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Brian Wierima / Forum News Service, Published June 11 2013

Detroit Lakes leads after first day at Minnesota Class 2A state girls golf

JORDAN, Minn. – Although the Detroit Lakes girls golf team moved through its competition this past season, it saved its best for when it counts during the Minnesota Class 2A state meet Tuesday at The Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Course.

The Lakers came out swinging and claimed a 19-stroke lead over Minnewaska by carding a new DL record of 297.

DL just missed the all-time Minnesota record by one stroke, which is held by Minnewaska.

Minnewaska shot a second-place 316 Tuesday in the first round.

“Yeah, 296 is definitely still one of our goals,” said junior Natalie Roth, who leads the meet after shooting a 2-under-par 70.

But first things first for the Lakers, and that’s winning their second straight Class 2A state championship.

The 2012 state individual champion freshman Kate Smith looked to be back on track after a subpar Section 8 meet forced her to play as the Lakers’ No. 5 golfer for the opening round of the state meet.

The Lakers again had four of their counted scores under 80, the seventh time that has happened this season. That included Roth’s 70, Smith’s 72, junior Trisa Hutchinson’s 77 and sophomore Sydney Busker’s 78.

Smith came out a bit rugged, but a birdie on the fifth hole settled her in, which led to 36-36 for an even par 72, two strokes behind teammate Roth.

“I got on a par train there for a while on holes nine through 14,” Smith said. “I had a lot of two-putts, which led to pars, so I can’t complain.”

After shooting a team fifth-best 82 in the Section 8 meet, Smith was motivated to get back in the swing of things. she did just that, as she is in contention for her second state individual title as just a freshman.

“Kate was definitely motivated to bounce back,” said DL head coach Cali Harrier. “She is that type of player, even though she was golfing in the fifth group, Kate is just going to go out and play golf.”

After breaking out during the 2012 season, Roth was one of DL’s most consistent golfers through the 2013 season.

She came into the state meet focused and set some goals to pace her through her first-day round, in which she shot a 37 on the front nine, then broke out for a 3-under-par 33 on the back.

“My main goal on the front nine was to stay steady and shoot a 36, and I was a little bit off with a 37,” Roth said. “Then I started with two birdies on 10 and 11, and it just kind of happened that I started shooting well.”

Roth capped her round with a 12-foot birdie putt on hole 18 to put her in the lead, two strokes ahead of teammate Smith, who holds second place alone by two strokes.

With the team championship first and foremost on the goal list, the individual medalist honor is still up for grabs between the two teammates, as well as Hannah Peterson of Marshall, who had a 74.

“Being (individual) state champion has been my goal since I’ve started playing golf,” Roth said. “I think everyone on our team is thinking of shooting a good individual score, and if that happens, the team score will not be a problem.”

Team scores: Detroit Lakes 297, Minnewaska 316, Pequot Lakes 327, Lake City 347, Providence Academy 353, Visitation 360, Fairmont 379, Hibbing 381.

Top 10 scores: 1, Roth, DL, 70. 2, Smith, DL, 72. 3, Peterson, Marshall, 74. 4, Heggerston, PL, 75. 5 (tie), Stone, PL; Janu, Minnewaska, 76. 7 (tie), Guggisberg, Minnewaska; Hutchinson, DL; Heck, Visitation, 77. 10, Busker, DL, 78.

Other finishers

DL: 19, Thompson 83. 23, Tschider 84.

Fergus Falls: 73, Niblock 101.

Park Rapids: 69, Dearstyne 98.

Pelican Rapids: 30, Bekkerus 86.

Perham: 14, Nelson 81. 32, Huus 87.

Wierima is the sports editor of the Detroit Lakes Tribune