BECKER ? Westbrook-Walnut Grove's Abby Herding fired an 80 on the first day of the 2014 Class A State Golf Tournament Tuesday, putting herself in medal contention for the second straight year.
Herding carded a 40 on both sides of the Pebble Creek Golf Club course and is one stoke out of the lead. Southwest Christian of Chaska's Christine Piwnica and Sleepy Eye's Lauren Laffen both shot 79s to lead all competitors.
"My drives aren't as consistent as I want them right now, but my iron shots are really good and I feel like they put me in a great position to strive for my pars and my birdies," Herding said. " I had a couple of bogies (Tuesday), but I know I have another day (Wednesday) to make up for it."
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Abby Herding watches her shot off the tee during first round action at the 2014 State Golf Tournament. Herding is just one stroke off the lead after day one
Dawson-Boyd’s Christian Thoen hits a shot from the fairway during the opening round of the 2014 State Golf Tournament. Thoen finished with a 78 and helped the Blackjacks take a one stroke lead heading into the final round.
Herding, a sophomore, tied for seventh place last year at the state tournament. She's looking to finish in the top five this season.
"The top five is still my goal," Herding said. "So I'm looking forward to (Wednesday)."
While she would have liked to match the 37 round she shot during her practice round, Herding was satisfied with back-to-back 40s.
"I took a triple on the first hole of the back nine," she said. "I went in the water. It's not how you want to start your round off, but I came back from that and still shot a 40, which is pretty good."
Herding actually had two balls land in water hazards in that round, but she's learned to look forward instead of backwards as she competes.
"You have to make sure that your next shot is the most important," Herding said. "You can't dwell on the last shot. My first tee shot was a little nerve-wracking, but after that I felt comfortable. I knew that I'd played this course many times so that I shouldn't be nervous."
In the team competition, BOLD holds a two-point lead (365-367) over Legacy Christian Academy of Andover after Day 1.
Minneota/Lincoln HI's Allison Bot is tied for 24th place after shooting a (50-44) 94. Teammate Kyra Gores is currently tied for 37th after carding a (47-49) 96, while Heidi Guttormsson is tied for 51st with a (44-57) 101.
Lakeview's Whitney Fischer is in a tie for 62nd place after recording a (52-54) 106 in her first state tournament appearance. Yellow Medicine East's Leah Jeseritz holds the 76th place after tallying a (55-58) 113.
The girls state golfers are scheduled to begin tee times at 7:30 a.m. Today. BOYS
Dawson-Boyd's Christian Thoen shot a sixth-ranked (40-38) 78 to help the Blackjacks boys team take a one-point Day 1 lead over United South Central of Wells (334-335) in the team competition.
" Honestly, I played it a lot better than I scored," Thoen said. "I had a couple of tough breaks, a lot of long putts. I need to eliminate that (Wednesday). But otherwise, my round was pretty solid. I really like ripping it off the tee box. That's my favorite part."
Thoen, a sophomore, is one of five Blackjack golfers to return from last year's state tournament team, which took sixth place, so along with Thoen, Easton Popma, Dalton Palmer, Spenser Erickson and Cameron Kemen all bring experience into the competition.
"This is my third state tournament, so I've played the course quite a few times and that definitely helps," Thoen said. "It's nice because you know where to hit the ball and what the greens are going to do. That all helps."
The highest Dawson-Boyd has placed at the boys state golf tournament is third place, which they accomplished two years ago. With the current lead after the first day, the Blackjacks can almost taste a state title.
"I really want our team scores to be lower (Wednesday) and I know we can do it," Thoen said. "We have a great group of guys and there's no reason why we shouldn't have four scores that are under 82. It would be so awesome to win as a team."
Though Murray County Central is currently in seventh place as a team with 355 points, the Rebels are only out of fourth place by five strokes. Legacy Christian Academy of Andover is third (341), followed by returning champion Mille Lacs (350), Ottertail
Central (354) and Kittson County Central (354). Lewiston-Altura is eighth with a 356.
"Fourth place isn't too far out of reach," MCC junior Adam Christensen said. "Our No. 3 and No. 4 golfers didn't play their best (Tuesday) and they can easily drop a good 10 strokes each off their rounds. So there's still a chance that our team could do well."
MCC is back at state as a team after qualifying for the third straight year, the same number of years the boys program has been in existence. After losing the team's top two golfers to graduation (Ben Loosbrock and Devin Erickson), the Rebels didn't know if they'd even advance to state this year.
"We're here and we're glad we made it," Christensen said. "We don't really have set goals. We just want to play our best. It's a blast to be up here."
While Christensen is enjoying his experience at the 2014 tournament, he's also taking care of business. Christensen shot the second-lowest round of the day, a (37-39) 76. Nathaniel Kahlbaugh of Mahnomen/Waubun leads all individuals with a 75.
