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Golf: Bemidji's Morgan Williams qualifies for state meet

SAUK CENTRE -- With nine holes to play Tuesday Morgan Williams knew she was on the bubble in terms of living to play another round this spring. And the Bemidji High School sophomore knew exactly what to do.

"It was a stressful day and I was nervous at the start," Williams said of her Section 8-3A tournament final round at Greystone Golf Course. "After shooting 44 on my first nine I had to change my outlook. I didn't think about the last nine holes. I just told myself that I was starting over."

Williams's amended approach was rewarded as she shot 38 on her final nine holes and finished her section meet at 80-82-162. Her 36-hole total was the fourth lowest among the section golfers not from Alexandria High School and was good enough to send Williams to the state meet at Bunker Hills June 10-11.

Williams will be Bemidji's lone representative at the state as teammate Morgan Miller missed the state cut by three shots. On the boys side, Sam Bruestle and Matt Gregg couldn't duplicate Tuesday's success and both failed to qualify for the state.

"You could see that Morgan was a little nervous coming out of the gate but she hung in there," said BHS girls coach Jeff Nelson. "She had a great round on her second nine."

Because the boys and girls section second-day qualifiers all took off on a morning shotgun start, Williams and her teammates opened their day on the back-9. And Williams found the going tough at the beginning.

"I knew after my first nine holes that I not going to state unless I played better the rest of the way," Williams said. "At the turn I told myself that I had nothing to lose so I just went out and played golf.

"This is my first time going to the state high school golf meet and I am excited. Hopefully, I'll shoot better than I did at sections."

Nelson also plans to take Morgan Miller on the trip to state so the junior can soak in the atmosphere.

"I never take just one girl to state because I believe experiencing what it is like at state will help a golfer down the line," Nelson said.

Miller faced an uphill battle Wednesday in her attempt to recover from the 88 she shot during Tuesday's opening round. And Miller came close as she shot 36-42-78 Wednesday. Her 166 total was only three shots out of qualifying for state.

"Morgan Miller was like a machine during her first 9 on Wednesday. She hit every tee shot and she hit every green," Nelson said. "But she just had too much ground to make up."

The Lumberjacks placed third in the team chase with a 36-hole total of 701. Alexandria dominated the meet with 638 and Buffalo was a distant second with 656.

Kelsey Isaacson finished her high school career with rounds of 92-92-184. Megan Dondelinger shot 96-93-189, Alexis Konecne 97-102-199 and Alyssa Myers 106-113-219.

Boys come up short

During Tuesday's first round Bruestle shot his career best 18 hole score of 72 and Gregg carded a 73. On Wednesday, however, neither could duplicate Tuesday's performance and both came up short in the state-meet bids.

"It was a rough day," said BHS boys coach Seth Knudson. "We couldn't back up our first-day scores and in the section meet you have to put two pretty good days together."

Bruestle finished 72-84-156 and missed the state cut by six shots. Gregg's 36-hole card read 73-80-153 and he was three shots above the state cut.

"A hole or two can make the difference," Knudson said. "Matt double-bogeyed the last two holes and if he pars them he goes to state. Sam hit two balls out of bounds on No. 15 and those shots were costly."

Jack Johnson also qualified for Wednesday's second round of the section meet and the sophomore had a great day, finishing with a 79 and a 36-hole total of 83-79-162.

"A 79 on the second day of the section meet is a very good score. Jack played well," Knudson said.

Section 8-3A Golf Meet

Greystone Golf Course

Par-72

Wednesday's Second Round

Girls Division

*Alexandria 316-322-638, Buffalo 339-317-656, Bemidji 356-345-701, Brainerd 362-363-725, St. Cloud Tech 358-359-717, Sartell 477-367-744

Medalist: Bollant (Buf) 76-70-146

Bemidji's results: *Williams 80-82-162, Miller 8-78-166, Isaacson 92-92-184, Dondelinger 96-93-189, Konecne 97-102-199, Myers 106-113-219

Boys Division

*Buffalo 599, Willmar 608, Moorhead 609, Brainerd 610, Sartell 618, Alexandria 636

Medalist: Bruhn (Buf) 145

Bemidji's results: Gregg 73-80-153, Bruestle 72-84-156, Johnson 83-79-162

*-state meet qualifiers

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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