Alexandria girls' golf: Cards first, third
Playing in rain and against teams they haven't faced this year, the Cardinal girls' golf team finished the 12-team Hutchinson Invitational in a tie for third Friday, then cruised to a first place finish at the eight-team Wadena Invitational on Saturday.
"We were able to play against some teams that we have not seen this year, including top-ranked teams like Minnewaska, Stewartville and New Prague," said Cardinal head coach Tim Zupfer of his team's performance at Hutchinson.
"The first part of the meet was in a light rain. About an hour into the round, we had a very good downpour, which lasted about 20 minutes. After that, the weather was just cloudy with light wind.
"Our players handled the conditions quite well," he added, "and posted a good team score of 338, which placed us third.
"We were only three shots back of New Prague (last year's championship team."
The Cardinals were led by Amanda Bigger, who fired rounds of 42 and 35 for a total of 77 and an individual third place finish.
"She [beat] three other players on the scorecard playoff," said Zupfer of Bigger's finish.
"Natalie [Amundson] had one of her best performances of the season with a very consistent round," he added. "Her scorecard included no score higher than five.
"Bridget continues to play well and lower her scores. She was a little frustrated that her score included six double bogeys.
"Shelby [Iverson] had a few rough holes," the coach said, "but managed to keep her game in control. She was a little frustrated that she was unable to capitalize on a number of putts for par during her round."
The Cardinals shot a team score of 337 on Saturday at Wadena to outpace Bemidji by 17 strokes for the title.
"Just 10 hours after returning from Hutchinson, we were back in the van and on the road," said Zupfer. "Saturday's weather included a brief shower to start the round, but we were able to finish the round dry."
Once again, Bigger led the way, finishing second to Emily Israelson of Staples-Motley by one stroke.
"Amanda finished off a great week of play with her third consecutive score in the 70s," said her coach. "Her short game is improving and she avoided any score higher than bogey.
"Natalie did not hit her driver nearly as well as she did on Friday. Nonetheless, she played consistently well this week.
"Emily was able to post more consistent nine-hole scores compared to Friday's round," he added. "She continues to strike the ball well and is improving her short game.
"Like Bridget, Shelby had one very good nine, shooting 43 on the front nine, one of her lowest of the season. Unfortunately, she fell victim to some water hazards on her back nine, and had one unusually high score.
"Kalley Bistodeau rounded out the scoring for us in this meet," Zupfer noted. "She has been playing well on the JV team and earned the opportunity to play on varsity."
TEAM SCORES - 1. Minnewaska 326, 2. New Prague 334, 3. (tie) Alexandria and Stewartville 338, 5. Chanhassen 350, 6. St. Cloud Tech 366, 7. Marshall 367, Hutchinson 371, Mankato West 400, 10. Chaska 408, 11. Mankato East 422, 12. Watertown 425.
MEDALIST - McKenzie Neisen, New Prague, 76.
ALEXANDRIA - 3. Amanda Bigger 77, 10. Natalie Amundson 82, Emily Thul 89, Bridget Amundson 90, Shelby Iverson 98.
MINNEWASKA - 2. Alexis Guggisberg 76.
TEAM SCORES - 1. Alexandria 337, 2. Bemidji 354, 3. Staples-Motley 364, 4. Wadena-Deer Creek 371, 5. Park Rapids 413, 6. Crosby-Ironton 502, 7. Menahga-Sebeka and Nevis, incomplete.
MEDALIST - Emily Israelson, SM, 75.
ALEXANDRIA RESULTS - 2. Amanda Bigger 76, 3. Emily Thul 85, 6. Natalie Amundson 87, Bridget Amundson 89, Shelby Iverson 96, Kalley Bistodeau 103.