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Jamestown's Kraft on track to repeat NDWGA Championships

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Jamestown's Laura Kraft watches her putt on the No. 3 green Thursday morning during the NDWGA Stroke Play Championships at Heart River Golf Course. Kraft is in the lead by xxxx strokes.1 / 2
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson's Rachel Jahner chips onto the No. 3 green Thursday morning during the NDWGA Stroke Play Championships at Heart River Golf Course.2 / 2

A tournament is a tournament.

For Jamestown's Laura Kraft, The North Dakota Women's Golf Association State Stroke Play Tournament is another stepping stone preparing her for the National PGA Junior Championship.

"I definitely love having tournaments to lead into other tournaments," Kraft said. "It keeps me tuned up and be in competition mode."

Kraft posted the best score, a 2-under-par 74 on the first day of the two-day tournament Thursday at Heart River Golf Course.

Right behind the tournament's defending champion is Ashley Beard of Williston and Dickinson's Rachel Jahner, who each shot a 78.

Kraft, who will be competing in the National PGA Junior Championship on Aug. 2-5 in Fort Wayne, Ind., shot 1 under par in the opening nine holes.

She hit a snag though, shooting 3 over on the back nine.

"The front nine went especially well for me," Kraft said. "The back nine, I missed a couple of greens and I was just a little more consistent on the front."

Jahner, who will be a sophomore at Dickinson Trinity, has her short game to thank for the 78.

"This is best round at anytime since I've started playing golf," she said. "My short game was really good, just around the greens and on the greens."

Jahner had a tough time on the front nine (41), but made up for it on the back nine (37). Jahner is golfing with Kraft today and the sophomore won't be intimidated.

"I've played with Laura (Kraft) before and she's a great player," "Playing with better girls usually makes me play better and keeps me more focused."

Theresa Burns, who normally plays at Apple Creek Country Club in Bismarck, posted the fourth-best score with a 79.

"I just went out there and whatever happens happens," Burns said. "It differently could have been better. I left a couple birdies out there. I'll definitely take a 79.

The Bismarck resident knows something she can take advantage in the final round.

"Honestly, the par 5s are something that I didn't take advantage of on day one," Burns said. "I'm hoping to go out, still play my game and shoot a little better on the par 5s."

Kraft has committed to play golf at the University of Missouri this fall and feels comfortable sitting with her four-stroke advantage, though she knows there are plenty of solid golfers looking for that top spot.

"I'm definitely hoping that I can keep it up, I feel really good about how I'm playing," she said. "It's also a good field and knows there are some really good girls out there."

The nerves don't plan to be a factor for Kraft leading into day two, but the pressure could lead to better play.

"I usually don't get very nervous," she said. "But if somebody is close to me, I'll definitely feel the adrenaline."

Others playing well in the championship flight are McKenzie McMillan with an 81 and Katie Nelson with a 90.

The first flight is led by Mary Adams (90) and Ann Williams (91).

A player that is playing much better than her flight would lead to believe is Judy Finck. Finck, in the fourth flight, shot a 50 on the front nine and responded with a 43 on the back nine.

Championship Flight

Laura Kraft 74; Ashley Beard 78; Rachel Jahner 78; Theresa Burns 79; McKenzie McMillan 81; Katie Nelson 90; Bonnie Rolle 98; Marilyn Collins DQ.

First Flight

Mary Adams 90; Ann Williams 91; Diane Knote 95; Christy Beck 95; Margaret Kuntz 95; Carolina Johnston 96; Elayne Lindquist 97; Amy Bushaw 107.

Second Flight

Pam Kolling 96; Jere Rogers 99; Cindy Bosch 100; Annie Nelson 101; Lori Hauf 106; Marsheila Lickteig 108; Martha Kelvay 108; Sharyl Prescott 111; Gayle Goetz 111.

Third Flight

Norine Maier 98; Ardean Ouellette 105; Gail Ingwalson 106; Alana Knittel 107; Eunice Milne 109; Anne M. Reisnou 117; Greta Lynn Paulson 118.

Fourth Flight

Judy Finck 93; Joyce Gab 101; Joyce Genson 103; Marj Mick 105; Lois Keator 106; JoAnn Braddock 109; Pam Reichert 114; Mariann Lang 128.

Fifth Flight

Wanda Kick 111; Donna Wolf 114; Julie Haller 118; Georgette Dorval 120; Carol Hintz 124; Janene Halverson 127; Kathie Tooz 129; Sandi Frenzel 144.