Golfers steadily improve
The Rugby High School girls golf team hasn’t shot a team score of less than 400 strokes often in recent years.
Things are finally turning around for the Panthers and they hope a team score of 388 in Garrison on May 2 is an indication of even better results to come.
“It was actually our best team score since we had our second day of the state team tournament two years ago,” coach Leah Johnson said. “I hadn’t even noticed until the girls pointed it out.”
Bottineau was the next closest team at the Garrison Invitational with a score of 431. Leading the charge for RHS was junior Darby Deckert. She shot a 90, three strokes off the state-qualifying mark.
“I think the weather was halfway decent for once, so that was a perk,” Deckert said. “It got windy toward the end, but I think we were all focused and ready to go when we got there.”
RHS junior Elizabeth Blessum was second overall in the meet, just a stroke behind Deckert.
“She didn’t make many mistakes and that was good too,” Johnson said. “All of the top four were able to manage the course well. They thought about what they were doing before they did it and were able to correct themselves.”
Junior Helen Johnson, the coach’s niece, was third on the team with 103 and classmate ReeAnn Christianson was fourth at 104.
“I think we were all just in sync,” Blessum said. “It was nice conditions for golfing and we had been practicing pretty hard all week and we were all in the groove of things. I was really consistent. My long game, short game, everything was working pretty well. Some of the greens were a little hard to read, but I got used to them and putting went well.”
The team played its second individual qualifier in Velva on Thursday, followed by a meet in Bottineau on Friday and another in Dunseith today. The team qualifier is in Velva on Tuesday.
Miller qualifies for boys
Benji Miller entered the clubhouse a bit disappointed following the Region 4 state-qualifier on May 1 at Rugby Golf Course. His mood quickly changed.
“I didn’t know I shot a 79,” Miller said.
Luckily, his brother was keeping count and RHS coach Gary Myhre encouraged him to recheck his math. Miller originally counted 80, one stroke shy of qualifying for state for the first time in his career.
“Benji’s been so close,” Myhre said. “He always seemed to have a blow-up hole, so I was kind of hoping as a senior, with a little more maturity, he could keep his game strong.”
RHS senior Jack McClintock, who already qualified, won the meet by nine strokes with a 68. McClintock (81-78) took third in the two-day Class B East-West Shootout on May 2 and 3.
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