Golf: Area golfers keep busy with state and national tournaments
The high school golf season ended on a high note for the Red Wing girls and boys golf teams with a third-place showing at the Class AA state meet, but the summer season is just getting started for some of the area's individuals. With state and national qualifiers and tournaments, the area's best golfers have plenty of opportunities to fine tune their skills.
Summer tournaments also offer a different opportunity — the courses are more challenging, the holes are longer and the competition is stiffer.
"In the summer, it's just a different feel not having to play for my team and just for myself," Red Wing golfer Leah Herzog said. "I like having that clear mindset going into these tournaments and not always worrying about the (team) score."
"There are so many other good players. Everyone at a point has a time that they can shoot under par," teammate Sophia Yoemans added. "It's just having the mindset that even if I do have a good day, I might not necessarily be at the top of the leaderboard."
The other key difference in the summer tournaments is duration. The spring high school season runs on one-round meets and two-round championships. While the two-round championship still stands with the Minnesota Golf Association during the summer, the PGA and USGA championships are four-round events. There are also the qualifying events prior to the tournaments.
"Qualifiers are something you don't do in the spring, so it's kind of nerve-wracking to a certain point " Herzog said.
As the summer golf season hits its stride, here is a primer for the weeks ahead and a recap of the qualifiers.
One week after finishing 1-2 at the girls state golf meet, Yoemans and Herzog were back at it at the Minnesota Section Junior PGA Girls' Championship at Minnewaska Golf Club in Glenwood, Minn., on June 19-20. Similar to the week before, Yoemans and Herzog finished atop the leaderboards, placing first and second, respectively.
Yoemans finished the section championship at even-par 144 with a first-round score of 71 and a second-round score of 73, qualifying for her second straight girls' junior PGA championship.
Herzog claimed the second and final qualifying spot at 5-over-par 149 with a first-round score of 74 and a second-round score of 75 to make her second consecutive appearance at the national tournament as well.
The 2018 Girls' Junior PGA Championship will be played July 9-12 at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Ky.
One day after the junior PGA qualifier, Yoemans and Herzog were back on the links for a one-round USGA girls' junior section qualifier on June 21 at Pioneer Creek Golf Course in Maple Plain, Minn.
Yoemans posted a round of 2-under-par 70 to tie for second place and earn one of three spots available in the 70th U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur Championship July 16-21 at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Herzog took fourth place with a 1-over-par 73 to finish as the first alternate.
One day prior to the girls' qualifier, the boys took to the course for the USGA junior amateur sectional qualifier. Tanner Angelstad of Kenyon-Wanamingo missed the cut with a one-round score of 79, while Luke Knudsen of Red Wing also missed the cut with a score of 81.
Knudsen will try his luck again on July 23 during the U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier at Olympic Hills Golf Club in Eden Prairie, Minn.
More recently, Leah and her sister Stephanie Herzog represented Red Wing at the U.S. Women's Amateur Sectional Qualifier on July 5 at Edina Country Club. Five qualifying spots were available but neither could make the cut. Stephanie shot well in the front nine with a score of 35 but with 40 in the back nine, she fell into a four-way tie for the final qualifying spot. She finished the tie-breaking playoff in fourth to take eighth place overall.
Leah wrapped up the day with a score of 77 to tie for 15th while Lexi Geolat of Lake City shot 82 to tie for 37th.
At the state level, area golfers have been particularly active.
Cecil Belisle and Luke Knudsen of Red Wing tied for 10th place at the MGA Amateur Qualifier on June 25 at Cannon Golf Club with a 4-over-par score of 76. Lake City's Thomas Huettl finished one stroke ahead of the duo with a 73 to tie for seventh place. All three area golfers made the cut to advance to the MGA Amateur Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., July 16-18.
The MGA Women's Amateur Championship, set to take place July 23-25 at White Bear Yacht Club in Dellwood, Minn., will feature four area golfers — Yoemans and Leah and Stephanie Herzog from Red Wing and Geolat from Lake City.
At the junior level, Belisle of Red Wing, Huettl and Brennan Rothgarn of Lake City, Angelstad of K-W, and Anthony Cylkowski of Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa, hit the links July 9-10 after print deadline at the state junior boys' championship at The Bridges in Winona.