Golf: Park Rapids golfers contend for state title
Anna Eckmann places 3rd, Mady Maninga ties for 7th at Class AA girls golf tournament
JORDAN – After finishing among the leaders at the Section 8AA tournament, Park Rapids sophomore Anna Eckmann and junior Mady Maninga were looking to finish among the leaders at the state Class AA tournament.
Both achieved their mission by posting top 10 finishes during a weather-shortened state girls golf tournament at Ridges at Sand Creek on Wednesday, June 15.
Eckmann, who was tied for third place with a 79 on the par-72 course playing during humid conditions on Tuesday, carded a 40 during stormy conditions on Day 2 to finish the 27-hole tournament at 119. Perham’s Mallory Belka defended her state title with rounds of 76 and 38 for a 114 while Lake City’s Ella Matzke moved up to second place with rounds of 79 and 38 for a 117.
Maninga shared 12th place after Day 1 with an 84 before moving up the leaderboard to a share of seventh place with a 37 on Day 2 to finish at 121. Tying for fourth place at 120 were Pequot Lakes’ Genevieve Birkeland (80-40), Redwood Valley’s Julian Brown (78-42) and Jordan’s Victoria Woytassek (81-39). Hawley’s Sophie Cook (84-37) tied Maninga at 121. There were 88 golfers in the state Class AA field.
“On Day 1 I got off to a rocky start on the front nine and I knew if I wanted to place well I would have to play a lot better on the back. After I went even on the back I felt very happy with how I did as I had achieved my goal of shooting in the 70s,” said Eckmann. “On Day 2, knowing that we would only be playing 9 holes, definitely changed my mindset. I felt like there was room for improvement on Day 2, especially in my putting. Overall I was very happy with how I performed and getting third place made me feel like all the work had paid off.”
On Day 1, Eckmann opened with a triple-bogey on No. 1 and was 7-over par after four pars led to a 43 on the front side. An eagle on No. 10 turned things around as a birdie on No. 16 and four pars led to a 36 on the back side.
“My eagle on 10 definitely helped me gain momentum going into the back 9 and boosted my confidence in my playing abilities,” said Eckmann. “The birdie was also key in bringing my score down.”
Maninga was 7 over through six holes before a par on No. 7 and a birdie on No. 8 resulted in a 43 on the front. Carding four pars for a 41 on the back moved her into the top 15.
“I think I played well with the weather on the first day,” said Maninga. “The weather conditions were not good at all for golf on the first day. The air was so thick and humid. It was hard to stay hydrated. It took a lot of energy out of me and on Day 2 I was very tired.”
Because of lightning, tee times on Day 2 were pushed back from noon to 4:54 p.m. That resulted in the planned 18 holes being reduced to 9 holes.
Eckmann had five pars while Maninga opened with four pars and a birdie with two more pars as the golfers started play on the back side before the tournament was called after nine holes.
“When we got to the course on Wednesday, the first thing we heard was that there was a lightning delay and that playing time would be pushed back 30 minutes. Little to our knowledge that 30 minutes would turn into around 3 hours of waiting,” said Eckmann. “It really turned Day 2 into a mental challenge and waiting game. Having a shorter tournament definitely felt different, but I tried to not let it affect how I played.”
“I think I could have had an amazing round the second day, but with the weather delay I tried my best to do what I could to climb the leaderboard. After Day 1, I was ready to start the second day even better,” said Maninga, who tied Cook with the lowest round on Day 2. “I wasn’t too upset about it being shortened. You can’t control the weather and it is what it is.”
Lake City won the team title at 491 with Fergus Falls (530) and Pequot Lakes (535) following.
At last year’s state tournament, Eckmann tied for fifth place at 162 with a pair of 81s while Maninga shared 31st place at 180 with rounds of 91 and 89. Eckmann earned a return trip to state as the Section 8AA runner-up with rounds of 83 and 73 while Maninga qualified by placing fourth at the Section 8AA meet with rounds of 83 and 82.
Both will be looking to return to state and continue to move up the leaderboard next spring.
“Playing the course last year helped me a lot because I got into some situations that I wouldn't have known how to get out of unless I had been there before,” said Eckmann. “Next year I am hoping to make it to state again and see if I can improve my score. It would also be amazing if we had a run at state with the team.”
“Having played the course before gave me the ability to be a bit more comfortable and definitely was a bit better than coming in blind,” said Maninga. “I play golf because I love it and it’s fun, but scoring low is a cherry on top. My goal next year is just to play my best and improve my score.”