PREP GOLF: Benson earns medalist honors at SWC meetREDWOOD FALLS — Kaylee Benson had a rough start to Friday’s Southwest Conference girls’ golf meet.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
REDWOOD FALLS — Kaylee Benson had a rough start to Friday’s Southwest Conference girls’ golf meet.
But there was no one better than her at the finish.
The Jackson County Central freshman started her round with a quadruple bogey, but rallied to finish with a 93, earning her medalist honors at Redwood Falls Golf Club.
“It was a little struggle at the beginning, but it started to go well at the end,” said Benson, who shot a 102 last year at the conference meet. “The first hole I had a 9. I didn’t hit very many straight shots, but I started to grind it out and it went better at the end.”
Benson led JCC to a 384 and a second-place finish.
Marshall finished with a 381 for the victory.
The Tiger boys also finished first, carding a 320 as a team.
The Luverne girls finished third with a 392, while Worthington (411) finished fourth.
Redwood Valley (425) was fifth, followed by Windom (433) and Pipestone Area (437).
Benson started her round on No. 12, a 474-yard par 5. After the tough start, the JCC freshman quickly recovered.
“I always play better if I just shake it off, so I just shook it off and said, ‘I have a bunch of holes left to play,’ so I just grinded it out,” Benson said. “The next hole was a par-3, and I almost got it there.”
With her driving causing fits, Benson put the driver in the bag early and left it there the rest of the round.
“(My round) started to go better after I put my driver in my bag,” Benson said. “I wasn’t hitting it straight, so I took my 4-iron, and I could hit that straight.
“When my driver doesn’t go straight, I usually put it away. (It doesn’t happen) too often; it’s been going straight in the last couple of meets, but (Friday) was just an off day.”
Benson had a 46 on the front and a 47 on the back for her 93.
Marshall’s Nicole Noyes (94) finished second, with Miranda Christensen and Christina Pollock each finishing with a 95.
On the scorecard, Luverne’s Krista VanDyk, who also finished with a 95, finished fifth individually.
After Benson’s 93, Emily Marker, Erika Voss and Rachel Hanson each had a 97 for the Huskies.
Missy Olson, who was sixth individually, had a 96 for Luverne, while Erika Rust had a 99. Macy Oldre and Jessica Dorhout each had a 102 for the Cardinals.
Worthington was led by Leigh VanHove’s 97. Kate Lesnar had a 101, while Meghan Westendorf fired a 105. Jenn Scholtes rounded out the scoring with a 108 for the Trojans.
Michelle Legler led Windom with a 99, while Lexie Will (102), Laura Voth (114) and Megan Will (118) each had scoring rounds for the Eagles.
For Pipestone Area, Katherine Newhouse had a 102, while Megan Sommers fired a 107. Kayla Nelson finished with a 109, while Lynn Nelson carded a 119.
Luverne’s Nath finishes second
Ben Nath played nearly a flawless round of golf Friday.
A sophomore on the Luverne boys’ golf team, Nath carded a 78 at the Southwest Conference golf meet.
Marshall’s C.J. Haukom fired a 77 to claim medalist honors.
But Nath was one swing away from a 76 and the top spot.
“I was putting well,” Nath said of his round. “I hit a couple of big putts to save par. I hit a couple of drives that were pretty good in the fairways and I hit a couple of spinners on the green to save myself a par.”
But on the par-3 seventh is where Nath got into trouble.
Missing the green to the right, Nath was in a hazard. When he grounded his club, Nath assessed himself a two-stroke penalty.
“I pushed my drive a little right,” Nath said. “I hit a 7-iron and the wind caught it and brought it back toward the water a little bit. I was right in the hazard and I was just barely in. I grounded my club, and two strokes.
“It was mowed, so I thought it was just rough. But then I saw the line and I was like, ‘You got me.’ I saw the Marshall guy, C.J., go outside the hazard and swing. But I was like, ‘Well, that’ll get me.’”
Nath defeated Marshall’s Will Murray (78) in a playoff to finish second individually.
Tiger Nate Berglind was fourth with an 81, while JCC’s Coltan Ward defeated PA’s Tate VanRoekel for fifth.
Both players finished with an 82.
“I made a lot of putts,” Ward said. “I hit the ball in the fairway on my drive quite often. And I got lucky.”
Ward had a hot start to his round Friday.
“I started off on No. 6, so I played the first four holes 2-over,” Ward said. “Then I parred seven straight and went bogey, double bogey to end out my round and shot a 39.
“I’ve been shooting pretty good, but not like this.”
VanRoekel had a 44 on the front nine, but had a career-best 38 on the back.
“I really golfed well on the back,” VanRoekel said. “I golfed a 42 earlier this year on the back, and I tried to come in around there, too. I was playing bogey golf on the front, which I thought I could do a little bit better. On the back I think I hit six of seven fairways. That was good accuracy on the driver.”
Besides being accurate on his drives, VanRoekel saved strokes around the green.
“If I didn’t hit the green in regulation, I put it very close on my next shot,” VanRoekel said. “That left me with quite a few one-putts. I had 13 (putts) on the back compared to 17 on the front. You knock off four strokes on the front if I make 13, and that’s a 40, too. I started hitting my fairways on the back, and that made everything a lot easier, too.”
The Luverne boys finished second with a 340, while JCC was third with a 353. Windom carded a 356 to place fourth, followed by PA (364), RV (375) and Worthington (402).
After Nath’s 78, Luverne was led by Cody Hemme’s 84. Brandon Klein and Tim Connell each fired an 89 for the Cardinals.
Tanner Asa finished with an 89 for the Huskies, with Pat Garvin and Tyler Asa each shooting a 91.
Hunter Johnson finished with an 84 to lead Windom, while Jared Heger carded an 85. Tom Elness (93) and Landon Johnson (94) each had scoring rounds for the Eagles.
Aaron Koslowski had a 90 for PA, with John Bush and Stephen Genzler each finished with a 96 for the Arrows.
Worthington was led by Scott Simpson’s 88. Seth Meier had a 102, with Joe Christensen (103) and Evan Almberg (109) each scoring for the Trojans.
The teams will begin sub-section competition next week.
“I’m just going to try to keep my head on straight and I don’t want to let this go to my head right before sub-sections and think I have to shoot an 82,” VanRoekel said. “I just have to go out there and try to play the best that I can and I can’t go out and expect to have another 38 round every single time we go out and golf. It’s going to be a different day each day and I’ll try to do the best that I can each day.”