ONAMIA -- They practiced in rain. They practiced in hail. They practiced a lot and their reward is the Class 1A state girls' golf championship.
The Pequot Lakes Patriots followed Wednesday's first-round 353 with a second-round 364 for a 717 on the Sanctuary Course at Izatys Golf and Yacht Club. The Patriots increased their 17-stroke, first-round lead to 25. Albany finished second with a 742.
"The Caledonia coach told me, 'Tell your team not to get their knickers in a twist if they make a bad shot, play the golf course and let them try to catch you,'" said Patriots coach Judy Heslop.
"That's all we thought about. Play the golf course and let the other teams try and catch you."
Kim Larson remained steady, matching her first-round 82. The senior fired a front-nine 44, but battled back for a back-nine 38 to lead the Patriots to their second state title in three years.
"This one is better because it's my senior year," said Kim Larson, who finished tied for fifth with a 164. "We wanted to play consistent. We wanted to play the course. I was really nervous on the front nine, then after that I just said forget this. The back nine I was very happy with."
Val Meschke fired an 87 and finished 11th individually. She was one spot away from a medal, but was happy to be part of her second state title.
"We all just wanted to think we weren't in the lead," said Meschke. "We wanted to make sure we blew everyone away. I didn't want to get mad at myself because I had some really bad holes. I just kept thinking we're going to do this as a team and I tried to beat everyone in my group."
Meschke opened with a front-nine 40 with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes. She shot 47 on the back after bogeys on the last three holes.
"I had two penalty strokes and I still shot a 40," said Meschke. "I was thinking putts on the front nine more so than the back. I was more focused on the front. I think I was getting a little too excited on the back.
"Four holes back I made a goal that I was just going to bogey out and then I would shoot an 87 so then every shot I was just thinking I'm going to make it."
Ali Gravdahl shot 96 in the final round. The junior battled a wrist injury during the two-day tournament, but was pleased with the way she played.
"It was hard, but it didn't really bother me during the tournament, only on a couple of shots," said Gravdahl. "I just had to deal with it. I just wanted to beat the girls I was playing with."
Patriots earn another
Champions: The Pequot Lakes Patriots fired a two-day 717 to win their second Class 1A state title in three years.
Gravdahl carded 48s on both nines and finished with a 189. The junior's second state title was the best.
"This feels great," said Gravdahl. "This time they get to count my score because last time they didn't get to."
Brooke Keys shot her best round of the tournament. She went out in 54, but came back in 45 to shoot 99. Kendra Larson, whose 95 helped Pequot to its first-round lead, fired a 104 Thursday.
"It was so bad my first nine," said Keys. "I don't know what was wrong with me. I could not putt at all. On the back nine my drives were outstanding.
"There are no words to explain this. It still hasn't hit me yet."
Wadena-Deer Creek's Megan Sorenson surpassed her expectations by firing an 88 in the second round. The senior finished with a two-day 191 to finished tied for 44th.
"The pressure was off so I had more fun and played better," said Sorenson. "I just stayed out of trouble and went to the spots I wanted to go to and just played more focused."
Crosby-Ironton's Kate Gaffney improved by one stroke to shoot a 99. The senior finished her second state tournament with a 199 and tied for 53rd.
Team scores -- 1-Pequot Lakes 717, 2-Albany 742, 3-Mendota Heights 747, 4-Lake City 748, 5-Blue Earth Area 753, 6-Crookston 766, 7-Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg 779, 8-Duluth Marshall 787
Individual champion -- Katie Detlefson (Minnehaha Academy 142
Top 10 -- 2-Staci Smoot (Rochester Lourdes) 152, 3t-Sarah Luken (Fosston) 162, Lindsey Wellenstein (Albany) 162, 5t-Kim Larson (Pequot Lakes) 164, 5t-Kelli Berns (Annandale) 164, 7-Jacquelyn Hauser (Caledonia/Spring Grove) 166, 8t-Chelsa Dooley (Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sundberg) 167, 8t-Katrina Wood (Duluth Marshall) 167, Molly Noser (Rochester Lourdes) 167
Pequot Lakes results -- 5t-Kim Larson 164, 11-Val Meschke (Pequot Lakes) 170, 41t-Ali Gravdahl 189, 59t-Brooke Keys 203, 64t-Kendra Larson 209
Crosby-Ironton results -- 53t-Kate Gaffney 199
Wadena-Deer Creek results -- 44t-Megan Sorenson (WDC) 191.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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