Bemidji HS girls golf: Phelps plays at the top of her game, makes state
At Friday's second round of the 8AAA girls golf meet Bemidji's Meg Phelps had to be at the top of her game just to survive.
The junior was in a group that featured the girls who would eventually finish one-two-three in the 36-hole tournament and some golfers would feel intimidated by such a pairing.
Phelps, however, viewed it as a stroke of good fortune.
"Actually, being in that group helped me play better," Phelps said. "Usually for me when I play with the better golfers I stay more focused and Friday they brought out the best in me."
Phelps' best was a 42-42-84 on the par 36-37-73 Long Prairie layout and Friday's score combined with Thursday's 88 to give Phelps a 36-hole total of 172. Phelps will have another opportunity to be grouped with talented golfing partners as she earned a berth in the state meet which begins June 15 at Bunker Hills.
Alexandria won the team title at 356-352-708 and Maggie Leland of Alexandria was the meet medalist with a 76-73-149.
Leland qualified for state as a member of the winning team so there were five other state meet individual spots available. Katie Kruchien of Apollo claimed one of them with her 81-83-164 and Megan Davis of Buffalo grabbed another by shooting 84-82-166.
"I played with Maggie, Katie and Megan and I knew how they were doing," Phelps said. "I also thought I was playing well but I didn't know how anybody else was doing so I didn't know where I stood."
As it turned out, Phelps worked her way into the perfect position as her 172 was the fourth lowest score of the tournament and she made the state cut by six shots.
Bobbie Bohlig of St. Cloud Tech claimed the fourth individual berth at 93-82-175 and Molly Hoppe of Brainerd captured the final spot with her 90-88-178.
"Meg held her own, she stayed within her game and she kept grinding," said BHS coach Jeff Nelson.
"I can relax now," Phelps said after her round. "The fact that I am going to state hasn't really sunk in yet. But I am excited."
With three holes to play Phelps figured that if she could post a few pars she had a chance of gaining state.
"But I messed up on No. 16 with a three-putt for double-bogey," she recalled. "But I played better on the final two holes, going par/bogey and I felt I had a chance when the round ended.
"Qualifying for state is really a surprise," Phelps said. "Before the section meet I thought I might have a chance if I didn't psyche myself out and after Thursday's 88 I felt I was in good position."
Phelps admitted to a few butterflies Friday morning but after a successful start to her round the tension was gone.
"I was nervous for the first two holes but when I went par/bogey I told Nellie (Nelson) that I had relaxed and could enjoy the rest of the round," Phelps said.
"And that's the way I want to play at state," she continued. "I hope to have fun and not be too worried about my score."
Shelby Sauer missed the state cut by five shots as she finished 95-88-183. Emily Frosaker shot 93-104-197, Amy Frosaker 111-104-215, Katelin Craft 106-109-215 and Aimee Sandquist 102-114-216.