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Brian Wierima / Forum Communications, Published June 12 2012

Detroit Lakes boys, girls have lead after first day at Class 2A state golf

JORDAN, Minn. – While the Detroit Lakes girls golf team took a commanding first-day lead Tuesday, the Lakers boys maintained a narrow three-stroke lead after the first day of the Class 2A state meet at the Ridges at Sand Creek golf course.

With four golfers posting top 10 individual scores, the Lakers girls posted a first-day team scorer of 308 – 27 strokes ahead of second-place Minnewaska. The Lakers girls finished second at state last year.

Detroit Lakes eighth-grader Kate Smith carded a 70 to take the first-day individual lead. She was followed by teammates Trisa Hutchinson who carded a fourth-place 77, Matty Tschider who had an eighth-place 80 and Courtney Hedstrom who had a 10th-place 81.

Paced by Karter Smith’s 5-under-par 67 that was good for first place, the Laker boys tallied a 291 score – three strokes ahead of second-place Staples-Motley.

For Karter Smith, a junior, and senior Tyler Baukol, who sits in a tie for second place with a one-under par 71, the day was about comfort and putting – putting the Lakers in position to defend last year’s state title.

“I had a lot of breaks today and I made a lot of putts I normally wouldn’t make,” Smith said. “I’ve had one 67 before in competitive play, but nothing like that in a meet this big.”

Smith started off strong by shooting for three birdies on the front nine, which led into a four-birdie back nine. He finished with seven birdies and just two bogeys.

He shot a 34 on the front and 33 on the back.

“Our goal at state has been everything about team and Staples-Motley is right behind us,” Smith added. “We just need to stay focused.”

Even though Smith doesn’t say it, his second-place finish last year where he missed first by one stroke was a motivating factor for the Laker junior heading into this season’s state.

“Karter missed the state title last year by one stroke and the Minnesota State Junior’s in a playoff, so he was motivated,” said DL head coach Bob Gorden. “He was on today, he made all his shots.”

As did Baukol, who came in as one of the Lakers’ most consistent golfers and a carry over from last year’s state championship team, along with Smith, junior Austin Rusness and sophomore Michael Herzog.

Baukol started off a little sluggish to his round after making par on the first hole, followed by three straight bogeys after that.

“I just had to calm down and play my game, and after that, I made six birdies in my final 12 holes,” Baukol said.

His one-under 71 was keyed by the par five holes, where he made three birdies.

“My putting was big, I made some ridiculous par putts,” Baukol added. “I knew I could be around par if I stayed focus. It was nice to play this well at state.”

It was business as usual for the Laker girls, who now have shot under 310 four times this season.

“Our goal was just to stay consistent and try to shoot under 310 again,” said Lakers coach Cali Harrier. “I told the girls, if we can shoot under 310, we will be in contention at the very least.”

It was also announced Tuesday, the Lakers won the Academic State Championship.

“As always, it was just another day of golf for the girls,” Harrier said. “The girls were smart out on the course and they showed they know what they are doing.”

For Smith, she joins her older brother, junior Karter Smith, on top of the leaderboard.

“I made my first big birdie putt on hole eight and from there things went well,” said Kate Smith, who could potentially become one of the youngest girls to win a state title. “I made a chip on hole 14 to save par and that set me up for some birdies after that.”

She birdied out on holes 17 and 18 to drop to two-under 70.

Following Smith was sophomore Trisa Hutchinson, who struggled by shooting a 41 on the front nine, but made par on the back to break 80 with a 77 and tied for fourth.

“Trisa struggled on her front nine, but broke even on her final nine,” Harrier said. “That shows the drive she has.”

The Lakers were in a somewhat similar situation in last year’s state meet, when they led after the first day.

But that lead was only by one stroke over powerhouse Red Wing, which went on to win the state, while the Lakers finished as state runners-up.

Tuesday’s 27-stroke cushion feels much better, needless to say.

“It’s a nice lead, but we still need to play well,” Smith said.

Brian Wierima is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune