80; T14. Jaden Boerboom 92; T16. Tyler Groves 93; 32. Brad Schreiber 103; T35 Jack Pierson 106.
RTR Individuals: 5. Jeremy Alsaker 84; 7. Hunter Burns 86; T21. Nathan Vandrunen 97; T23. Derrick Whiting 98; 34. Christian Johnson 105.
Minneota/LH Individuals: T8. Jeff Gladis 86; T17. Ryan Twedt 93; T18. Jon Piehl 94; T22. Kolin Drietz 97; T24. Leo Buysse 98; T28. Troy Skaar.
TMB Individuals: T8. Devin Skalak 86; T37. Joey Felt 109.
Wabasso Individuals: T37. Chase Haase 109.
Lakeview Individuals: T25. Josh Stevens 99; T25. Taylor Pickthorn 99; T35. Zach Werner 106.
Red Rock Central Individuals: T25. Carter Engen 99.
Girls Team Results: 1. Windom Area 364, 2. Minneota/Lincoln HI 381, 3. Adrian Area 412, 4. Lakeview 430.
Girls Top 10 Finishers (All Advance to State): 1. Abby Herding (Westbrook-Walnut Grove) 83; T2. Kyra Gores (M/LH) and Miki Bolin (Windom Area) 86; 4. Kelsey Hanefeld (Windom Area) 90; T5. Allison Bot (M/LH) and Maitland Vollan (Windom Area) 92; 7. Heidi Guttormsson (M/LH) 94; 8. Whitney Fischer (Lakeview) 95; 9. Emily Jackson (Windom Area) 96; 10. Leigh Hanefeld (Windom Area) 97.
Minneota/LH Individuals: T2. Kyra Goes 86; T5. Allison Bot 92; 7. Heidi Guttormsson 94; T22. Charlie Josephson 109; 25. Megan Evers 110; T27. Maranda Jerzak 113.
Lakeview Individuals: 8. Whitney Fischer 95; T11. Sydney Schake 100; T31. Briatta Buntjer 122; 33. Hailey Penske 137; T27. Mikenna Radke 113.
TMB Individuals: 29. Annika Anderson 119.
RRC Individuals: 30. Hannah Sell 120.
Wabasso Individuals: 18. Brooke Maasch 105; 26. Jenna Henriksen 112.
WWG Individuals: 1. Abby Herding 83.
MCC Individuals: T22. Hannah Davis 109; T22. Liz Prahm 109.
Hendricks Individuals: T31. Courtni Frank 122.