Kraft to defend title before major eventJAMESTOWN — Jamestown High School graduate Laura Kraft’s busy summer has been paying off.
By: David Griswold, Forum Communications Co.
JAMESTOWN — Jamestown High School graduate Laura Kraft’s busy summer has been paying off.
The only player to ever win three individual Class A state girls golf titles has qualified for the National PGA Junior Championship after winning the Minnesota Junior PGA Championship on July 12 at Marshall Golf Club in Marshall, Minn.
“I feel really excited to have this opportunity,” said Kraft, who qualified for the National PGA Junior Championships two years ago but missed the cut. “It’s going to be a lot bigger than the tournaments I’ve been playing in this summer, but it’s just a great opportunity to learn from.”
The national tournament is scheduled for Aug. 2-5 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“Two years ago I didn’t make the cut, so I’m just hoping I can learn from that and make the cut this year,” said Kraft, who will be playing at the University of Missouri this fall.
Before she goes to that tournament, however, Kraft will have the top handicap in the field at the two-day North Dakota Women’s Golf Association’s state stroke play tournament, which begins at 8:30 a.m. today at the Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson.
Kraft won the event last season with a 6-over-par finish, edging Dickinson Trinity High School graduate Chivas Beaudoin, who is not playing in the tournament this season.
Kraft punched her ticket to the national tournament after taking an early five-stroke lead after Day 1 at Marshall. The Class A player of the year carded a 72 and with her history in big tournaments, the early cushion seemed to all but guarantee the Blue Jay standout a victory. But things got a little interesting down the stretch.
After shooting three-over after 15 holes on Day 2, Kraft birdied No. 16 and No. 18 to fend off a charging Tabitha Kunst of Duluth (Minn.) East High School. Kraft ended up beating out Kunst by four strokes with a 1-over-par 145.
Kraft has a busy couple of weeks ahead of her as she plans to participate in the International Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. — which she qualified for by winning the Tri-State Optimist District Junior Golf International qualifier last month — and then she will head straight to Fort Wayne.
“I will be flying directly from Florida to Indiana,” Kraft said. “It will be a tight schedule but I think I will be able to handle it. It’s really exciting to know I have two really big tournaments coming up at the end of the summer.”
Griswold is a sports reporter for The Jamestown Sun, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.