Speidel, Grube push Roughriders to EDC girls golf win
Speidel, who eagled her last hole of the day, finished first with a 74.
GRAND FORKS – Just a few weeks ago, Ella Speidel was on a family trip in Alaska. On Wednesday, she found herself in the right fairway sand trap on the 18th hole at King’s Walk Golf Course.
Speidel, a freshman not all that familiar with fairway bunkers, was on pace to score one of the best rounds in the EDC thus far this year.
“I asked (Eric) Sanders what I should do here, and he said just put the ball back and swing easy. I just did that and it landed on the fringe,” she said following her round.
Her approach on hole 18, a par five, set up a makeable two-putt to end her day, but just one putt was needed. She sank the 15-footer from the fringe for an eagle, securing her a 74 and the lowest score at the Red River Invitational.
“It’s a very familiar course, so I just played the safe shots, kept a nice tempo. It was nice and easy,” said Speidel.
Her nine pars, two birdies and the aforementioned eagle set the pace for the Roughriders, who would finish first for the third tournament in a row while qualifying six golfers for the state tournament. Fargo Davies placed 10 strokes behind them.
“Everyone has been playing good smart golf. They have been practicing and putting the work in over the summer and it has really shown up here this year,” Speidel said.
After starting her round off with three bogeys on the first five holes, Speidel rallied on the sixth and seventh with back-to-back birdies. As she made the turn at nine, she was able to find a comfortable groove and complete her round with six pars on the back nine and the exclamation point at the end.
“If you can have two kids that can go as low as Jaya (Grube) and Ella both have that just makes the low scores lower. To know that there are a couple of girls who can go a little bit lower, it makes it so you don’t have to go into the round thinking you have to be at your absolute best,” Roughriders coach Eric Sanders said.
Grube, coming into the week ranked third in the EDC, finished in third place on Wednesday after shooting a 77 in what was a wild ride.
Grube rallies for third place finish
“I was really fired up and my adrenaline was definitely pumping and I think I just got a little too fired up with the putting on the first five holes,” Grube said.
On the first hole of her round, Grube looked to be in good shape. She was on the green and in position to start off strong on the nice-and-easy 289 par four. She then went on to three-putt from just outside the cup and take a bogey.
This followed her to the next two holes where she would score a double bogey on No. 2 and a bogey on the par five No. 3.
“Since I know I can come back from it, I just persevere and put in the hard work. And I came back from it. I just had to take a deep breath. Sanders had to talk me through it a little and I turned it back around,” she said.
Up six shots through the first six holes, Grube went on to birdie holes No. 7, No. 9, No. 11 and the 348-yard par four No. 15. She finished seven over par, even after the start she had.
“Her leadership skills have really grown. I always remember her and Jaydn (Arel) last year looked around and said ‘Oh my gosh we are going to have to get good.’” said Sanders. “And it wasn’t just about golf. It was about how you lead a team and about how you know that when you don’t have your best stuff, you are going to grind it out for your teammates and show up because you have to.”
Like Grube, the Roughriders as a group have grown since last year. Previously, the team had trouble breaking out of the third tier behind Davies and Shanley. This year, however, Red River has placed no less than third while Grube, 2021 All-EDC, is the third-ranked golfer in the East.
Off the course, her development as a leader is evident in her support for her teammates. As Speidel was finishing her round, Grube was cheering her on the whole way through the 17th and 18th holes.
“It makes me so excited. I am so proud of her. I love watching (my teammates) succeed and I think it is so fun. I can’t wait to keep helping her and showing her how to get better and she is on the right path for sure,” said Grube.
Even with all the highlights on Wednesday, there was one negative for the Roughriders. Sophomore Sophie Brakke was promised a puppy if she shot a sub-80 score, but she would finish the day with an 81.
“I think the one regret we are going to have is the puppy,” Sanders said. “We’re really going to have to come together as a team for that one. I do think the puppy should honestly be on the table every meet. I don’t even know who is offering the puppy, but this person needs to know that puppy should be on the table every week. If she breaks 80 that puppy should be available.”
Red River Invitational
1. Grand Forks Red River, 318
2. Fargo Davies, 328
3. Wahpeton, 359
4. West Fargo Sheyenne, 363
5. Fargo South, 369
6. Fargo North, 370
7. Fargo Shanley, 372
8. West Fargo, 374
9. Grand Forks Central, 472
- Valley City, 408