N.D. STATE GIRLS GOLF: Blue Jays eye first state title
JAMESTOWN -- Jamestown High School coach Dean Kraft talked about sports psychology after his team shot a 366 to lead the first day of the Class A state girls golf meet. With 11 teams gunning for the Blue Jays at the Jamestown Country Club, mainta...
JAMESTOWN - Jamestown High School coach Dean Kraft talked about sports psychology after his team shot a 366 to lead the first day of the Class A state girls golf meet.
With 11 teams gunning for the Blue Jays at the Jamestown Country Club, maintaining a two-stroke lead won’t be easy.
“You need to convince yourself that you can’t look ahead,” Kraft said. “We need to do a good job of playing the golf course and not playing to a score.”
Junior Sierra Bennion carded an 80, helping Jamestown jump to the front of the pack. Bismarck High and Minot are tied for second with 368s. Wahpeton (379) and Grand Forks Red River (380) rounded out the top five.
Individually, Red River’s Hilary Whalen shot an 88, which tied her for fourth place after the first round. Alexis Caoili shot a 90 for the Riders, which left her in a tie for seventh entering today’s final round.
Jamestown, meanwhile, is looking for its first state championship when play resumes at 10 a.m.
“We just have to focus and play our game,” said Bennion, who is second place. “I’m proud of our girls. We did good today. Hopefully, we can play the same way. The scores might be lower if it’s not as windy.”
Bennion played in the same group as Fargo Davies junior Jennifer Marsh, who fired a blistering 73 amid a hard, steady wind to lead the pack. Her seven-stroke advantage represents a significant hurdle for Bennion, who has a seven-stroke lead over third-place holder Abby Sklebar of Fargo North.
“(Marsh) hit fairways, greens and made her putts,” Bennion said. “The wind pushed a bunch of my shots into trees and stuff. That kind of got me into trouble.”
Kraft, who called Bennion a high-ball hitter, said Marsh was able to keep the ball low, allowing it to slice through a fierce wind.
“When you shoot a 73 on a day like today, you’re hitting the center of the club face a lot,” Kraft said. “I don’t think she ever left herself with any enormous approach shots. She left herself in a range of where a two-putt is what she should get.”
Marsh didn’t face many struggles. She finished with 11 pars, four bogeys and three birdies, playing par golf through the roughest stretch of the course.
“On holes 10 through 13, a lot of it is just surviving,” said Kraft, who was very complimentary of Marsh’s game. “I have not seen a more pure, simple golf swing. I can’t remember another girl that swings the club that simple. It’s just a beautiful golf swing.”
A seven-stroke could be hard to overcome, Kraft said. Still, he said the race is only half over.
“They’ve got to play another 18 holes,” he said. “There’s the pressure of a state championship on the line. And the girl chasing (Marsh) is on her home course.”