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Resorters: Eldred eager for her second chance, Madison Herzog trying for first Women’s title

Women's Championship semifinal recap.

1stPhoto.Alayna Eldred putt 5656.jpg
Alayna Eldred putts on the No. 5 green during her Women's Division match against Ale Heinen Friday. Eldred advanced to the finals with a 3-1 victory. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

Osakis native Alayna Eldred wanted badly to prove during the 2020 Resorters championship match that her 2014 Women’s Division title as a 14-year-old was no fluke.

She has already done that in the minds of most with now back-to-back runs to the Women’s Division championship match. But there’s no doubt she wants another Resorters title to her name so she can join an elite list from this tournament’s history that has at least two.

“Last year I was so close,” Eldred said on Friday of her 3-2 loss to Ale Heinen in the championship in 2020. “She outplayed me a little bit last year, but I’ve been waiting for this for like eight years. I want it so bad, but I know I need to just go play relaxed. I can’t think about that when I’m out there.”

Eldred played Heinen in a rematch on Friday and came out on top in a 3-1 final. Detroit Lakes’ Madison Herzog is looking for her first Women’s Division championship. She controlled her semifinals match from start to finish in a 7-6 win over Maple Grove’s Lauren Contreras.

Here is a close look at how both Herzog and Eldred got to the finals before they take to the first tee box on Saturday afternoon at 12:45.

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Herzog def. Contreras 7-6

Lauren Contreras was on her game in a 6-5 win during the quarterfinals on Thursday, but Friday just wasn’t her day.

Conteras shot a 41 on the front nine, and that opened the door for Herzog in what became a 7-6 win for the 2019 runner-up in this division. Herzog shot a 35 on the front with wins on 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9 around Contreras’ only win of the day with a birdie on 4.

Herzog just needed to remain steady on the back. She parred each of the first two holes, and that was enough to get wins on both after Contreras bogied. Herzog will now shift her attention to a familiar opponent in Eldred as she tries for the title.

Eldred def. Heinen, 3-1

Eldred had an inkling that a semifinals matchup might be waiting for her against good friend Ale Heinen when she saw how the seedings broke after qualifying.

“When I saw the bracket come out, I was like, ‘OK, we got to get there,’” Eldred said after her 3-1 win over Heinen on Friday. “I wanted that rematch because that was our final last year. We’re such good friends too, so it was a fun day out there. I wish I was meeting her (Saturday), but either way it’s fun playing a good player. We both played really well today, so it’s always fun to have a good match like that.”

Heinen did not give the match away, and that’s exactly how Eldred wanted to win. Both shot a 36 on the front nine as they went to the back all square.

It was a similar story once they got there as the two equaled each other with pars on holes 10, 11 and 13 around birdies on No. 12. Eldred finally struck with a birdie win at the par-5 14th. Both players bogeyed 15, but Eldred finished with a birdie win on 16 and a par win at the par-3 17th that sealed it.

“I was hitting my irons really well, and that’s something I’ve kind of been missing a little bit,” Eldred said. “Out here, if I put the ball in the fairway I’m going to have short irons in. Those short irons 100 yards and in were really spot on today. Then any long iron I needed to hit was really well struck. That put me on the green almost every hole. I almost always had a putt for birdie.”

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Eldred said it was the best she has played all week. She finished her round at 2-under par.

“I knew I needed to have that coming into today because Ale has been playing some amazing golf,” Eldred said. “She’s been playing pretty much perfect golf, and so I knew I had to do that.”

Eldred might have to repeat it again on Saturday. Herzog played one of her best rounds all week too on Friday, setting up what should be a good showdown in the Women’s finals.

“I think the biggest thing is just capitalize if she does make a mistake,” Eldred said. “She’s the type of player that can rattle off a lot of birdies, but she can also throw in some bogies. When she does make a bogey, I have to capitalize on that with a par or birdie.”

SATURDAY WOMEN’S DIVISION PAIRING -- 1ST TEE
12:45 P.M. -- Madison Herzog vs. Alayna Eldred
Related Topics: GOLF
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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