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Eldred shocks Women's field by taking title at 14

Osakis’ Alayna Eldred lines up her putt on the No. 3 green while getting some advice from her dad, Jon. (Al Edenloff/Echo Press)

Osakis’ Alayna Eldred came into this year’s Resorters Tournament as a 14-year-old not really believing she could beat many of the top players in the Women’s Field.

Consider her confidence boosted. Eldred proved that she can play with anyone in the division after beating the defending champion in a 1-up match against Glenwood’s Sam Falk last Thursday afternoon. She then proceeded to shock the field all week as she won twice more in the match-play event to take home the Women’s Division title at the Alexandria Golf Club.

“Honestly, I didn’t,” Eldred said last Thursday when asked if she thought she could take down a player like Falk before the week started. “But I told myself I can do it. I’ve defied many odds before, so I knew that I had it in me to do it.”

Eldred took on another local standout in Alexandria’s Amanda Bigger on Friday and won 2-1 to advance to the championship on Saturday. It took her 20 holes once she got there, but she outlasted Minnewaska’s Jenna Janu to win the title and become the first Osakis golfer to ever win a Resorters Women’s Division title.

“I’m just happy to be able to win this tournament at such a young age,” Eldred said during the awards ceremony. “I figured this experience would be really good, but I didn’t think I’d get this far and be holding this trophy.”

Eldred, the daughter of Jon and Sharon Eldred of Osakis, found ways to close out matches all week in the first match-play tournament of her career. She did it again on Saturday to put Janu away.

After they both parred the first extra hole, Janu put her drive into the trees and missed getting on the green on her next shot. Eldred was on the green in two. After Janu missed her long par putt, Eldred calmly made a three-footer for par to wrap up the win.

“I came in thinking, what are my chances being from such a small town?” she said. “So it’s nice to be able to win.”

She jumped out to a four-hole lead through seven holes on Saturday. Eldred won Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 7 with pars and added a birdie win on No. 4. Janu made her move, starting on No. 8 with a par win. That was the first of three straight wins for her as she took 9 with a par and added a birdie win on 10.

Things came down to the 18th hole as Janu rallied. Eldred was 2-up after a par win on 16, but a par on 17 and a birdie win on 18 for Janu forced a playoff.

That’s where her run ended as the par win for Eldred on No. 2 ended a memorable week for the youngest player in the field.

(Al Edenloff contributed to this story)


Eldred def. Jenna Janu, 20-holes

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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