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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published September 30 2013

Packers' Bixby leads after first day of ND Class A state girls golf meet

GRAND FORKS – Grand Forks Red River hasn’t won a girls golf meet this spring. Ashley Bixby has shared top scores, but she’s yet to win an outright individual championship.

But, after the first day of the North Dakota Class A state girls golf meet, Red River and the West Fargo senior both are sitting on top.

Red River holds a narrow lead going into today’s final round at Grand Forks Country Club. The Roughriders shot a 351. Fargo North and defending state champion Fargo Davies are two strokes back at 353. Also shooting sub-360 scores were Bismarck Century (357) and West Fargo (358).

Bixby shot a 74, two strokes ahead of Kathleen Marsh of Fargo Davies and Annie Nelson of Bismarck Century.

Bixby, who finished third in the East Region in average (80.4), matched her low round of the season to take her two-stroke lead.

“I knew I could shoot like this,” Bixby said. “But lately my game has been in a bit of a funk. I haven’t played as well as I feel I’m capable. But it just felt right today.”

Bixby had a 40 on the front nine, but closed strong with a 34. She had four birdies – one on the front nine and three, including the 17th and 18 holes, on the final nine.

“That 40 gave me a little motivation,” Bixby said. “There are a lot of good players. A 40 wasn’t going to cut it. I was a little more focused after that.”

Casey DeBeltz paced the Roughriders. Her 80 is tied for fifth place. The senior DeBeltz, the No. 1 golfer for the Roughriders all season, had a previous best round of 83 this season. Rounding out Red River’s four scorers were Morgan Hetletved (87), Alexis Caoili (92) and Hilary Whalen (92). The 351 matched Red River’s low round of the season.

“Casey’s always been leading us,” Red River coach Ann Arnason said. “Today she got herself in a zone. It’s all coming together for her at the right time. It’s great to see. She’s worked hard.”

Other top-eight finishers from a year ago include Nelson (tied for eighth last season), Kathleen Marsh (third last season), Dickinson’s Rachel Jahner (fourth at 79, second last season), Davies’ Jennifer Marsh (tied for fifth at 80, sixth last season) and Jamestown’s Sierra Bennion (tied for fifth at 80, tied for fourth last season).

Team scores: Grand Forks Red River 351, Fargo Davies 353, Fargo North 353, Bismarck Century 357, West Fargo 358, Dickinson 362, Fargo Shanley 363, Jamestown 364, Bismarck 366, Minot 368, Wahpeton 370, Mandan 391, Grand Forks Central 398

Top 10: 1. Ashley Bixby, West Fargo, 74. 2. (tie) Annie Nelson, Bismarck Century, and Kathleen Marsh, Fargo Davies, 76. 4. Rachel Jahner, Dickinson, 79. 5. (tie) Katie Kasper, Bismarck, Jennifer Marsh, Davies, Riana Cooper, Dickinson, Sierra Bennion, Jamestown, and Casey DeBeltz, Red River, 80. 10. Jessica Vig, Fargo Shanley, 82

Teams

GF Red River (351): Casey DeBeltz 80, Morgan Hetletved 87, Alexis Caoili 92, Hilary Whalen 92, Betsy Seaver 93, Samantha DeBeltz 108

Fargo Davies (353): Kathleen Marsh 76, Jennifer Marsh 80, Anna Davison 98, Amber Kosir 99, Lexa Brossart 103, Jenna Forknell 107

Fargo North (353): Abby Sklebar 84, Keely Spiess 88, Addie Long 90, Hanna Berg 91, Kally Kvidera 96, Kenzie Jenson 100

Bismarck Century (357): Annie Nelson 76, Alexis Blazek 93, Sydney Smith 94, Kayla Smith 94, Lauren Fleming 101, Grace Doppler 101

West Fargo (358): Ashley Bixby 74, Ashley Peterson 91, Sierra Peterson 95, Brittany Rheault 98, Kennedy Kraft 104, Katie Froemke 106

Dickinson (362): Rachel Jahner 79, Riana Cooper 80, Rachel Lantz 101, Kelsey Yon 102, Katherine Kessel 106, Sydney Charchenko 112

Fargo Shanley (363): Jessica Vig 82, Payton Thimjon 92, Hannah Ohm 94, Marcela Hanson 95, Abby Armstrong 96, Aly Corbid 99

Jamestown (364): Sierra Bennion 80, Kaitlin Mullowney 93, Maria LeFevre 95, Sarah Azure 96, Mara LeFevre 106, Savannah Kramlich 115

Bismarck (366): Katie Kasper 80, Taylor Miller 92, Gretta Gilje 97, Irelyn Huntley 97, Kylie Bergan 102, Carissa Craven 104

Minot (368): McKinley Bender 88, Paige Argent 89, Evie Reynolds 92, Hallie Williamson 99, Makensy Arlien 99, Marley Foltz 115

Wahpeton (370): Leslie Hibl 86, Savonnah Haselhorst 88, Kelsey Darwin 94, Emma Rubish 102, Jessica DeVillers 105, Laken Breuer 107

Mandan (391): Kayla Helbling 93, Sydnie Mongeon 95, KayCee Schulz 99, Megan Broeckel 104, Cortnie Mongeon 110, Micaela Higlin 116

GF Central (398): Sami Marshall 93, Frankie Good 96, Shaylee Ferguson 100, Jordan Reiter 109, Alizjah Swenson 110, Sadie McGee 133

Devils Lake: Mallory Voss 114

Fargo South: Emily Grothmannn 94

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald