Not even 30-mph winds can slow Kim Larson.
The senior for the Pequot Lakes Patriots girls' golf team beat the rest of the Park Rapids invitational field and helped her team to victory May 5.
Larson tamed the wind, which was said to be a "3-club wind," meaning instead of using a normal club, players had to use a club that sailed the ball three times farther.
The six-year varsity player shot an 87 to lead the Patriots to a winning 367. She followed that with a second-place 77 at the Bemidji Invitational May 7. Brittany Williamson of Bemidji shot 76 to edge her.
"I just stayed confident and tried to stay with Brittany and tried not to make any dumb mistakes," said Larson. "I was just really confident that day."
Larson helped the Patriots to fifth place at the Grand Rapids Invitational May 8, carding an 82.
"We've all known she could do it, she just didn't always believe in herself," said Pequot Lakes coach Judy Heslop. "I think playing with Brittany Williamson, Sarah Lucken of Fosston and Mattie Nelson of Moorhead was the turning point for Kim.
"That was the best thing that could have happened to her."
Before last week Larson admitted she struggled. At the Pines-Preserve Invitational April 24, she shot 88-91 for a two-day 179. While she led Pequot to eighth place and was the area's top performer, Larson wasn't happy with her game.
"I just wasn't confident," she said. "I needed to become more confident, just trust in what I have and not try to fix everything on the course.
"My putting drastically improved. We're doing different drills, but mainly just visualizing each shot, and that's been working out really well."
So well in fact that Larson has signed a letter of intent to play for the North Dakota State University Bison next year. She is the third Patriot to play Division I golf, following Liz Meschke and Jackie Heslop.
"I am sure excited about having her on the team," said NDSU women's coach Diane Fedje-Weisgarber. "Kim has had a lot of accomplishments throughout her high school career. Those are the type of players that really excite me.
"She has a lot of tournament experience and that's what I looked at right away. She has good distance off the tee and we can capitalize on getting even more. Her short game and her second shot into the green are crisp."
The ninth-ranked player in Class 1A wants to finish in the top five at state. If she advances it would be her third state appearance. She helped Pequot win the state title as a sophomore and finish third last year.
"I was young and scared going to state the first time, but I had Jackie (Heslop) to help me through it," said Larson. "Last year, Ashley (Meschke) and I were able to pull the team through. I'm really hoping our team goes again this year."
Other notable performances:
Golf -- Kristen Sczublewski, Pierz, was medalist at the Kimball Invitational.
Softball -- Michelle Honek, Staples-Motley, pitched five scoreless innings and hit a solo home run against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. She struck out 34 in two wins against Pequot Lakes.
Emma Hoglund, Pequot Lakes, threw a no-hitter in the first game and struck out 13 in the second against Crosby-Ironton.
Liza Milless, S-M, was 5-8 with a triple and a run in a doubleheader with Detroit Lakes. She was 2-3 with one RBI and added the game-winning RBI in two games against Pequot.
Chelsa Beaver, Verndale, was 3-4 with a three-run homer and five RBI against Bertha-Hewitt.
Tammy Gruber, Pierz, was 3-5 with a home run, two RBI and five runs against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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