Resorters: Veterans vying for a title, Contreras tries to continue her run against Resorters regulars
Women's Championship match play recap.
Lauren Contreras is a little more than a month removed from leading the Maple Grove girls golf team to a second-place finish at the state tournament.
She shot a 153 over the course of her two rounds at the Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids. Since then, she’s worked hard on her game this summer. It resulted in a state amateur appearance in late July and the Minnesota Golf Association’s Women’s Match Play Championship at Dellwood Country Club.
The Resorters is one of the last events she’ll play before heading to the University of St. Thomas for her freshman year in golf and school. She’s making the most of this opportunity as the youngest player left standing in the Women’s Division.
“We played pretty well today playing with the wind. It was a bit trickier, but I was able to flight the ball down and go at some pins,” Contreras said. “My putting really helped me out today.”
Contreras is in her fourth year playing at the Resorters, and this is her furthest run in the Women’s Division. The three others joining her on the first tee box at 12:30 Friday afternoon with a spot in the finals on the line are all either current or former college players.
Ale Heinen, a former player and now coach at Wichita State, secured her spot in the semis as she goes for a second straight championship.
Madison Herzog (North Dakota State) and Alayna Eldred (Ferris State) also secured their spots as Herzog goes for her first Women’s title, and Eldred will try to capture her second.
Here is a closer look at how all four got here.
Herzog def. Larson, 19 holes
Cora Larson will be a senior at Alexandria Area High School, and she proved to be quite a challenge for a couple of older players through two matches in the Women’s Division this week.
Larson beat top-seeded Samantha Sommers, a former player at the University of Minnesota, in her opening match on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, she rallied with a furious back nine to force a playoff before Detroit Lakes native Madison Herzog won on the 19th hole.
Herzog led by four after a birdie win at No. 10. That’s when Larson made her move as she won holes 12, 13 and 14 before Herzog got one back with a par win at 15.
Larson needed some late magic, and she got it with a birdie win at 16 and a par win at the par-3 17th. That tied things up, and Herzog and Larson both parred 18 before Herzog brushed aside Larson’s rally on the first playoff hole to secure the win.
Herzog finished second in 2019. She will face Lauren Contreras for the first time on Friday.
Contreras def. Elise Stockmoe, 6-5
Contreras shot an even-par 37 on the front against Alexandria’s Elise Stockmoe in the quarterfinals, and that’s what led her to the 6-5 win.
She won No. 2 with a birdie before par wins at 3, 4, 6 and 9. That took her to the turn at 5-up. Her par win at 13 ended the match with five holes to spare.
“I’m feeling pretty confident about my game right now,” Contreras said. “I’ve been able to hit the ball well. My putting and chipping has especially saved me out on this course with the greens playing super hard and fast. I’m excited to see what’s next in this next match.”
Contreras said she has worked on her short game a lot this summer, and she’s been excited to see that pay off.
Family friends who play the Resorters drew her to this tournament in recent years, and she’s enjoyed this week ever since. It’s been good competition for her as a high school player at Maple Grove. Now she’s looking to play some more good golf to springboard her into her career at St. Thomas in a few weeks.
“I want to make it as far as possible,” Contreras said. “I want to put up a good fight in my next match. I’m just taking it match-by-match, so we’ll see how (Friday) goes. Go out on the course and play the best I can.”
Heinen def. O’Donnell, 5-4
Ale Heinen got a birdie win at No. 1 in her match against Avery O’Donnell, but she ran into a little trouble on hole four. A double bogey there gave O’Donnell a 1-up lead, but Heinen’s experience showed as she immediately regained control to win 5-4.
Heinen birdied Nos. 5 and 6 before a par win at 7 moved her to 2-up. An eagle on 9 gave her a bunch of momentum and helped her work around a birdie win for O’Donnell at 10.
Heinen has proven over the years at this tournament that she does not give many matches away, and that wasn’t going to happen on Thursday. She won holes 12, 13 and 14 by going par, bogey, par to secure her spot in the semifinals.
Eldred def. Boraas, 5-4
Osakis native Alayna Eldred matched up with Heinen in the division championship last summer, and these two will square off again after Eldred beat Alexandria’s Hannah Boraas 5-4 Thursday.
It was a flurry on the back nine that did it for Eldred. She was 1-up at the turn, but she shot 2-under through the first five holes on the back. A birdie on 11 jumpstarted a string of four straight wins that was highlighted with a birdie on the par-5 14th to end it.
Boraas, last year’s Junior 13-15 Division champion who was in her first year in the Women’s Division, got her two wins on the day at 2 and 8. Both of those came with pars.