by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The big winner at the annual Lady Elk Invitational on Tuesday was … everybody. Because it was such a beautiful day for golfing, mid 70’s and just a light breeze.
“This was great. I’ve been here every year since seventh grade and it’s been crappy weather every year,” said runner-up Cassie Deegs, a Stillwater senior.
“Yup, the weather was the thing,” agreed Elk coach Dave Bleyhl. “Especially after last year when it was just horrible.”
“This was just a great day for golfing,” said Ashlee Lindeen, Elk senior. Added Rogers soph Maddie Hol, “It was so much fun to skip school today and play golf. Last year it was awful.”
The Stillwater Ponies and White Bear Lake senior Abbie Mozzetti were the winners on the scoreboard at Elk River Golf Club.
Mozzetti repeated as champion, shooting par 72 to match Deegs, then surviving a grueling four-hole playoff.
Elk River split into two varsities. Elk Black, consisting of the five seniors, placed fourth with 352, and Elk Red, the five underclassmen, was ninth among 17 teams with 393.
“We weren’t trying to win the tournament today,” said Bleyhl. “I wanted to give the seniors a chance to be the varsity by themselves, and then have next year’s varsity by themselves.
“We did pretty good. We beat 12 teams, and I’m happy about that. I’m excited about next year, too, because they (Elk Red) beat six or seven teams, too.”
Sadie Martin, senior stalwart in her final try at winning her hometown invitational, placed fourth with 32-42-77.
Stillwater totaled 323. Red Wing was runner-up with 327 and Edina third with 329.
The field included three 2011 state tournament teams — Stillwater (second in 3A), Elk River (fifth in 3A) and Red Wing (first in 2A) – and nine players who finished in the top 20 of AA or AAA.
“I played with some of the best players in the state today, so that was fun,” noted Martin, whose group included Deegs, fifth-place Marissa Toivonen of Red Wing and 10th-place Lexi Boullant of Buffalo.
“I knew Cassie and Lexi already. I had never met Marissa but we are going to be teammates next year at Auggie (Augustana) so it was nice to get to know her.”
Mozzetti, who won last year’s Elk River shiver-fest with 73 and placed 14th at state, shot 37-35-72 Tuesday. The ERGC course seems to agree with her, as these are the only two big tournaments she’s won.
“I was two-over after two holes but after that I pretty much parred everything (in regulation).”
Deegs, state runner-up last year, was not among the leaders at ERGC in five previous trips. She he got off to great start, driving within five feet on her first hole and getting the birdie. She stayed in the groove for 16 holes and was two-under before she bogied 17 and 18.
“This is the best I’ve done here,” said Deegs, who’ll play for Nebraska next year. “I made some pretty good putts, but then I three-putted on 17.”
In the playoff, alternating between No. 1 and No. 18, both had a bogey, par, and bogey, before Mozzetti got a par after a nice chip shot within five feet and Deegs bogied.
Deegs could still savor a team victory as Stillwater also had Hailey Boner and Erin Thiets tying for seventh with 82’s.
Rogers placed 11th with 422, led by Hol with 97. See separate article.
Buffalo, perennial Mississippi 8 champion, placed sixth with 369, led by soph Lexi Boullant with 41-42-83.
Martin, eighth at state last year, opened with 35 Tuesday, steadily driving down the middle and unto greens in regulation, with birdies on two and eight after hitting approach shots close to the pin.
“On the second nine, I had a few holes at the beginning where I hit some not-so-good shots, but I did better the last half of the second nine,” she said.
Elk senior Ashlee Lindeen shot 44-41-85, highlighted by a strong drive, accurate chip and two-putt for a par on No. 13.
“My drives were pretty good. I was hitting greens. I was trying to make more greens in regulation,” she said.
Elk Black also had Alex McDonald with 50-46-96, Makayla Conrath 45-49-94, and Alexa Dietrichs 52-59-11. McDonald had five pars and a birdie, but also an eight and nine. “I was breaking in a new driver that I started using on Sunday,” she said.
Junior Mary Elmqust led Elk Red with 46-48-94, followed by freshman Samantha Lindeen 52-46-98, eighth-grader Lexa Filipcak 49-51-100, eighth-grader Morgan Bleyhl 49-52-101, and freshman Morgan Dietrichs 53-58-111.
1. Stillwater 323
2. Red Wing 327
3. Edina 337
4. Elk River Black 352
5. Blaine 364
6. Buffalo 369
7. Forest Lake 376
8. Andover 382
9. Elk River Red 393
10. Hill-Muray 410
11. Rogers 422
12. Armstrong 429
13. Anoka 437
14. Centennial 440
15. Park Center 456
16. Coon Rapids 472
White Bear Lake incomplete
1. Abbie Mozzetti, White Bear Lake, 37-35-72
2. Cassie Deegs, Stillwater, 37-35-72
3. Katie Keski, Red Wing, 37-39- 76
4. Sadie Martin, Elk River, 35-42-77
5. Marissa Toivonen, Red Wing, 42-37-79
6. Grace Gilmore, Edina, 41-40-81