State high school golf: Herding in tie for first; rain halts play

They say that in sports, excellence doesn't come easy.It certainly won't be easy for most of the high school golfers competing in the 2016 state tournament. Heavy rains drenched the Class A, Class AA and Class AAA courses on the first day of comp...


They say that in sports, excellence doesn’t come easy.
It certainly won’t be easy for most of the high school golfers competing in the 2016 state tournament. Heavy rains drenched the Class A, Class AA and Class AAA courses on the first day of competition Tuesday, meaning that many golfers will attempt to squeeze four rounds into one day.
One golfer, however, who’ll begin today (Wednesday) with a head-start on accomplishing her goal will be Westbrook-Walnut Grove senior Abby Herding, who managed to complete the first day of Class A girls competition at Pebble Beach Golf Club in Becker.
Herding, coming off three consecutive top-10 finishes at the state meet (including third place last year), finished 18 holes Tuesday with identical rounds of 39 strokes. Her 18-hole total of 78 strokes placed her in a tie with Legacy Christian Academy’s Sophie Gray (41-37) and two strokes ahead of last year’s winner, Kiera Smith of Heritage Christian Academy (44-36 - 80).
While the Class A girls field finished Day One, none of the other groups did. Play will be resumed this morning at 7 p.m. at all sites, with all competitiors picking up on the holes they were on when play was suspended.
Worthington Trojans Tyler Van Hove and Jacob Prunty, competing in the Class AA boys tourney at Ridges of Sand Creek in Jordan, barely began their state tournament experience on Tuesday. Prunty completed his first two holes and Tyler finished the first and had just teed off on the second when they were called to the clubhouse.
WHS head coach John Koller said that he thought the tournament directors might cut the tournament from a 36-hole affair to an 18-hole affair due to the thunderstorms. But that was not the case, leaving him to wonder Tuesday night.
“I bet that’ll be 10 miles of walking,” he said.
It was still raining after 7 p.m. Tuesday in Jordan. The course will obviously be moist today for the high school linksters.
Even so, Koller said Van Hove and Prunty should handle the conditions as well as anyone.
“Both those guys are cross-country athletes and three-sport athletes, so they’re both in pretty good shape. I think that’s an advantage for us.”
Koller added, “They know it’s going to be a big day tomorrow, and it’ll be a long day. I don’t know, we’ll have to get an early breakfast - maybe find a snack bar.”
The Class A girls’ field, however, is on schedule. In the team standings, Section 3A champion Windom Area rests at the No. 2 spot with 368 strokes - exactly 20 behind the leader, Fillmore Central. BOLD, with a 369, is third, followed by Park Christian (373), Springfield (378), Minneota (381), Fosston (387) and North Woods (419).
Leigh Hanefeld has Windom Area’s top score, an 87. Other Eagles include Hallie Will (90), Emily Jackson (91), Paige Pigman (100), Tori Christoffer (114) and Allie Ward (152).
Individual qualifier Alexia Kemper of Adrian struck a 93 on the first day. Teammate Jada Elias carded a 97. Murray County Central’s Abby Hamman had a 104.
Some Class A boys finished their first 18 holes Tuesday. Many others did not.
Murray County Central, which represents Section 3A in the boys tournament, got their holes in. The Rebels, playing in their fifth straight state team event, finished the first day with 387 strokes. Three other teams finished: Sleepy Eye United has 335 strokes, Lac Qui Parle Valley has 339, and Walker-Hackensack-Akely has 353. Mounds Park Academy, Blooming Prairie, Mahnomen/Waubun and Mille Lacs were all unable to finish on the first day.
MCC player Tyler Groves, the Section 3A boys champ, has 88 strokes after compiling identical rounds of 44 strokes Tuesday. Teammates Brad Schreiber (91), Jack Pierson (92) and Cole Ahlers (116) follow.
Other Class A boys individual qualifiers include Ryan Elias of Adrian, Stuart Plimpton of Hills-Beaver Creek, Kyle Kuehl of Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Tylan Porath of Windom Area - all who were unable to complete their first 18.
No golfers completed 18 holes in the Class AA boys field. Besides Van Hove and Prunty, Chaz Smedsrud of Luverne will have a long day of golfing ahead of him today.
In the Class AA girls tournament, Detroit Lakes senior Kate Smith was able to finish. She ranks first among the first-day finishers with 69 strokes - two strokes ahead of second-place Anni Heck of Visitation.
Smith is attempting to become Minnesota’s first-ever five-time individual champion.
Jackson County Central golfers Abby Brinkman and Abby Benson have no reportable scores.

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
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