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Area golf teams to battle elements in postseason

The phrase "weather permitting" is quickly becoming redundant for local golfers. After a weekend of rain that appears unlikely to cease, four area high school golf teams will have to battle the elements today as they turn to postseason play. The ...

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Heart River junior Joey Wagner knocks down a par putt on hole No. 15 during the Region 5 boys golf meet on May 19 at Heart River Golf Course. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

The phrase “weather permitting” is quickly becoming redundant for local golfers.

After a weekend of rain that appears unlikely to cease, four area high school golf teams will have to battle the elements today as they turn to postseason play.

The Dickinson High boys golf team is in Minot for the West Region tournament, the Dickinson Trinity and Heart River boys golf teams are at the Class B state meet in Jamestown, and the Heart River girls team is in Carrington for the Class B girls meet.

In all cases, the teams are looking to play smart with the hopes of getting the better of Mother Nature and their opponents.

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Course management key at Class B boys meet

At Jamestown Country Club for the Class B boys state meet, Dickinson Trinity and Heart River will be among the field that will have to be mindful of the course conditions today and tomorrow.

“The fairways are cut quite short. They’ll roll out fine,” Cougars head coach Jerry Perdaems said. “Once you get into the rough area, grass seems to be 2 and a half or 3 inches in length. If you’ve got rain, that ball will die right there. You won’t get any roll out of that grass if it’s wet tomorrow. If they can keep it in the fairway tomorrow, they feel they’ll be OK.”

The layout of the course will undoubtedly play a part in a golfer’s success also.

“It’s actually a little shorter than Heart River (Golf Course), a lot tighter,” Titans head coach Ernie Hill said. “You won’t be able to boom it on every hole. You have to play smarter on this course. You’ll have to think your way around the golf course.”

Despite concerns over the conditions, both teams report being confident - but not too much - heading into the state meet.

“I’ve played this course a lot over the years,” Trinity senior  and Region 7 senior of the year Willy Jahner said. “My sister plays at Jamestown so I’ve played some rounds with her, and I’ve played some tournaments up here. It's a course I’m familiar with, but you can't really relax on it. You have to stay focused on every single shot on this course.”

Junior Joey Wagner, of the Region 5 champion Cougars, said the team’s body of work this season has prepared it to succeed this week.

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“Our guys, they’re pretty hungry for the next couple days,” he said. “They want to play well. I guarantee we’ve prepared better than any other team in the state. You don’t win a tournament individually or as a team on that day. You win in the preparation.”

Perdaems hopes that his team performs to the caliber it has all season.

“When you get to his level, and when you’re hoping to compete for the top three spots, there’s no doubt we’re going to have to have all six kids shoot well,” he said. “Joey, Jayden (Ewoniuk), Trace (Jacobson) and Seth (Keator), those guys are certainly going to have to play well.”

The Titans are more top-heavy than the Cougars, with Jahner and fellow senior Jaret Lee leading the way all season. They, along with classmate Dillon Praus, are the only members with previous state experience.

“I think Jaret and I, we have to play pretty well,” Jahner said. “We’ve been at the state tournament quite a bit, and with that experience, we have to play well and hopefully lead our team.”

“This is our last two days of being in any high school sport and last two days of golf. We’re hoping to end our careers strong here at Jamestown.”

Heart River girls to take on Carrington course

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The Heart River girls golf team, fresh off a Region 5 title of its own, will look to extend its success to the Class B girls meet today in Carrington.

Carrington has also seen a lot of rain in previous days, but weather conditions appear somewhat favorable for today and tomorrow.

“The course is in pretty good shape, actually,” Cougars head coach Kirby Robb said. “It’s a course I think we can play well on. It’s set up a lot like (Pheasant Country Golf Course), short and a lot of wide-open spaces. The greens are similar to South Heart’s. They’re not lighting-fast like how Jamestown was last year. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

Heart River senior Brittni Krance said, even though the team’s practice round Monday was cut to eight holes due to lightning, the Cougars feel prepared for the next two days.

“I think we’re going to play really well,” she said. “We were playing pretty well on the course (Monday) even though it started raining. We’re all really excited. We’re hoping we can pull it off even if it’s a one-day tournament (because of weather). We just have to come ready.”

Robb mentioned that he hopes his two seniors - Krance and Laynee Kudrna - play well in their final outings, but for the team to have success, Kenadee Kudrna, Bayli Krance and Katie Keator will need to make for a well-rounded effort.

“Hopefully we can pull it off (and win state),” Brittni said. “It would be cool to end our season like that. … Katie Keator is playing really well right now. She’s our No. 1, and I think she has a chance to win state. She was playing well today, and I think she can do that again.

“I think we can do it. I have a lot of faith in our team.”

DHS boys looking to qualify for state

The Dickinson High boys golf team will spend today at Souris River Golf Course in Minot for the West Region meet, where the top six teams and the top 10 individuals will qualify for state.

Much like the rest of the state, the forecast in Minot doesn’t look too preferable, either, with rain expected through most of the day.

“These guys have played in pretty much any kind of weather,” Dickinson head coach Sara Berglund said. “They just have to keep their heads and not get frustrated with it. The weather will be the same for everybody. They just have to take it one shot at a time.”

So far, only senior Aidan Mansfield and junior Jerzy Martin have qualified for state for the Midgets. For others to crack the top 10, or for the team as a whole to make the top six today, it will require a well-rounded effort, Berglund said.

Despite the rainfall over the weekend - and the similar conditions expected today - Berglund said her team felt comfortable on Monday after its practice round.

“The practice round went really well,” she said. “The greens are a bit slower, and our guys like it that way. They were putting on them really well (Monday). You definitely want to be comfortable on and around the greens.”

For the team to earn a ticket to the state meet - which will be held June 7-8, also at Souris River - Berglund said the team will have to take smart shots and minimize mistakes.

“If you play the course smart, you can score on it,” she said.  “You have to keep it in the fairway because there are some spots in the rough that are tough to hit out of.

“Every stroke matters. All the scores from the teams have been close throughout the season. Two strokes can make the difference between fourth and seventh. They’ll have to take their time and make sure to score well.”

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