PREP BOYS' AND GIRLS' GOLF: Eagle girls win SWC golf crownREDWOOD FALLS — Winning is nothing new to Kaylee Benson. A senior on Jackson County Central’s girls’ golf team, Benson added another Southwest Conference championship to her résumé on Monday.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
REDWOOD FALLS — Winning is nothing new to Kaylee Benson.
A senior on Jackson County Central’s girls’ golf team, Benson added another Southwest Conference championship to her résumé on Monday.
“It’s a good accomplishment, especially for not playing as well as I can,” Benson said. “I’m looking forward to the next couple of meets.”
Benson fired an 84 and needed a playoff to edge Marshall’s Hanna Peterson.
“I was hitting my driver pretty well or anything off the tee,” Benson said. “I only missed two fairways, so that was good. I just couldn’t hit any greens and my chipping is not very good right now.
“A lot of it is when I tore my ACL I lost my muscle, so I’m trying to convince myself to go up a club. But I’ll tell myself no, it will be too long.”
Windom won the team competition, finishing with a 377, defeating JCC by six strokes.
“It feels really awesome,” Windom’s Hannah Kloss said. “It means that we’re the best team around this area. We work really hard, so I think we definitely earned it.”
Marshall was third with a team score of 386, while Worthington was fourth with a 410. Luverne (416) and Redwood Valley (418) were fifth and sixth, respectively.
On the boys’ side, Marshall ran away with the title by shooting a 299.
“What can you do? They are just solid up and down,” Windom coach Dave Eyberg said. “We played them up there and they had two 39s they didn’t use in our head-to-head match. It’s rare you get a team like that.”
Redwood Valley was second with a 314, while Luverne was a close third with a 316. Windom (337) was fourth, JCC (339) was fifth, Worthington (348) was sixth and Pipestone Area (379) was seventh.
Benson repeats as conference champion
For the third time in four years, Benson won the individual crown.
After winning as a freshman, she was second as a sophomore before winning last year and this year.
“I didn’t have pressure from other people, but I felt pressure on myself because I feel like I have to sore low because I’m a senior and it’s my last year, so I have to do well,” Benson said.
Benson and Peterson each shot identical scores, so a playoff was needed to determine the winner.
It only took one hole.
“I hit a pretty good tee shot and my second shot was pretty good,” Benson said. “That helped. I got on in two, so that puts a little more pressure on the other girl.”
Benson made a par for the win.
Now, her sights are set on Thursday’s sub-section meet.
“We’ll have a practice round (Tuesday), so I just have to keep working on chipping and putting. That will help,” she said. “I want to try to get around even par would be nice, otherwise, mid-70s.”
While Benson finished her playoff in one hole, Worthington’s Kate Lesnar needed a few more.
“Once I stepped up on No. 1 again, it was like déjà vu,” Lesnar said.
She played a total of 23 holes Monday — including five for a playoff for sixth place.
“I struggled at the beginning to hit the ball and to focus and to go back after that break,” she said of the break. “The last hole was really good for me and it gave me confidence.”
Lesnar fired a 94 and was in a playoff with Windom’s Marissa Cartwright.
But in the playoff, Lesnar won in the fifth hole to claim the final all-conference spot.
“I think it’s really good for me to be all conference,” Lesnar said. “It’s a good honor to have. Just to say that you’re all-conference, it’s a big deal, I think.”
Megan Will and Kloss each finished with a 92 to tie for third overall for the Eagles.
“I thought I played very well,” Kloss said. “I just went out there and did the best I could and apparently today it worked out the way I wanted it to.
“Today I had more mental toughness than I have in the past. I’ve been working on that in the last few days. It just all clicked today, I guess.”
Will, meanwhile, wasn’t as pleased with her score.
“I struggled, I thought, a lot,” Will said. “But I can’t complain. It was a nice day, it was one of the nicer days we’ve had in a very long time. I wasn’t doing the best, but I finished strong.
“I just couldn’t hit it. I was frustrated and it seemed like I couldn’t get it to go straight.”
Kelsey Hanefeld carded a 99 for the Eagles as each scoring round was less than 100.
“We just went out there and we played our best. Everything seems to come together for us on the right day,” Kloss said. “We all know where we want to be and we all shoot at about the same level, which really comes in handy on a day like today. I would just say it’s because of how hard we work.”
Having scores that low and that close was normal for the Eagles.
“It was like that all year long, I don’t know what it was,” Eyberg said. “They just gel good together. It seemed like every once in a while one of them might have a down meet, but somebody else would pick them up. It was like that last year and it wasn’t any different this year.”
