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Girls Golf: Wingers finish state with familiar score

Red Wing's Maddie Flack chips out of the sand on hole No. 9 on the east course at Bunker Hills Golf Club Wednesday during the Class 3A championship meet in Coon Rapids.1 / 6
Red Wing's Stephanie Herzog chips out of the rough on hole No. 4 on the west course at Bunker Hills Golf Club Wednesday during the Class 3A championship meet in Coon Rapids.2 / 6
Red Wing's Solveig Christenson watches her putt on hole No. 9 on the east course.3 / 6
Red Wing's Nicole Schammel avoids a face full of sand during a chip shot at hole No. 8 on the west course.4 / 6
Red Wing's Reagan Haley looks on as her putt rolls down the green on hole No. 9 on the east course.5 / 6
Red Wing's Kayla Oberding watches her opening tee shot on hole No. 1 on the east course.6 / 6

COON RAPIDS, Minn. - Different season, same results.

After putting up a 337 in Day 1 of the Class 3A state golf championship meet, the Red Wing girls golf team put up another stellar round on Wednesday with a 336. With a two-day total of 673, the Wingers took fourth place at the state meet for the second straight year.

"We played good; we had a good tournament and I thought we had a great season," said Red Wing head coach Mark Herzog. "Everybody played solid and they felt pretty good about what they did. They always feel like they can do more, but that's just how golf is, too."

In a bit of déjà vu, the Wingers put up the exact same two-day score from last year, with identical scores on Days 1 and 2.

With four players returning from last year's state tournament team, it was a promising sign to see the team match last year's total at Bunker Hills Golf Club.

"I was actually kind of surprised," said Red Wing eighth-grader Stephanie Herzog, who scored a 77 on Wednesday for a two-day score of 157. "Coming in, I thought we were ranked fourth, but I didn't expect to score as well as we did. Losing Katie (Kesti) and Marisa (Toivonen), I didn't know how we'd do this year. Seeing the end result of this is really encouraging."

Coming away with the team championship was Edina, which had a two-day total of 644, 11 strokes better than second-place Alexandria. New Prague (660) rounded out the top three.

After a 90-minute rain delay, the Wingers got off to a strong start on Bunker Hills' east course. Stephanie put up a 38 on the front nine, and Nicole Schammel had a four-shot improvement from Tuesday to card a 40 through nine.

With the fast start, Red Wing was hoping to be in the hunt for a spot in the top three. But a shaky finish on the west course squashed any chances to move up in the standings.

"We had a shot," Mark Herzog said, "but 15, 16 and 17 did us in. We butchered those up. I think we had a quad and a couple triples on those holes. We gave away nine or 10 shots in those three holes."

Stephanie put together a 39 over her final nine holes, while Schammel and Solveig Christenson each put together 43s.

Along with Stephanie's 77 on Wednesday, Schammel had an 83, Reagan Haley added an 86 and Christenson closed out with a 90 to complete the Wingers' team score. Finishing with Red Wing's top two-day scores were Stephanie Herzog (157), Schammel (168), Haley (170) and Kayla Oberding (180). Christenson and Maddie Flack rounded out the tournament with two-day totals of 181 and 182, respectively.

Stephanie's two-day score was a 17-stroke improvement over her score last year, putting her in a four-way tie for 10th place individually with Grand Rapids' Dani DelGreco, Prior Lake's Kenzie Sexe and New Prague's Taylor Ludwein.

"I'm just glad with the progress I made," said Stephanie, who finished in a tie for 33rd in 2012. "I didn't know how I would place, but I knew I could do better than last year."

An encouraging sign for Stephanie was her play against New Prague's McKenzie Neisen, who shot the best score on Wednesday with a 68, splitting the state title with Wayzata's Sarah Burnham with a two-day total of 140.

"I was actually glad because I tied her on some holes," Stephanie said of Neisen. "The last time I played with her (at the Missota Conference championship), I had an 86, which was my worst round of the season."

After matching last year's state score with a different dynamic of players, the state tournament was an encouraging sign of things to come for the Wingers in 2014.

"We should be OK; we got a lot of getting better to do," Mark Herzog said. "I know Nicole, Stephanie and Reagan, they all can improve. And Kayla and Solveig can make a big jump, too. We'll miss Maddie (the team's lone senior), but we got a good group coming back."

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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