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GIRLS GOLF: Wheeler charges out to early lead

FARGO -- Grand Forks Red River senior JoDee Wheeler wants to bury the memory of last year's state tournament disappointment. She dug the hole Monday. Today she will attempt to fill in the dirt. Wheeler carded a 3-over par 75 on the first day of t...

FARGO -- Grand Forks Red River senior JoDee Wheeler wants to bury the memory of last year's state tournament disappointment.

She dug the hole Monday. Today she will attempt to fill in the dirt.

Wheeler carded a 3-over par 75 on the first day of the North Dakota Class A girls golf tournament at Edgewood Golf Course to take a two-stroke lead into today's final round. Fargo Davies leads the team race at 324, and Red River is second at 342.

"Last year I kind of put a lot of pressure on myself after EDC," said Wheeler, the two-time East Region champion who finished 14th at last year's state tourney. "I felt like I had to be a top contender at state. This year, I just wanted to enjoy it. I played really relaxed. It's my senior year, it's my last chance. I just wanted to enjoy it."

Wheeler shrugged off a gusting wind to shred both sides of the course on Monday.

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The senior opened her round with an eagle on the par-5, 430-yard No. 1.

She was 3-under through the first four holes.

Wheeler's double-bogey on the par-4 No. 7 took her out of her game for a moment.

However, it didn't take long to get back into a good rhythm.

She was 2-over par on the back-nine, including birdies on Nos. 13 and 14.

"I think it gives you an adrenaline rush if you are playing well right off the bat," Wheeler said. "You have confidence going into the next hole. I think it definitely helped."

It was a solid start for Wheeler, who carded a 90 at Jamestown Country Club during the first round of last year's state tournament.

She was calm and relaxed throughout the round, hitting fairways with regularity and sinking lengthy putts.

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It was a similar story of consistency for Davies junior Allyson Meyer.

Playing as the Eagles' No. 4 golfer, Meyer carded a season-low 77 to stay in contention for the title.

Meyer, who has played from No. 1 to No. 3 during the regular season, was slotted at No. 4 for state due to her East Region finish. She was ninth at the region meet, but was fourth on her team.

"We had EDC here last week and I wanted to beat the 85 that I got," Meyer said. "I wanted to shoot something where I could put myself in good position for the second day."

Meyer opened her round with a 1-over 37 on the back-nine.

The round included a chip-in eagle from about 40-yards out on the par-4 No. 14.

Meyer's round finished with a pair of bogeys.

Davies' team title chances were bolstered by a pair of 82s by sisters Kathleen and Jennifer Marsh. The Marsh sisters, Ashley Bixby of West Fargo and Red River's Ashley Knecht are seven-strokes behind Wheeler in a tie for third.

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Madison Gemar of Davies shot an 83, and is tied with Danielle Foster of Minot in fourth.

"Coming into today, I wanted to shoot a good score to help my team be in contention to win," Meyer said.

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