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Girls Golf: Wingers open 3A championship in fourth

Red Wing eighth-grader Stephanie Herzog chips out of the rough on hole No. 9 during Day 1 of the Class 3A state golf championship Tuesday at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids. Herzog led the Wingers on Day 1 with an 80.1 / 3
Red Wing's Reagan Haley kicks up some of the fairway during an approach shot on hole No. 4 during Day 1 of the Class 3A state golf championship Tuesday in Coon Rapids. Haley carded an 84, helping the Wingers to a team score of 337.2 / 3
Red Wing junior Nicole Schammel chips off the fringe on hole No. 8 at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids during Day 1 of the Class 3A state golf championship Tuesday. Schammel finished with an 85, helping the Wingers to fourth place after Day 1.3 / 3

COON RAPIDS, Minn. - Last year, with two of the best golfers in school history, the Red Wing girls golf team put up a Day 1 score of 337 at the Class 3A state golf championship.

And on Tuesday, the cast of characters was different, but the result was the same for the Wingers, who put up a 337 in Day 1 of the state tournament, putting the team securely in fourth place.

"We hung in there," said Red Wing head coach Mark Herzog. "If you would have told me before the day started that we'd score a 337, I would have taken that. ... It was a good day for us."

Led by Stephanie Herzog's round of 80, the Wingers had four scores under 90, with Reagan Haley (84), Nicole Schammel (85) and Kayla Oberding (88) contributing to the team score.

"I'm glad we got four scores under 90," said Stephanie Herzog, who sits in a three-way tie for 17th place individually. "That doesn't happen for too many teams."

But while the Wingers sat in second place with that score last year, Red Wing finds itself in fourth place after Tuesday's round, trailing Edina (321), Alexandria (325) and defending state champion New Prague (332).

Stephanie Herzog admitted that she got off to a frustrating start, netting only one par through the first five holes at Bunker Hills Golf Club. But before she made the turn, Stephanie started to find her confidence on the narrow, bunker-riddled course.

"I made par on holes six, seven and eight, and I was OK after that," Stephanie said. "I know this course is hard, and that (finish) was comforting."

Capitalizing on her solid finish on her first nine, Stephanie shot a 3-over 39 over her final nine holes to put up the Wingers' top score of the day.

"The (first nine holes) are a lot harder and they're longer, and I'm not an extremely long hitter," Stephanie said, "so I knew going into the (final nine holes), I could shoot better. ... I hit the ball about the same, but the holes were shorter and I got better breaks."

During the Wingers' warm-up round Monday, Haley was getting frustrated, opting to go to the driving range before finishing out her practice round.

"After 12 holes, she said, 'I got to go hit some balls,' so she skipped a few holes," Mark said. "She was hitting the ball poorly yesterday."

A day made a huge difference for the Red Wing sophomore, who used her booming drive to card a 41 in her first nine holes. After scoring a par on No. 8, Haley finished her first nine on a high note, sinking a long putt on No. 9 for birdie.

"I knew the course better than I did last year and I was ready for it," Haley said. "It was easier to calm down and get into the groove of things."

Struggling on three-putts on par 5s Tuesday, Haley admitted there were some nerves going into her final nine holes. But she was able to keep her steady play going, shooting a 43 on the back.

"I tend to get into trouble and put up big numbers," Haley said, "but today, I didn't get anything more than a bogey."

Mark Herzog added, "I give Reagan a lot of credit to come back today and play well."

Maddie Flack and Solveig Christenson rounded out Red Wing's team effort, shooting 90 and 91, respectively.

In the individual tournament, Shakopee's Alex Schmid and Wayzata's Sarah Burnham are tied for the lead after shooting 71s on Tuesday. Cretin-Derham Hall's Celia Kuenster and New Prague's Kenzie Neisen are tied for third with 72, and Andover's Sierra Langlie rounds out the top five with a 73.

The Wingers resume play today at Bunker Hills, with tee times starting at 12:45 p.m. for Red Wing.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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