SUB-SECTION 3AA GOLF: WHS takes sub-sectionTYLER — Ever since she was a freshman, Mariah Haffield’s goal was to qualify for the section golf meet. In her senior season, the member of the Worthington girls’ team achieved just that. “I’m so happy, I can’t even explain it,” Haffield said following Worthington’s team victory in the sub-section 3AA golf meet Wednesday.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
TYLER — Ever since she was a freshman, Mariah Haffield’s goal was to qualify for the section golf meet.
In her senior season, the member of the Worthington girls’ team achieved just that.
“I’m so happy, I can’t even explain it,” Haffield said following Worthington’s team victory in the sub-section 3AA golf meet Wednesday. “I was just so happy when I found out. It’s been my goal since freshman year to go to sections. I was so close last year, that really was hard to take in. I think it was like two strokes and that’s hard. To finally make it senior year is an accomplishment.”
The Trojans finished with a team score of 377, edging Marshall (386) and Luverne (394).
“We knew that we had a chance,” Worthington’s Kate Lesnar said. “We knew it was probably between us and Marshall and we had beaten them earlier in the season, so we knew we had a chance at it and we were hoping for the best.”
Lesnar turned out to be the best on the day.
She shot a medalist round of 85 to lead the Trojans.
“I started off a little rough, especially putting,” Lesnar said. “It was really windy, but once we got to the back nine I was doing better putting. I think I played better than my score. I hit the ball a lot better than I did on Monday and I was more consistent with my irons and driver.”
And Wednesday was extra special for Lesnar. It was her 17th birthday.
“It started my day off good,” she said. “My mom would always whisper, ‘Happy birthday,’ and I would smile.”
On the boys’ side, Marshall shot a 289 to finish five-over as a team. Luverne was second with a 328, Worthington was third with a 341 and Pipestone Area had a 355.
Lesnar, Harberts lead WHS to victory
Morgan Harberts was pretty accurate from just off the green.
The junior on Worthington’s girls’ golf team chipped in twice en route to an 86.
“I had a good day,” Harberts said. “I just stayed focused. I kind of slipped in the last three holes, but it was a good day.
“I had two chip ins and I had really good drives.”
Haffield had the third lowest round for the Trojans with a 99.
“I was really hoping for a 94,” she said. “I had a 47 on the front, which I was OK with. Then the back killed me. I had a problem putting and I had a problem chipping and that happens. I was just happy to keep it under 100.
“I was hoping to make it as an individual, and now that we’ve made it as a team, I’m just so happy. It’s one thing to share it with yourself, but it’s another thing to share it with your team.”
McKenzie Hurley had the other scoring round for the Trojans with a 107. Tyree Murray had a 109 and Genna Putnam finished with a 112.
A year ago, the Trojans lost to Marshall by eight strokes. This time around, WHS was determined not to let that happen again.
“We’re just so excited,” Haffield said. “Last year we had a chance, too, and this year we actually made it. Beating the Marshall streak, they’ve been going for how many years, it’s just great. I’m so proud of everybody on the team. It’s just a really good feeling.”
Lesnar was the medalist a year ago, winning by seven strokes. It was a little tighter this time around, but the result was still the same.
“I am really excited,” she said. “I really thought we were all going to make it last year, so it was just kind of disappointing that we didn’t all make it. But this year it’s going to be so much fun. I’m so excited.”
WHS head coach Ron Wood couldn’t remember the last time the Trojans advanced to the section meet.
“I think it means for the team that they see that they can play golf,” Wood said. “For this year and for next year, I think it will really be a building block for them to get better. To be able to take the whole team kind of builds the spirit and the desire to win.
“I’m excited. It’s a good thing for Worthington golf. We fly so far under the radar because we haven’t won for so long. Now they have to pay attention to us.”
While Luverne didn’t advance as a team, two individuals were able to qualify.
Kirsten Olson fired a 94 to lead LHS.
“I started off rough and went in the water hole after hole,” Olson said. “I started picking it up in the second round and I chipped it in on 15 or 16. I got all fives on the back nine. All fives and a two helped me out.”
Emilee Johnson had a 98 to give the Cardinals a second qualifier.
“There were just a couple of holes that I had a couple bad shots,” Johnson said. “For the most part, I think I did pretty good.
“I kind of knew it was going to be close and I was going to be close, so every shot it was like, ‘This could be it or I could mess it up.’”
Emily Spreiter (103) and Taylor Stratton (107) had scoring rounds for LHS.
“I’m pretty excited because a couple other people from my team are going, so hopefully it will be fun and hopefully we do good up there,” Johnson said. “Hopefully I make it to state. That would be crazy. That would be really fun and hopefully we get to do that.”
Johnson and Olson also qualified a year ago.
“It’s my last year, so it will be a nice finish to the year and hopefully we’ll go on,” Olson said. “I think it will be easier because you’ve already been there. We know what the course is like. Hopefully we shoot better than we did last year.”
Three Cardinals qualify individually
Matt Bennett was still shaking.
His round had been over for a few minutes, but his accomplishment hadn’t sunk in quite yet.
A sophomore on Marshall’s boys’ golf team, Bennett shot a 6-under 65 to take home medalist honors.
“I made pretty much every putt I had today. I hit the ball amazing and made everything on the greens,” Bennett said. “I’m still shaking and I finished five minutes ago. It’s amazing. I can’t believe I did so well, but I’ll take it. I’m excited.”
It was his best score of his career by six strokes as the Tigers ran away from the rest of the field.
“I played well on my first couple of holes,” Bennett said. “I had a bogey on 12 and then I just started making birdie and made every par possible and just kept it going.”
Brandon Klein, who was recovering from a moped accident, led a trio of Luverne qualifiers.
The senior fired a 78 as he advanced to the section tournament for the fifth time.
“I guess I didn’t play the best, but I guess it’s enough to make me qualify, so I’m happy with that,” Klein said. “It was a little windy to begin the day. But my putter went a little better today.
“My approach shots weren’t as accurate today and I didn’t hit as many greens as I wanted to. My chipping, I was way off today. I’m hoping by next week these things will be healed up and I won’t have to wear my gloves.”
Dylan Skattum and Mark Spreiter each finished with an 83 for Luverne as the other two qualifiers.
“I could have done better,” Skattum said. “My putting struggled a lot and I wasn’t confident off the tee at all. My short game saved me.
“I wish I could have done better, but we’ll try to do better at sections.”
Skattum will be making his fifth appearance at sections.
“It helps a lot actually,” he said. “I like it that they don’t change the course every year. It really helps out a lot.”
Meanwhile, Spreiter is going for the first time.
“I drove the ball well and played my irons pretty good,” he said. “My putting struggled a little bit, but my short game kind of held me in it.
“I’ll just work on putting mostly, I just have to get better on putting and I’ll be shooting a little bit better.”
Austin Maxwell (84) lost in a playoff for the final spot.
That spot went to Pipestone Area’s Brock Morgan, who also fired an 84. AJ Bucher (88), Blake Olsen (91) and Trent VanRoekel (92) also had scoring rounds for PA.
For the Trojans, Seth Meier carded an 83 to qualify for the section meet.
“I was a little nervous the first couple of holes then I got used to everything and I started playing my game,” Meier said.
Jake Woll (85), Will Mulder (86) and Jacob Weg (87) each had scoring rounds for WHS.
The section meet is on May 31 at Eagle Creek Golf Course in Willmar.
“Personally, I’m working on my putting and chipping because that’s definitely my weakest point right now,” Haffield said. “I’ll work a lot on my driver, too, because that was hurting me a little bit. I think as a team we all need to work on our short game.”