by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Every state girls golf tournament since 1989 has had an Elk River team or individual in it. This year that streak was in jeopardy, but Samantha Lindeen came up with the round of her life Thursday to extend that streak to 25 years.
The Elk sophomore shot a career-best 76 at Grand National in Hinckley, following an 85 on Monday, to move up six places and finish fourth with 161.
“I was definitely more calm today,” said Lindeen. “I knew I could just go out and have fun, knowing it was pretty good just to get to play in the second day. Plus, I knew the course pretty well by now. And I switched my putter today, and my short game was a lot better.”
Elk senior Mary Elmquist, who also shot 85 Monday to make the cut, had an 84 on Monday for a 169 total.
“Sami did everything right today,” assessed coach Dave Bleyhl, delighted to have another state entry after the team placed fifth Monday, ending a two-year reign. “She played smart, she putted well, she chipped well.
“Mary just had an off-day. She could not find the cup with her putts. That could have been about a 78.”
Lindeen, whose previous best competition round was 81, smashed her personal record.
“My dad always told me I had rounds like this in me,” said Lindeen, “so deep down, I knew I could do it.”
Lindeen was a member of the Elk team that placed sixth at state last year, and she finished 68th with 188. Her sister Ashlee was a teammate last year. Ashlee, now a St. Cloud State golfer, was in Sami’s gallery with her dad and friends.
The Andover Huskies, a team Elk River beat five times this year, ran away with the section championship with a 666. Tying for second were Forest Lake and Grand Rapids-Greenway with 693. Andover’s Sierra Langlie shot 73-74-147 for the medal and Haley Toulette was right behind with 76-76-152.