"I was pretty proud of my golf game (Tuesday)," Christensen said. "It was a good round. My putting went well, and that's always a plus. I hit a lot of green, too."
Hole No. 4, a par 5 on the red course gave Christensen the most difficulty, but he's hoping to conquer that hole today.
"I think I scored better on the back nine, which was white," he said. "The hole that gave me trouble was the No. 4 on the red side. I doubled it. I got a seven, so that could have been better."
Like other top golfers, Christensen has learned to handle the mental challenge golfing demands.
"You always have to look to the next shot," Christensen said. "You have to drop the last shot out of your head. It's something you have to do in golf. I can do that pretty well."
YME's Mitch Mccosh, MCC's Grant Everson and Dawson-Boyd's Easton Popma are currently in a 7-way tie for 19th place after firing 83s.
Kemen is in a tie for 30th place with an 85. Blackjack teammate Erickson is tied for 40th with an 88, while Jared Monson is tied for 48th with a 90.
Palmer and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton's Hunter Burns are in a 5-way tie for 55th place, shooting 91s on the day. MCC eighth-grader Tyler Groves carded a 95 and is tied for 67th, while RTR's Jeremy Alsaker is tied forr 76th with a 100.
MCC's Jaden Boerboom shot a 101 and is currently tied for 78th, while Brad Schreiber recorded a 102 for 82nd place. Seventh-grader Jack Pierson added a 111 and is in 86th place.
The Boys Class A competition gets back underway beginning at noon today.
DAY 1 CLASS A GIRLS RESULTS
Team Results: 1. BOLD 365; 2. Legacy Christian Academy, Andover 367; 3. Fillmore Central, Harmony 369; 4. Windom Area 379; 5. Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 391; T6. United South Central, Wells and Ottertail Central 413; 8. Barnum 449.
Top 10 Individuals: T1.Christine Piwnica (Southwest Christian, Chaska) and Lauren Laffen (Sleepy Eye) 79; 3. Abby Herding (WWG) 80; 4. Elizabeth Hennessy (Lewiston-Altura) 81; 5. Kailey Carlin (Fosston) 84; 6. Kiera Smith (Heritage Christian Academy, Maple Grove) 85; 7. Breann Mertens ( BOLD) 86; T8. Allison Deckert (Heritage Christian Academy, Maple Grove) and Kelsey Hanefeld (Windom Area) 87; T10. Andrea Burkel (Badger/Greenbush-Middle River), Laura Donney (Fillmore Central, Harmony) and Sophia Gray (Legacy Christian Academy, Andover) 88.
Lakeview Individuals: T62. Whitney Fischer 52-54 (106).
Minneota/Lincoln HI Individuals: T24. Allison Bot 50-44 (94); T37. Kyra Gores 47-49 (96); T51. Heidi Guttormsson 44-57 (101).
WWG Individuals: 3. Abby Herding 40-40 (80).
YME Individuals: 76. Leah Jeseritz 55-58 (113).
DAY 1 CLASS A BOYS RESULTS
Team Results: 1. Dawson-Boyd 334; 2. United South Central, Wells 335; 3. Legacy Christian Academy, Andover 341; 4. Mille Lacs 350; T5. Ottertail Central and Kittson County Central 354; 7. Murray County Central 355; 8. Lewiston-Altura 356.
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Nathaniel Kahlbaugh (Mahnomen/Waubun) 75; T2. Adam Christensen (MCC) and Brock Bliese (Mounds Park Academy, St. Paul) 76; T4. Cordell Weber (Martin County West, Sherburn) and blake Kahlbaugh (Mahnomen/Waubun) 77; T6. Christian Thoen (Dawson-Boyd) and Dain Schultz (Mille Lacs) 78; T8. Luke Johanson (Southwest Christian, Chaska) and Charlie Krambeer (Rushford-Peterson) 79; T10. Ben Henning (Adrian Area), Jacob Hoschied (Legacy Christian Academy, Andover) and tommy Braaten (Blooming Praire) 80.
Dawson-Boyd Individuals: T6. Christian Thoen 40-38 (78); T19. Easton Popma 43-40 (83); T30. Cameron Kemen 42-43 (85); T40. Spenser Erickson 43-45 (88); T48. Jared Monson 43-47 (90); T55. Dalton Palmer 47-44 (91).
MCC Individuals: T2. Adam Christensen 37-39 (76); T19. Grant Everson 40-43 (83); T67. Tyler Groves 46-49 (95); T78. Jaden Boerboom 52-49 (101); 82. Brad Schreiber 53-55 (108); 86. Jack Pierson 53-58 (111).
RTR Individuals: T55. Hunter Burns 46-45 (91); T76. Jeremy Alsaker 51-49 (100).
YME Individuals: T19. Mitch Mccosh 41-42 (83).