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Resorters: Osakis' Alayna Eldred back in the Resorters winner’s circle after some heartbreaking losses

Osakis' Alayna Eldred wins the Women's Championship Division title over Madison Herzog on Saturday for the first time since 2014. Eldred beat Herzog 5-4.

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Alayna Eldred embraces with friends and family after her championship-clinching hole on Aug. 7, 2021. Eldred beat Madison Herzog 5-4 to win her second Women's Championship Division title. Her first came in 2014 when she was 14-years-old. (Jared Rubado / Alexandria Echo Press)

Osakis' Alayna Eldred waited seven years to repeat what she did in 2014 at the Resorters golf tournament when she was 14-years-old.

On Saturday at the Alexandria Golf Club, Eldred became a two-time Women's Division winner with a 5-4 victory over Detroit Lakes' Madison Herzog. While it wasn't her first time winning this tournament, it was her most memorable.

"Words cannot describe this feeling right now," Eldred said. "I've been chasing this since I won in 2014. To be here again is just incredible."

Eldred, who plays golf at Ferris State University in Michigan, sank a par putt on No. 14 to win the match and finish 1-under-par. When the putt went in, a wave of emotion showered her in front of her friends and family watching.

"In 2014, I didn't know what it meant to be a Resorters champion," Eldred said. "Playing out here for the last eight years and seeing how incredible this tournament is with its tradition, especially with it being the 100th year, is indescribable."

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Alayna Eldred reads a putt on the 11th green on Aug. 7 2021. Eldred won her second Women's Championship Division title in a 5-4 win over Madison Herzog at the Alexandria Golf Club. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Eldred took an early two-hole lead with two pars and a birdie on the first three holes. Herzog got one back with a par on No. 4 before Eldred went 2-up with a par on No. 5.

Herzog cut into the lead again on No. 7 with a par before Eldred won the last two holes on the front nine. Eldred went 4-up on No. 10 before finishing with a birdie on No. 12 and pars on Nos. 13 and 14.

"When I chipped in for birdie on No. 12 after having an unlucky second shot was when I felt like I had it," Eldred said. "I was 4-up at that point. That's when I was like, 'OK, it's kind of in the cards for me today.' I just had to hold on."

Eldred felt the nerves standing on the 14th tee box, knowing she needed to win one more hole to climb the mountaintop.

"I never play No. 14 well," Eldred said. "Was just trying to get through that tee shot and let the rest play out."

Herzog played some of the best golf out of anybody in the Women's Division much of the week. After beating Alexandria's Cora Larson 1-up in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Herzog cruised by Lauren Contreras 7-6 in the semifinal round.

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"I've played Maddie many times," Eldred said. "We played against each other about a month ago at the (Minnesota Women's State Match Play Championship), so I know her game very well. I knew I just had to play steady like I've been playing all week. I wanted to treat it like any other match out there."

When the dust settled, Eldred was showered in adulation by her family, friends and AGC members who came out to watch her play.

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Madison Herzog hits an approach shot from the No. 9 fairway on Aug. 7, 2021. Herzog fell to Alayna Eldred by a final of 5-4 in the Women's Championship Division final. (Jared Rubado / Alexandria Echo Press)

"The members out here are incredible," Eldred said. "I work out here, and I've been part of the staff for six years now. I've gotten to know a lot of the members very well. I was seeing them every other hole or so, and they kept saying, 'Let's go, Alayna. You can do it.' To win in front of them and knowing they were all rooting for me this week is really special. It extends far beyond my family and friends that were here with me too."

In the years between championships, Eldred learned many lessons about the game and herself. Seeing how much she's grown is what made Saturday's win emotional.

"I've had the 100th Resorters circled for a long time," Eldred said. "I just really wanted to do it again in the 100th year. All of those close losses over the years taught me so much about myself and about my game. It just made me hungry for this one. This is huge for me. This is by far the biggest win I've ever had."

Related Topics: GOLF
Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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