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Blessum paces golfers at state

By Staff | May 30, 2014

Rugby High School junior Elizabeth Blessum practices early this season at Rugby Golf Course. Blessum shot the team-low at state. Tim Chapman/PCT

The Rugby High School girls golf team hoped for a top-five finish at the state tournament, but came up a bit short with a seventh-place mark of 755 at the two-day meet in Carrington.

The Panthers have much to be excited about as the team returns every player next year and may even be a contender following a third-straight year of experience at state.

“We’re all juniors right now and we didn’t lose anyone and I feel that we all get along well and know each other and know how each other golf,” RHS junior Elizabeth Blessum said. “Hopefully, this summer we can work on our game and improve even more.”

Blessum was the top RHS golfer at CrossRoads Golf Course on Tuesday and Wednesday. She finished tied for 13th overall with a two-day score of 173 (88-85).

Kindred won the tournament at 704, and Hazen and Langdon came in next at 713 each.

Blessum’s improvement from day one was a theme for the Panthers, as all four scoring golfers improved. Junior Darby Deckert was 16th overall and shot 92-84 – 176. Junior Paige Johnson (Leeds) was 59th and shot 103-100 – 203. Junior ReeAnn Christianson was tied for 69th and rounded out the scoring with a 108-99 – 207.

“Today, I think they felt a little bit more calm,” said RHS coach Leah Johnson, following Wednesday’s final round. “Yesterday, they were pretty full of nerves. One of the things we talked about yesterday was being more aggressive. I think sometimes they play to the level of people that they’re with and sometimes they don’t go after it.”

Johnson said the 10th hole gave her team fits, but took credit for the struggles.

“There’s very little room for error and we knew that, but I just don’t think we played it right,” Johnson said. “I think we made a mistake right out of the gate and I should’ve had them play it differently. There’s a couple of spots on the course that it doesn’t seem like it should be, but it’s very easy to go out of bounds. Just little mistakes like that cost us, easily, among the team, 15 to 20 strokes.”

Four of the girls posted 18-hole bests during the tournament, including Hannah Voeller, who was fifth on the team with a 105-106 – 210. Helen Johnson also competed and shot 111-112 – 223.

Looking ahead, Leah Johnson is hoping to instill a more competitive streak in her players.

“The girls just so badly wanted to do a fifth place or better because in the state tournament the last three years, we’ve gone seventh, eighth, seventh,” Johnson said, “so they feel like they’re stuck. So today, as great as it was, it still just feels like, ugh, if we could have two days like this.”

Heart River’s Jada Mattson won the tournament by seven strokes with a 76-77 – 153.

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