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Rugby golfers shoot for state

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 4, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Rugby Panthers golfer Mari Melgard practices putting on the green at the Rugby Golf Club.

With girls’ golf season in full swing, new Rugby Panthers coach Angie Zietz says she likes what she sees so far.

“The girls are doing great,” Zietz said. “I’m impressed and quite excited for the season.”

The 10-member Region 4 class B team co-ops with Leeds High School. Zietz said the girls range in grade and skill level to beginners in seventh grade through high school seniors.

All team members have the same goal: qualifying for state.

“September eighth and 10th we have two individual qualifiers coming up for state,” Zietz said. “On the 15th, we have regionals which is a team qualifier for the sport.”

The Sept. 10 and 15 qualifiers will take place at the Rugby Golf Club.

Zietz said golfers “can go to state as an individual, or for a team. There is a group of six girls that make up each team. The top four scores are totaled for the team score and the bottom two, their scores don’t count, but they need six girls to make the team.”

Zietz said the Panthers showed lots of promise for qualifying as a team for state.

“I’m pretty confident we’ll have a team go to state,” Zietz said.

The North Dakota High School Class B tournament is set for Sept. 27 at Crossroads Golf Course in Carrington.

Zietz said her team “started off with 12 girls, but now we have 10. So, we have a team of a seventh grader all the way up to high school seniors who I think will qualify for state.”

“I want them to be able to have that team experience for state as well,” Zietz said of the seniors on the Panthers’ team. “If they don’t individually qualify for state, I at least want them to qualify as a team.”

“I feel that our younger girls coming up should have the state experience even at that younger age to kind of get those jitters out. Once our seniors are gone, these girls are going to be stepping up big time for the team, so if they can get those jitters and nerves and the stress out now, it’ll be good for them later,” Zietz added.

“They have two chances for individual qualifiers to shoot an 87 or better to qualify for state,” Zietz said of the Velva and Rugby meets. “If they don’t qualify individually, they can place in the top ten on the 15th. It doesn’t matter what they score, if they place in the top ten, they can go to state individually.”

Zietz said the regional qualifier would give teams and individuals a chance to qualify. Some golfers would likely qualify both as individuals and team members, giving those golfers a chance to add both their individual and team scores to their overall team point totals.

The Panthers began competing in mid-August. Zietz said the competitions gave Rugby a chance to practice ahead of qualifiers.

“When the qualifiers come up, they’re what counts,” Zietz said.

Zietz said the small Panthers team has quite a few standouts. “Elizabeth Dulmage, she’s a junior from Leeds. She’s a phenomenal golfer. It’s a pleasure to have her on the team and she’s fun to watch. The other girls learn from her, especially the younger ones. Then, I have Katelyn Duchscher and Alyssa Harmel, who are also really good golfers. They have what they need and go out and do what they need to do.”

“In my first year of coaching, it’s been an amazing experience watching all these girls succeed in what they’re doing and learning and becoming better as individuals and as golfers. The laughter and chatter between them has been a good experience,” she added.

Zietz also noted golfers would be ranked and grouped at state according to their skill levels. Beginners would compete with beginners, while more experienced players would compete at their own level.

The Panthers would have another opportunity to hone their skills in Dunseith Sept. 3 before focusing on qualifying for state.

“Unless something really drastic happens, I have a lot of confidence in the girls that we’ll have a state-qualifying team,” Zietz said.

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