COON RAPIDS -- Taylor Offerdahl closed out her Bemidji High School career with a top-20 finish at the Class 3A state tournament, which concluded after two rounds Wednesday at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids. The BHS senior finished in a five-way tie for 20th, completing the tournament with a 17-over-par 161 (78-83).
Also competing for the Lumberjacks were Damaris Berg and Bjorn Jorgenson. Berg tied with one other golfer for 63rd with a 37-over 181 (90-91) in the girls tournament. Jorgenson finished in a seven-way tie for 65th with a 19-over 163 (83-80) as the lone BHS boys representative.
“Damaris played similar to yesterday,” girls head coach Paul Daman said. “Her long game was good and her short game wasn’t as sharp as she probably wants it to be. Taylor had kind of a rough front nine today, and then she played the first eight holes on the back nine even par before tripling the last hole. But she really hung in there and played solid golf the whole back nine. I think they both got a lot of experience and growth out of the week. I think they enjoyed it down there.”
Offerdahl birdied three holes and earned pars on five others Wednesday. The state-tournament veteran improved off of a 46th-place finish last year (173) and a 57th-place finish in 2017 (180).
The departing senior leaves behind a work ethic that helped her qualify for three consecutive state tournaments as she gets set to compete for Bemidji State in the fall.
“Taylor has been able to show what you can become if you play and practice regularly,” Daman said. “Getting kids to play in the summer is probably something that is the number-one factor in kids getting better, and Taylor has played golf each and every summer for the last several summers. And that’s why she’s been better than everybody else. She puts in the time. The other girls see that, and if they want to get to that level, that’s what they’ve got to do.”
Wrapping up her state-tournament debut, Berg notched six pars in the final round. With her first state experience under her belt, she’ll strive to return as a senior in 2020.
“You hope that it wets their whistle a little bit and creates a little desire to come down again and do better,” Daman said. “Damaris’s dad walked around with her all 36 holes. He’s a golfer, and I think it was a good experience for him to see her game. They’ll probably be playing some golf together in the future and working to get better.”
Simley freshman Isabella McCauley ran away with the individual state title, winning by 10 strokes with a nine-under 135 (67-68). Chanhassen claimed the team title over Edina by 13 shots, carding a 51-over 627 (309-318).
In the boys event, Jorgenson shaved three strokes off his first-round score Wednesday to cap his high school career with his only state-tournament appearance.
“He hit the ball quite a bit better,” boys head coach Seth Knudson said. “His short game wasn’t quite as good as yesterday, but I think if he played the course two more times, he’d get better each time. Coming up here for the first time is a little of a disadvantage compared to the kids who have played here two or three times already in a year.”
The senior birdied the par-5 on No. 11 and tallied nine pars as he carded 40s on the front and back nine.
“His ball striking was much, much better today,” Knudson said. “He hit a lot more fairways than yesterday. He spent a lot of yesterday punching out from under trees and stuff. It’s a lot easier when you’re in the fairway.”
Stillwater senior Brock Winter captured the individual state title with his one-under 143 (70-73), one stroke ahead of runner-up Trey Fessler from St. Michael-Albertville. Edina took the team title with a 19-over 595 (297-298) to edge Waconia by two shots.
Though Jorgenson only spent one season at Bemidji after transferring from Park Rapids, he made it count.
“We were really fortunate,” Knudson said of having Jorgenson on the team. “He’s just a great kid. He added a lot to the team, he’s a good leader and a good player obviously. … We’ll miss him.”