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College golf: Karkela's strong play aids Concordia to fourth at MIAC Championship

COON RAPIDS--The 1980's band Timbuk3 could have been singing about the 2011 Cobbers with their cult hit single "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades".

That's because Concordia shot a second straight team score of 331 and finished in a tie for fourth place at the MIAC Championship Meet. It is the first time they have finished in the top 4 at the conference meet since the 2004 season.

The Cobbers, which brought five freshmen, including Holly Karkela, of Perham, to the conference meet, made the biggest improvement of any school in the conference in terms of final place and total team strokes.

Last year CC finished in ninth place out of 10 teams. The five spot jump is the biggest improvement in one year in the history of the program. This year's final team score of 1002 was 152 shots better than the total in 2010.

The Cobbers' final total in 2011 is their best score at a MIAC meet since the conference went to a three-round format back in 2006.

Leading the way for the Concordia kiddie crew was Kristi Opatz who finished with a total of 247 (84-81-82) and was tied for 15th place in the final individual standings. Opatz finishes her first fall season with a team-leading 82.8 stroke average over her 11 rounds of play.

After Opatz, the other three Cobber golfers were separated by eight shots. Amy Mireault made the biggest climb up the leader board in Day three.

Mireault blazed to a 79 on Monday and was one shot behind Opatz at 248. Mireault's score on Monday marked the first time a CC women's golfer has broken 80 at a MIAC Meet since 2008 when Afton Pender carded a 78 in the final round.

Rounding out the top four were Holly Karkela and Molly Zavadil. Karkela came away with three straight 84's to finish at 252 and place 19th while Zavadil sandwiched an 84 in between to 86's and was tied for 21st place at 265.

The tournament was held at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Blaine, Minn.