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Girls Golf: Lake City takes fourth at Class 2A state tourney

Lake City junior Erin Pennington (right) guides her putt toward the cup on Hole No. 10 as Detroit Lakes' Natalie Roth (left) watches Wednesday at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn. Pennington finished with a two-day score of 127 to lead the Tigers as they took fourth place at the Class 2A girls state golf tournament. Photo by Chris Harrell1 / 3
Lake City's Katy Bolduc watches her putt on Hole No. 17 Wednesday at The Ridges at Sand Creek. Bolduc, a senior, led the Tigers with a 38 during a rain-shortened final round on Wednesday. Photo by Chris Harrell2 / 3
Lake City's Lexie Geolat tees off on Hole No. 10 Wednesday during the Class 2A girls state golf tournament at The Ridge at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn. Photo by Chris Harrell3 / 3

JORDAN, Minn. - Lake City shook off the jitters from Tuesday and held onto fourth place at the Class 2A girls state golf tournament Tuesday at The Ridges at Sand Creek.

"We had a great back nine today," Tigers' head coach Steve Randgaard said. "The kids like the back nine. They like the little placement shots."

The final round of the tournament was delayed multiple hours due to inclement weather and shortened to nine holes for a tournament total of 27 holes.

Once the skies finally cleared, Detroit Lakes' state championship was never in doubt as the Lakers won by 31 strokes, with teammates Natalie Roth and Kate Smith sharing medalist honors with 27-hole scores of 108. Minnewaska placed second with a 479 and Pequot Lakes took third at 484. Savannah Stone, of Pequot Lakes, took third individually with a 111.

Detroit Lakes, Minnewaska and Pequot Lakes were the top three ranked teams in Class 2A going into the tournament.

The Tigers finished with a team total of 510 and Erin Pennington led Lake City with a two-day score of 127, carding a 42 while playing with the final grouping on Wednesday. Pennington didn't score worse than a bogey on any hole.

"I had to be on top of my game," Pennington, a junior, said. "My tee shots were pretty consistent. I didn't really have any bad holes."

Katy Bolduc, the Tigers' lone senior, recovered from a poor first round to shoot a team-low 38 on Wednesday. Her entire game improved from Tuesday, she said.

"It's great to see that out of her," Randgaard said. "Just the way she buckled down today. She really helped us and finishing her career with a nice 38 in her last round at state is pretty cool."

While it was a positive way to go out, Bolduc was hesitant to call it a great finish to her career at Lake City.

"It's a bittersweet thing," she said. "I love my team. I don't like leaving, we've become so close. It's a great program."

Claire Gruber remained steady, carding a 43 Wednesday for a two-day total of 128, and Lexie Geolat tallied a 132, shooting a 40 on Wednesday.

"Lexie came back with a sparkling 40," Randgaard said. "Claire was 1-under on the last four holes. Depth is what helped us get here in the first place."

Lidia Wallerich had a 134 and Emily Schimbeno was disqualified after signing her scorecard with an incorrect final score. One of the players in Schimbeno's foursome wrote down the wrong score for her on one of the holes, Randgaard said. Schimbeno brought it up to the course official before signing it, but once she brought it up again, it was too late. Her score, a 133, was wiped out.

"It didn't affect our team today but it affected her," Randgaard said. "She brought it up. She showed integrity and honesty."

In their first trip to state since 2006, the young Tigers showed they can hold their own when paired with the top teams in the state. And things should only go up for a team of four underclassmen, one junior and one senior.

"This is very valuable," Rangaard said. "I think this is going to light a little spark under them. This is huge experience to play in this type of setting."

Tigers sit in fourth place after Day 1

Lake City had one goal going into the Class 2A girls state golf tournament at The Ridge at Sand Creek: stay in the top four after Tuesday's first round.

The Tigers succeeded, overcoming nerves and a little intimidation on the front nine, finishing Tuesday's round in fourth place with a team score of 347.

"That's a good score for us," Lake City head coach Steve Randgaard said. "We never broke 350 in a practice round. This is a tough course with a lot of uphill shots."

Claire Gruber and Erin Pennington led the Tigers with 85s while Emily Schimbeno shot an 86 (46-40). Lidia Wallerich had a great first nine holes and finished at 91 (43-48). Lexie Geolat tallied a 92 (50-42) and Katy Bolduc shot a 93 (47-46) to round out Lake City's scoring.

"Erin played a really good round," Randgaard said.

Gruber made two straight double bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 but recovered with a par on No. 16 and a birdie on the par-3 No. 17. She nestled her tee shot close on No. 17 and knocked in the short putt after struggling with her putter much of the day, including a two-putt for bogey on 18.

"I should have made the last putt for par," she said. "The greens were way faster. I didn't get used to them but tomorrow I hope I will. Tomorrow is a new day."

Detroit Lakes leads by 19 strokes after Day 1, shooting an outstanding 297. The Lakers' Natalie Roth shot a round-low 70 on Tuesday, including a 3-under par 33 on the back nine. Minnewaska is in second with a 316 and Pequot Lakes finished with a 327 to sit in third place.

Most of Lake City's golfers came in with zero state experience for Tuesday's meet and the Tigers were paired with three of the top teams in the state, Detroit Lakes, Minnewaska and Pequot Lakes. The jitters showed early but as the round continued, Lake City settled down.

"I was really intimidated going into it but you have to focus on your game," Gruber said. "I feel like I could do better tomorrow but I had some good shots."

Five of Lake City's six golfers shot better on the back nine than the front nine as the Tigers adjusted to the pressure of a state meet against top competition.

"Good competition brings out the best in them," Randgaard said. "We figured out we can play with them.

"They put the work in that makes them great," he added of the top three teams after Day 1.

While the Tigers hit their goal, Randgaard added a new one for his young team filled with one senior, one junior, one sophomore, one ninth grader and two eighth graders.

"We want four scores in the 80s, that's our goal," he said. "I think we can get lower than 347 tomorrow."

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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