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By Steve Thomas / Bismarck Tribune, Published October 01 2012

Eagles out front early, snag lead at ND Class A state girls golf meet

MANDAN, N.D. – Fargo Davies coach Heather Yarber said her team didn’t play its best golf on Monday, but she’ll take it.

So much so, that she’d probably settle for another helping of the same in today’s second and final day of the North Dakota Class A state girls golf tournament.

The defending champion Eagles shot a 330 in Monday’s first round at Mandan’s Prairie West Golf Course.

Century and Fargo North trailed in a tie for second place at 343.

“I definitely think we can play better,” Yarber said. “I feel good about improving on 330 (today), but if we shoot another 330, I’d take that, too. It’s a good, solid score.”

Dickinson and Grand Forks Red River posted a 363 to share fourth place.

Fargo North senior Annie Twells leads the race for medalist honors with a 77. She shot an even-par 36 on the back nine.

Tied in the runner-up spot with 79s are Davies junior Kathleen Marsh and Jamestown freshman Sierra Bennion.

Junior Ashley Bixby of West Fargo and freshman Alex Woken are tied for fourth at 80.

Century, the West Region and 2010 state champion, had four scores in the 80s to tally its 343. Alex Leidholm led the Patriots with a 80, followed by Annie Nelson at 84 and Lauren Bischof and Lindsay Reede with 89s.

Century coach Cherlene Nelson said the Patriots are still definitely in the fray.

“I know we can play better,” Nelson said. “I think the first-day jitters were in there. Hopefully, tomorrow we can come in a little more relaxed.”

Likewise, North coach Jolene Schue figures her team can shave some strokes today.

“There’s room for improvement. All of our girls can improve on their rounds,” Schue said. “Annie Twells was even par on the back nine and Addie Long was two over on the back nine.

“We have to have three or four girls come in five to 10 strokes lower than they did today and that will help close the gap.”

Twells improved by five strokes on the back nine, a perfectly normal outing for her.

“I always do better on the back nine. I get in a groove and it’s hard to stop once you start (getting pars),” she said.

Twells, the East Region tournament medalist, said a seven on the par-five sixth hole put a dent in Monday’s front-nine score.

In order to play Prairie West, Twells said she had to adapt on the fly.

“It was mostly my chipping and putting. These greens are so different from the East,” she said. “They’re so much more undulated. And the fairways here are so narrow that it’s really difficult, especially on No. 11.”

From the red tees, No. 11 is a par 4, 320-yard hole.

Marsh, last year’s state runner-up, was cruising along two over par when she posted a six on the par 3 15th hole. She went five-over on the final four holes.

“I’m pretty mad,” she said. “I was doing well and I did OK on the back until I had a triple (bogie) on a par 3.”

At Mandan, N.D.

Team scores: Fargo Davies 330, Bismarck Century 343, Fargo North 343, Dickinson 363, Grand Forks Red River 376, West Fargo 376, Minot 383, Jamestown 390, Wahpeton 393, Mandan 406, Fargo Shanley 411, Grand Forks Central 414.

Top 5: 1, Twells, FN, 77. 2 (tie), Bennion, J; K. Marsh, FD, 79. 4 (tie), Bixby, WF; Woken, FD, 80.

Other Area Finisher

Fargo Davies: J. Marsh 85, Meyer 86, Gemar 87, Kosir 106.

West Fargo: Rheault 96, Kraft 97, A. Peterson 103, S. Peterson 103, Brown 109.

Fargo North: Long 83, Jenson 90, Berg 93, Spiess 99, Sklebar 106.

Fargo Shanley: Armstrong 99, Wold 103, Hanson 104, Thimjon 105, Corbid 109, Dietz 118.