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Resorters Golf: Shocking ending sends Guggisberg past defending Women's champ

Glenwood's Ashlyn Guggisberg follows through on an approach shot during Thursday's match play in the Women's Division. Guggisberg knocked off defending champion Sophia Yoemans with a playoff-hole victory. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)1 / 5
Ale Arellano studies the green before a putt during her matchup with Leah Herzog on Thursday. Herzog won 4-2 to advance in the Women's Division. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)2 / 5
Alayna Eldred of Osakis watches her tee shot on No. 7 during Thursday's match play in the Women's Division. Eldred beat Madison Herzog 3-2 to advance to today's semifinals. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)3 / 5
Sophia Yoemans guides a putt into the cup with a bend at the knees during Thursday's match play action in the Women's Division. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)4 / 5
Madison Herzog eyes her tee shot during Thursday's match play action in the Women's Division. (Micah Friez / Echo Press)5 / 5

Glenwood’s Ashlyn Guggisberg couldn’t believe how things ended against defending champion Sophia Yoemans in the Women’s Division quarterfinals on Thursday.

Guggisberg, who golfs for the University of North Dakota, played well almost all day and held an early lead, but the way she won came as a shock. Both players went to a playoff on No. 1, where Guggisberg hit her tee shot to the right and into tree trouble.

Yoemans, meanwhile, was almost on the green with her drive, just on the left side in front of the fringe about 10 feet. Somehow, someway, Guggisberg was the one who parred as a bogey by Yoemans opened the door and allowed her to come away with the 19-hole win.

“Honestly, I was shocked,” Guggisberg said. “I hit not the greatest drive of my life and had to hit a punch up there. She was on the green pretty much with her drive, so I’m thinking this is over. Then I stuck one close on my chip and she hit her chip long and it was like, ‘She just has to two-putt and we tie and go to the next hole.’ ”

Seeing another hole would have been a relief for Guggisberg after the way the No. 1 started. Instead, she stuck her third shot to within two feet. That was the start of turning things around.

“It was huge. Honestly, I was surprised myself I hit it that close,” Guggisberg said. “I just had to pull something out because it was do or die.”

Yoemans hit her second shot about 15 feet past the cup before coming back long again and leaving herself with about a five footer. That par putt missed the mark too as Guggisberg was left happy with a win but surprised with how it came.

“I hadn’t even thought of (winning on that hole),” she said. “I was in complete shock, but we both played awesome.”

Guggisberg will match up with Yoemans’ teammate out of Red Wing, Leah Herzog, on Friday when the women step to the first tee box at 12:30 p.m. with a spot in the finals on the line. Joining them will be Osakis’ Alayna Eldred and Red Wing’s Stephanie Herzog.

Here is a look at how all four of them got here.

Guggisberg def. Yoemans, 19 holes

Even before Guggisberg won on that first playoff hole on Thursday, there was a point in the match where she could have folded.

She was steady as can be out of the gates with birdie wins at Nos. 1, 3 and 6 and a par win at 7 that left her 3-up at the turn. Yoemans is too good to go away, though. She stormed all the way back with a birdie win at 11 and par wins at 13 and 15 to tie it.

“She played awesome on the back nine,” Guggisberg said. “The whole round really, but really on the back nine she kicked it in. It was a grind.”

On the par-three 17th, Yoemans stuck it on the green and Guggisberg went into the right sand trap and couldn’t get up and down. Yoemans two-putted for par and a 1-up advantage.

On 18, Yoemans found herself in some tree trouble after her drive, and Guggisberg bounced back with a huge drive down the right side that went just into the rough with a clean look at the green from inside 50 yards.

“I knew it was do or die at that point,” Guggisberg said. “I knew I needed something special.”

Yoemans came up short of the green on her approach, and missed a par putt later in the hole. Guggisberg got her par to force extras in a match that epitomized the importance of persevering from hole to hole in match play.

Yoemans has played well all summer, and Guggisberg was thrilled to move on by beating a player of her caliber.

“It’s so cool. She’s an awesome player,” Guggisberg said. “It was just fun that we both played so well. Nobody gave it to the other one, that was the coolest part of the whole thing.”

Leah Herzog def. Arellano, 4-2

Leah Herzog jumped out to a 3-up lead through five holes on the defending runner-up in the Women’s Division and withstood a rally on the front to defeat Ale Arellano of Wichita, Kansas.

Arellano brought her deficit to within one with a win at nine, but Herzog countered with a win at 10 to move back to 2-up. It was 4-up for Herzog after wins at 12 and 13 before Arellano countered with a win of her own at 14. The match ended after that as Herzog’s win on 15 put things away.

Eldred def. Madison Herzog, 3-2

Alayna Eldred had struggled with her game a little bit early this summer, but she has done a good job of finding it at the right time during this Resorters.

Eldred knocked off an always-tough opponent in Madison Herzog of Detroit Lakes to cement her spot in Friday’s semifinals. Eldred fell behind by two holes after three but rallied with six straight wins - four of them by par, one by birdie and one by bogey - to take a lead she never relinquished.

“My irons were very good today,” Eldred said. “When I had the opportunities, I was hitting good shots. Once I got my driver to go in the fairway, then I was able to capitalize on those opportunities. I was putting pretty well too, so I had a lot of two putts from good distances away.”

Eldred put the pressure on Herzog by limiting her mistakes throughout her round. She finished with 11 pars and two birdies.

“I see my game moving in a lot of good directions right now,” Eldred said. “It’s kind of hit or miss. Some days it’s there for most of the round and then some days it’s just not so good. I do see a lot of positive improvements and I like the way I’m moving with my swing.”

Making the semifinals this week and beating a player like Herzog has been a step in the right direction for the future University of Minnesota golfer.

“I think this week has been a pretty good, positive experience,” Eldred said.

Now she’ll see if she can get past Stephanie Herzog on Friday and give herself a chance to win a second Women’s Division title after she took the crown in 2014.

“I really want to win, and I want that title again,” Eldred said. “At the same time, you have to go out there and have fun because that’s when you play your best golf. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself with college coming up and wanting to play well, so I’m just going to go out and have fun and hopefully I play really good golf.”

Stephanie Herzog def. O’Connor, 3-1

Alexandria’s Ciara O’Connor made third-seeded Stephanie Herzog work a little bit, but Herzog got the job done by a 3-1 final after taking 17 with a par on Thursday.

Herzog led 4-up through seven holes with four par wins and by taking No. 6 with a birdie. And while O’Connor kept herself within striking distance with wins on Nos. 8, 10 and 11, she could never reel Herzog all the way back in.

Herzog used par wins at Nos. 12 and 14 to secure her match.


12:30 p.m. - Ashlyn Guggisberg vs. Leah Herzog; Alayna Eldred vs. Stephanie Herzog

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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