For JCC, Shelby Benson had a 98, Lexie Hoffman had a 100 and Alison Benson added a 101.
Mariah Haffield had a 104 for the Trojans, while Morgan Harberts had a 105 and Genna Putnam had a 107. McKenzie Hurley had a 113 and Tyree Murray had a 118 for WHS.
Luverne was led by Emily Spreiter, who carded a 92 to tie for third overall. Makayla Sterrett fired a 101, Emilee Johnson had a 106 and Alice Anderson had a 117 for the Cardinals.
Injury doesn’t slow Luverne’s Klein
Brandon Klein had heavy bandages on both hands and a visible wound on his left knee.
But it didn’t seem to bother him.
Recovering from a moped accident last week, Klein fired a 75 for the Luverne boys’ golf team to finish fourth overall.
“I didn’t expect to shoot this well today, I was just seeing how I could shoot before Wednesday, which is a big day for me,” he said. “But this was fun today. I didn’t putt very well, which killed me.”
Klein had to make a sudden stop while riding his moped last Tuesday. The crash that resulted left scrapes on both his hands.
“Today, it didn’t bother me. I put a bunch of padding around it and it was all good,” Klein said.
He had played the day before the accident, but hadn’t been able to play a round since.
“This happened on Tuesday, but the last day I played was Monday. This was my first round,” Klein said. “I tried hitting the day after it happened and it hurt then. I took off the meet Thursday.”
He was able to play well, finishing behind medalist Adam Hengel (71) from Redwood Valley and Marshall’s Matt Bennett (72) and Alex Buysse (74).
“I hit the ball good. I think I hit 14 greens. I only made one birdie, but I can work on putting before Wednesday,” Klein said. “I wanted to shoot good, shoot low and get all conference and I accomplished that. I made my goal. Putting was the only thing I could have improved on. That would have helped me get medalist. But fourth place, I’ll take it. Having this injury, I didn’t know what to expect.”
At the sub-section meet on Wednesday, he will probably still have the heavy bandage on both hands.
“I have a wrapping and under it I have tape and Band-Aids and I wore a glove on both hands all day,” Klein said. “I just wanted to feel comfortable without the stinging effect. I can’t blame it on the putting, but maybe that’s what it was.”
After Klein, Dylan Skattum finished with a 77, while Matt Sterrett had a 79 and Mark Spreiter carded an 85 for Luverne.
Windom was led by Landon Johnson’s 81, while Adam Eisenmenger fired an 84, Thomas Ellness had an 85 and Dylan Pigman had an 87.
JCC was led by Joe Brinkman, who finished with an 81.
“I think I did all right,” Brinkman said. “I ended up hitting 4-iron and hybrid off the tee box because my driver and 3-wood weren’t very happy today, I guess.
“I think I brought my hips through too quick and my hands were late.”
But as a freshman, Brinkman is gaining valuable experience for the coming years.
“I’ve had a lot of experience playing with those kids. I’ve been playing with them since 7th grade,” he said. “The experience is awesome. In my 7th and 8th grade year, I was so bummed because I couldn’t hit the ball as far as they could. It’s not really about the driver, it’s more about your putting and short game.”
Kyle Christopher had an 84, Jack Ringkob finished with an 86 and Kyle Edlin had an 88 to round out the scoring for the Huskies.
Alex Kremer fired a low round of 79 to lead the Trojans.
“It didn’t look very pretty on the scorecard,” Kremer said. “I had two triple bogeys, but I made enough birdies to compensate for some of it. Obviously, I had some more bogeys along the way, but that’s what’s going to happen at a tough course like Redwood.”
He had played the back 9 before, but never the front.
“I actually played better on the front than I did on the back,” Kremer said. “I guess I was a little bit more careful with my shots.”
Will Mulder (87), Zach Heidebrink (90), Jacob Woll (93), Jacob Weg (94) and Seth Meier (97) rounded out the scores for WHS.
Pipestone Area was led by Brock Morgan, while finished with an 83. AJ Bucher (93), Trent Van Roekel (101) and Jadan Stahl (102) rounded out the scoring for the Arrows.
Worthington, Marshall, Luverne and PA will be at sub-sections on Wednesday in Tyler.
“I think I’ll be out all day (Tuesday) getting ready and hopefully I play well,” Lesnar said. “I like Tyler, so hopefully it goes well.”
JCC and Windom are at Buffalo Lake on Thursday.
“I think it will give us a lot of confidence,” Kloss said. “Most of the teams we play here are in our sub-section as well and to know that we beat them already, it will be a big confidence booster for going into Thursday.”
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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.