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Girls golf: Williams shoots 82 in first round of state Class 3A meet

COON RAPIDS -- Morgan Williams of the Bemidji girls golf team opened her state girls Class 3A golf tournament shooting 44-38-82 Tuesday at Bunker Hills (36-37-73) and sits in a tie for 24th heading into Wednesday’s second round.

The sophomore struggled off the tee on the front 9 but kept the damage to a minimum with an effective short game. On the back side she had all aspects of her game working well and finished that nine holes with a birdie, two bogeys and six pars.

Williams will begin her final round around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“My back 9 was very good but I had the nerves at the start and I could not hit my drives. That was frustrating,” Williams said. “A poor front 9 has been my problem lately. It was at the section meet and it was again at the state.

“I was happy to finally get to the turn and on the back 9 I figured out the driver and that helped me feel more confident,” Williams added.

Lumberjacks girls golf coach Jeff Nelson was impressed with the way Williams bounced back and with her work on and around the greens.

“When Morgan hit the fairway, she hit the green. And when she was on the green she made her putts,” Nelson said. “I’m very pleased with her effort and how she hung in and kept her composure.”

William’s day began with a double-bogey but she recovered with four consecutive pars. A shot into the water resulted in a triple-bogey, however, and she carded another double-bogey before making the turn.

“Morgan had some jitters after hitting the shot into the water,” Nelson said. “But she didn’t quit. She never does.”

“My round should have been better but I’m fine with it,” Williams, who will celebrate her 16th birthday playing in the state golf meet on Wednesday, said. “My short game was saving me and I didn’t have a 3-putt all day.

“The course is very nice but things were a little overwhelming at the start,” she continued. “But, mentally, now I know what to expect and I’m looking forward to Wednesday. My goal on Wednesday is to be more consistent. I’m tired of having a bad front 9 and a good back. I want to play well for 18 holes.

Sarah Burnham of Wayzata and Kenzie Neisen of New Prague tore Bunker Hills apart Tuesday as both finished with 6-under-par 67s. Kari Opatz of Eastview is third with 73.

In the Class A tournament at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Blackduck’s Sasha Pfannenstein shot 58-56-114 and Bagley’s Sara Titera finished 62-64-116 in Tuesday’s opening round.

Pfannenstein begins her second round in 77th place and Titera is 79th.

Christine Piwinica of Southwest Christian and Lauren Laffen of Sleepy Eye share the first-day lead with rounds of 79.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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