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GIRLS GOLF: Kelm tied for seventh after day one of state tournament

COON RAPIDS -- Recent Bemidji High School graduate Abbie Kelm is making the most of her final appearance at the Class 3A girls golf state tournament, shooting a 76 to tie for seventh place after day one Tuesday at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.

“I don’t think it really changed my mindset,” Kelm said of her senior year experience at state. “I think it was just to continue playing well and just keep up what I’ve been doing pretty much all season.”

Abbie Kelm

Kelm finished tied for 62nd with a 177 after finishing the first round with an 87 as a sophomore in 2016 and improved to take a share of 34th as a junior last spring with a 169 after her first round carded an 86.

This year, the trend continues.

“She’s as good as anybody down here, and that’s what’s fun,” BHS girls golf head coach Paul Daman said. “It’s fun to see someone that’s come as far as she has in the last three years to just being a really solid player from start to finish.

“Today she was four over after seven holes, and she ended four over. So she played the last 11 holes even par, which is really a sign of her resiliency. She sticks with it, and she doesn’t let her emotions get the best of her.”

The issue on the front nine, according to Kelm, was a combination of putting mistakes and a couple minor errors placing her long hits, but she used the halfway point as a chance to regroup.

“I think it was just some easy mistakes,” she said. “I was hitting good. I just wasn’t hitting it in the right spot. And once I just starting to relax and after the front nine, I just kind of restarted and was like, ‘OK, new nine, just see where it goes,’ and then just changed it from there.”

Along with Kelm, junior Taylor Offerdahl also earned a trip to Bunker Hills with a sixth-place finish in the Section 8-3A tournament.

Taylor Offerdahl

After round one, Offerdahl sits tied for 53rd due to a tough day on and around the greens. Although she was disappointed with her day one finish so far, she is sitting higher than where she finished last season (57th) and has plenty of room for improvement.

“I see it as an opportunity to pick it up tomorrow,” she said. “I just couldn’t make a putt where I needed to.”

The two Lumberjacks return to Bunker Hills for a 9 a.m. tee time today for their second and final round of the tournament. While Offerdahl looks to improve on Tuesday’s score and move up the ranks, Kelm has just six golfers ahead of her, including the leader, Kathryn Van Arragon of Blaine (70).

“Abbie put herself in a good position to play with some good players tomorrow, and I would say a good goal for her would be for a top-five finish,” Daman said.