Great day, great play from Viking girls’ golf team

COTTONWOOD – Even though the start of the spring sports season was delayed nearly a month, the slow transformation of seasons has had some benefits. When the conditions allowed golf to be played, the greens were soft and slow allowing golfers to keep their scores low. After a seasonably sunny day on Monday at the Cottonwood Golf Club, however, the greens finally firmed and dried and did their best to thwart putting.

“It’s taken awhile for the course to get to where it usually is,” Lakeview head golf coach Cory Hendrickson said. “We’ve been putting on slow greens since the course has been open for about a week and a half now. They cut them today and the greens were totally different, really quick. That makes a difference. Just getting out and swinging, we haven’t had a lot of practice yet so it’s a work in progress.”

One team was less affected by the new conditions than the rest of the 11-team field. Minneota, led by eighth-grader Charlie Josephson’s low round of 92, cruised to a first place finish on Monday with a team score of 397. Wabasso finished the day in second place, 49 shots behind the Vikings at 446.

Josephson’s 18-hole total of 92 was one stroke better than runner-up Hannah Kruger, the lone representative for Russell-Tyler-Ruthton at the meet. Wabasso’s Briana Jenniges took third place with a 22-over-par 94. Bailee Hauser, of MACCRAY, and Ali Dahle from Lac qui Parle Valley each shot a 97 to round out the top five.

The Vikings had all four of their qualifying scores land in the top 11. Behind Josephson was Heidi Guttormsson in eighth place with a 100. Megan Evers carded a 101 for 10th place, while Alyssa Engler was 11th with a 101.

Brooke Maasch shot a 99, good enough for seventh place, for the second lowest score on second place Wabasso. The Rabbits also received scores from Amber Brau (114) and Sidney Pitzl (139).

Canby placed third as a team behind a 461 team total and was paced by Kristy Schmidt’s 100. Natalie Morris fired a 104, while Scarlet Thorston (123) and Haily Citrowski (134) also contributed scores for the Lancers.

Dawson-Boyd was 15 shots behind Canby and 14 shots ahead of MACCRAY. Lincoln HI, led by Kyra Gores’ sixth-place 99, took sixth as a team with a score of 494. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton was just four strokes back at 498, while Lakeview rounded out the complete teams with a 508.

Hendrickson said that despite the tough finish at their home meet, the youthful Lakers have shown great improvement this season.

“I was really pleased with Whitney (Fischer) and Briatta (Buntjer) and Hailey (Penske),” he said. “I have a young team this year. Hailey Penske and Mikkena Radke didn’t have any varsity experience last year, so we’re slowly making making some really nice gains with them. Whitney has varsity experience, she had a 104. I know she can get down into the 90s, I’m sure of that.”

Lac qui Parle Valley, RTR and Hendricks did not have full teams compete on Monday.

“It was just nice to see the girls out,” Hendrickson said after the slow start to the season. “The pace of play was really good and it just seemed like all the girls were really trying to work through their shots and think their way around the course.”