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Golf: Trojans' Lesnar qualifies for state

WILLMAR -- Kate Lesnar double bogeyed her first hole Thursday at the Seciton 3AA golf tournament. But rather than a sign of bad things to come, it was only a tiny bump in the road at Eagle Creek in Willmar. Lesnar finished her day with an 18-hole total of 80 strokes --good enough for second place in the girls field and a berth in the state tournament.

The Worthington senior will compete in her third straight state meet June 11-12 at Ridges at Sand Creek near Jordan. Her coach, Ron Wood, believes she can follow up Thursday's performance with another outstanding score there.

"When we get to state, our goal is to make it into the top 10," Wood said Thursday night.

Lesnar's day started with a 43 on the back nine at Eagle Creek, a stretch that included, in Wood's words, "some tricky holes." Wheras the front nine -- where the boy golfers started their day --is longer and more open, the back nine is more wooded.

On her last nine holes, Lesnar shot a 37.

"She didn't have a whole lot of pars. It was either bogey or birdie," Wood described Lesnar's day, which included a birdie on a tough par-4 eighth hole. "They balanced themselves out. She really got it going on her back nine."

Lesnar will be joined at state by Jackson County Central freshman Abby Brinkman, who placed fourth in the girls competition with an 86.

Minnewaska won the girls team championship with a 341 and will advance to state as a squad. Marshall finished second with a 375 while Windom Area carded 388 and Benson 444.

On the boys' side, Marshall placed first with a 315. New London-Spicer was close behind at 318. Redwood Valley had a 343 and Benson a 357.

Another Worthington Trojan, senior Morgan Harberts, placed in the 22 position with a 48-51 for 99 strokes. One bad hole hurt her overall score, Wood said. She was in her second competition at the sectional level.

Worthington's Seth Meier, in his second time in the sections, placed 20th with a 43-42 -- 85. Trojan teammate Alex Kremer (who struggled on one hole with a 10) had a 48-41 --89. A third Trojan, Jacob Woll, scored 52-50 --102.

Area boys who did well at Willmar included Joe Brinkman of Jackson County Central, who was 14th with an 83; Luverne's Matt Sterrett with an 84; and Luverne's Mark Spreiter with an 87. Matt Bennett of Marshall was the meet medalist with 76 strokes.

Alexis Guggisberg of Minnewaska was the girls medalist with a 75. Other area girls who performed well Thursday included Emilee Johnson of Luverne, 10th place with a 91; Kelsey Hanefield and Megan Will of Windom Area, tied for 14th with 93s; Jackson County Central's Emma Lilleberg, 20th with a 97; and Alison Benson, also of JCC, with a 99.

Lesnar placed 40th at state as a sophomore and 14th last year as a junior. Wood says her personal discipline should keep her steady at the big 36-hole tournament.

"To be a good golfer, you have to be willing to practice and spend a lot of time on some very tedious chipping and putting," Wood said. "And that's the one statistic that for Kate stands out every year. She's the best chipper and best putter on the team, boy or girl."

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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