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State golf: Nelson improves to a 36th place finish

Rachel Nelson hits an approach shot on the 18th hole at the Minnesota Class 2A state golf tournament in Jordan, Minn. Brian Basham/FORUM Communications1 / 4
Nelson chips on to the 18th green of Ridges at Sand Creek, home of the Class 2A state golf tournament. Brian Basham/FORUM Communications2 / 4
Rachel Nelson smiles as she watches her birdie putt drop on 15. Bob Williams/FOCUS3 / 4
Rachel Nelson takes relief from the golf cart path on the 18th hole. Bob Williams/FOCUS4 / 4

JORDAN, Minn. -- After carding a 91 to tie for 44th place after day one of the Class 2A state golf meet, Perham's Rachel Nelson opened day two with a 43 on the back nine highlighted by a birdie on the par three 15th hole.

Nelson's tee shot landed on the edge of the green on the short 75-yard hole. The pin placement left much of the green out of play with the hole pocketed on the short side. Nelson cracked a smile as her eight-foot uphill putt found the hole.

Nelson battled to find par for most of the first nine holes after hitting one of her two pars on her opening hole, the 10th. Her approach shot found a small, nasty, green side bunker with little green with which to work. Nelson got up and down to start her round with a par five on the 461-yard 10th.

Nelson's other early par was on the 260-yard 14th. From the elevated tee box, her drive found the left side of the fairway. Nelson's approach shot, over water, landed pin-high for a birdie put. She settled for par with a tap-in.

"You have to make pars here," Perham Head Girls Golf Coach Cory Solberg said. "Any birdies you get here are going to be good birdies."

Scrambling on 13 after her tee shot found a small alcove of trees, Nelson punched out to the fairway of the par-4, 339-yard hole. Bad luck continued on the hole as her approach shot found a downhill lie, a few inches off the cart path with an uphill chip to a short run of green to the hole.

The cart path appeared again on 18 when Nelson's second shot came to rest on the edge of the cart path near water. She took relief from the lie and hit a nice chip to the green to set up a birdie putt on the long par-5.

The 18th green has a large slope that sheds balls back toward the fairway. Nelson's ball found the platform on top but the slope caused a three-putt to make a birdie opportunity a back-nine-ending bogey for her score of 43.

Nelson put together a matching 43 on the front nine to finish the tournament tied for 36th place with fellow junior Erin Stocker of St. Cloud Cathedral. Both carded a 177 to complete the two days of action. Nelson improved on the front nine by six strokes compared to day one.

Nelson shot a 42 on the back nine and 49 on the front on day one to tie with Anna Zumwinkle, an eighth-grader from Breck and Jennifer Ely, a senior from Caledonia-Spring Grove.

Rain appeared shortly during the final two holes of the front nine on Wednesday but stayed away for the duration of play.

Kaylee Benson, of Jackson Country Central, hit a hole-in-one on the 15th hole.

Kate Smith, an eighth-grader fro Detroit Lakes shot 37-33 for a two-under 70 to lead after day one by five strokes over senior Brianna Janu, of Minnewaska.

Smith held her lead to become the meet medalist with a final score of 140.

The big story at this year's state meet is the run of the Detroit Lakes golf teams. The Laker girls lead the tournament by 27 strokes over perennial favorite Minnewaska. The boys team holds a three-stroke lead over Staples-Motley

The Laker girls gave up 19 strokes on day two but held on for a 311-319 victory over Minnewaska for the team title.

Rachel Nelson Perham Day one: 49-42 Day two: 43-43 Total: 177

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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