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Meg Phelps competes at state meet

Meg Phelps will be heading to the state Class AAA girls golf meet along with her coach Jeff Nelson. Phelps will begin her quest for a high placing at state at 8:15 a.m. today. Pioneer Photo/Pat Miller

Meg Phelps begins her initial round at the state Class AAA girls golf tournament 8:15 a.m. today at Bunker Hills. Phelps will return to the course Wednesday for her second 18 holes.

The Bemidji junior qualified for today's state meet by placing in the top-five at last week's Section 8AAA competition. Prior to making the trip to Bunker Hills, Phelps admitted that a state meet appearance came as a shock.

"I didn't expect this," Phelps said. "You always have hopes of qualifying for the state meet but doing it was a delightful surprise."

Phelps will be paired with two juniors, Kelly Blegen of Centennial and Grace Todora of Cretin-Derham Hall, and senior Danielle Riley of Benilde-St. Margaret for today's round. Wednesday's pairings will be determined by today's results.

Phelps believes she is ready to showcase her game at the state's highest level.

"My game has improved," Phelps said. "Last year I had some good days and some bad days on the course but this spring I've had fewer poor rounds. The key is to learn how to relax."

BHS girls golf coach Jeff Nelson agrees.

"Much of a golfer's success is determined by the mental approach," Nelson said. "One hundred yards from the pin at the Bemidji Town & Country Club is the same as 100 yards from the pin at Bunker Hills."

"I've learned that you need to focus on the shot you are about to hit and not worry about the overall score," Phelps said.

Phelps played two rounds at Bunker Hills last week and learned a few things about the layout.

"In certain ways Bunker Hills is an easier golf course than the one we played the section championship on at Long Prairie," she said. "Bunker Hills has more hazards but it isn't as long. Course management will be important and I've been working on learning how much distance I get from each of my clubs.

"There are big greens at Bunker Hills and you have to have strategic ball placement on the greens to set yourself up for the putts."

Nelson had one key piece of advice for Phelps as she prepared for the state meet.

"Enjoy the moment and have fun," Nelson said. "Playing in the state tournament is a wonderful experience and offers the chance to create some great memories."

Cass Lake-Bena will also be represented at the state Class A meet as Ann Aitken will play in the girls division and fellow Panthers Cody Wind and Dakotah Brunelle will be in the boys field. The Class A tourney is Wednesday and Thursday at Pebble Creek in Becker.

Aitken's tee time Wednesday is 7:57 a.m. and the senior will be paired with Serena Rubey of Sleepy Eye-St. Mary's, Hailey Lislegard of Mesabi East and Alissa Moe of Lewiston-Altrua.

Wind has a 12:16 p.m. tee time and the sophomore will share the box with Fletcher Blaschke of Wabasha, Drew Eggers of Park Christian and Charlie Stattelman of Ortonville.

Brunelle, also a sophomore, has a 1:01 p.m. tee time and his foursome will include Cordell Weber of Martin County West, Brad Pape of Lincoln-HI and Tommy Cardle of Southwest Christian.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Meg Phelps begins her initial round at the state Class AAA girls golf tournament 8:15 a.m. today at Bunker Hills. Phelps will return to the course Wednesday for her second 18 holes.

The Bemidji junior qualified for today's state meet by placing in the top-five at last week's Section 8AAA competition. Prior to making the trip to Bunker Hills, Phelps admitted that a state meet appearance came as a shock.

"I didn't expect this," Phelps said. "You always have hopes of qualifying for the state meet but doing it was a delightful surprise."

Phelps will be paired with two juniors, Kelly Blegen of Centennial and Grace Todora of Cretin-Derham Hall, and senior Danielle Riley of Benilde-St. Margaret for today's round. Wednesday's pairings will be determined by today's results.

Phelps believes she is ready to showcase her game at the state's highest level.

"My game has improved," Phelps said. "Last year I had some good days and some bad days on the course but this spring I've had fewer poor rounds. The key is to learn how to relax."

BHS girls golf coach Jeff Nelson agrees.

"Much of a golfer's success is determined by the mental approach," Nelson said. "One hundred yards from the pin at the Bemidji Town & Country Club is the same as 100 yards from the pin at Bunker Hills."

"I've learned that you need to focus on the shot you are about to hit and not worry about the overall score," Phelps said.

Phelps played two rounds at Bunker Hills last week and learned a few things about the layout.

"In certain ways Bunker Hills is an easier golf course than the one we played the section championship on at Long Prairie," she said. "Bunker Hills has more hazards but it isn't as long. Course management will be important and I've been working on learning how much distance I get from each of my clubs.

"There are big greens at Bunker Hills and you have to have strategic ball placement on the greens to set yourself up for the putts."

Nelson had one key piece of advice for Phelps as she prepared for the state meet.

"Enjoy the moment and have fun," Nelson said. "Playing in the state tournament is a wonderful experience and offers the chance to create some great memories."

Cass Lake-Bena will also be represented at the state Class A meet as Ann Aitken will play in the girls division and fellow Panthers Cody Wind and Dakotah Brunelle will be in the boys field. The Class A tourney is Wednesday and Thursday at Pebble Creek in Becker.

Aitken's tee time Wednesday is 7:57 a.m. and the senior will be paired with Serena Rubey of Sleepy Eye-St. Mary's, Hailey Lislegard of Mesabi East and Alissa Moe of Lewiston-Altrua.

Wind has a 12:16 p.m. tee time and the sophomore will share the box with Fletcher Blaschke of Wabasha, Drew Eggers of Park Christian and Charlie Stattelman of Ortonville.

Brunelle, also a sophomore, has a 1:01 p.m. tee time and his foursome will include Cordell Weber of Martin County West, Brad Pape of Lincoln-HI and Tommy Cardle of Southwest Christian.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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