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Section 3A golf: Windom Area, MCC teams advance to state

WORTHINGTON -- The fairway grass at the Worthington Country Club was tall enough to lose a ball in Wednesday.That fact was not lost on the high school golfers who finished their Section 3A tournament there."It was very tall when we pulled up here...

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TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Windom Eagles golfer Hallie Will follows her putt at the Section 3A golf meet at Worthington Country Club.

 

WORTHINGTON - The fairway grass at the Worthington Country Club was tall enough to lose a ball in Wednesday.
That fact was not lost on the high school golfers who finished their Section 3A tournament there.
“It was very tall when we pulled up here,” said Windom Area junior Hallie Will. “We were like, ‘We have to play in that?’ It was like a prairie.”
A week of rainy weather made for a golf course with healthy green, thick grass on Day Two of the 36-hole Section 3A tournament. But Will said she didn’t lose a single ball - in the grass or in water hazards - on her way to a final score of 169 strokes. Her 87 combined with an 82 on Day One of the tournament to qualify her easily for the upcoming Minnesota state Class A tournament.
“My driver was going good. My putting was good. A hundred and fifty yards to 100 yards was very good,” she said.
With Will’s fine day (she was second overall), the Windom Eagles girls won the team portion of the tournament with 751 total strokes, which meant that all of Will’s teammates will compete in the state tourney, too, June 14-15 at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove finished in second place with 817 strokes. Adrian had 860 and Fulda 915.
It was no surprise that senior Abby Herding of Westbrook-Walnut Grove earned girls medalist honors Wednesday. Herding, who placed third in last year’s state Class A meet, entered Wednesday’s competition just one stroke better than Will. She finished with a 163 (carding an 82 on Day Two).
Tyler Groves captured boys medalist honors with 166 strokes (86-80) in leading his Murray County Central team to its fifth consecutive state tournament berth. The Rebels easily won the Section 3A meet with 704 strokes followed by Westbrook-Walnut Grove with 749, Fulda 751 and Windom Area 759.
Groves, a sophomore, shot an 80 on Wednesday, following an 86 on his first 18. One of his teammates, Brad Schreiber, led him by two strokes after Day One, and finished with a 171.
“I putted really well today. I think being only two strokes back and having a friendly competition with Brad - definitely a goal was to win,” Groves said.
All the Windom Area girls and MCC boys qualify for state. That also includes Eagle girls Paige Pigman (187), Emily Jackson (189), Tori Christopher (213), Allie Ward (303) and Leigh Hanefield (inc.); and Rebel boys Jack Pierson (174) and Cole Ahlers (193).
Other golfers who qualified as individuals were: girls Brooklyn Maasch of Wabasso (189), Alexia Kemper of Adrian (199), Abby Hamman of Murray County Central (201) and Jada Elias of Adrian (203); boys Jeremy Alsaker of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (169), Ryan Elias of Adrian (171), Tylan Porath of Windom Area (171), Stuart Plimpton of Hills-Beaver Creek (180) and Kyle Kuehl of Westbrook-Walnut Grove (180).
Qualifying for the state tournament was a special thrill for Will, who qualified last year by achieving fourth place in the section meet but was unable to attend because she’d pre-paid for a school trip to Washington DC.
She’s excited to be in Becker this year instead of sightseeing, and she’s equally excited to be going with the team.
“We’re very young. But we never gave up. We stuck through it,” she said of her Eagle teammates.
Herding, whose consistently high expectations have caused her to take other medalist performances in stride, didn’t seem overwhelmed by her 163. But the Worthington Country Club, with its narrow fairways, is not her favorite course to play. And then, of course, there was the thick grass to wade through on Wednesday.
“Considering the conditions, I’ll take it,” she said.
Herding said she still has some serious practicing to do before tackling Pebble Creek. She said she’s already mentally ready, though.
“Since the beginning of the year,” she said, smiling.
Groves said the grass conditions at the Worthington course on Wednesday meant that competitors needed to use a lofted club often. “Because otherwise, you get stuck in it.”
The MCC team qualification was special to him. Five consecutive state berths for the Rebel boys is nothing to sneeze at.
On Wednesday, Groves was already looking ahead to next year.
“We don’t graduate anyone this year,” he said. “Hopefully we can do it next year and make it six years in a row.”

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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