Crookston wins Subsection 8AA North Meet to advance to section tournament
BAGLEY — Tuesday could have gone a lot of different ways for the Crookston girls' golf team.
In a very tight Subsection 8AA North race with a full field of contenders, coach Jeff Perreault thought his Pirates could win Tuesday's subsection meet if everything went right. If everything didn't, a finish as low as fifth was in the cards.
Crookston placed fourth at last Wednesday's Pre-Subsection meet at Twin Pines Golf Course, four strokes behind Hawley. That same finish on that same course Tuesday would have ended the Pirates' team season.
"I think that motivated the girls," Perreault said. "It kind of was a wakeup that we're gonna need to play our best and definitely better than we did."
As a result, the Pirates turned in possibly their best performance of the season when they most needed it.
Crookston defended its subsection title from 2019, posting a score of 375 to finish four strokes ahead of East Grand Forks and Hawley. It was the Pirates' second-best score of the season overall and best score relative to par, at 79 strokes over, and put them through to next week's Section 8AA Tournament in Bemidji.
For the first time this season, the Pirates were led by someone other than senior Joslynn Leach. This time it was sophomore Hannah Brouse, who shot by far the best round of her career with an 85, including nine pars, to finish in second place.
Brouse struggled early in the season, according to Perreault, so Perreault sent her to a junior varsity meet where she could regain some confidence. She carded a 92 there and has consistently shot in the 90s since, but took another step forward on Tuesday.
"She just played phenomenal," Perreault said.
Leach admitted to Perreault that she struggled with her short game, normally a strength of hers, and didn't quite finish with the score she wanted. She still held her own, shooting an 89 which put her in a tie for fourth place.
Sophia Rezac, a senior, finished in 14th with a 98, her third round under 100 this season. Seventh-grader Ava Martin shot a 103 to finish in 21st. Grace Fischer, a sophomore, finished in 27th with a 108. Sophomore Samantha Rezac tied for 35th with a 112.
"All the girls played where I was thinking they should be," Perreault said. "... Sophia Rezac, she was playing pretty well and ran into a string of three bad holes that kind of changed her momentum a bit."
Crookston's familiar with the Subsection 8AA North crown. The Pirates won it in 2018 as well, doing so by 31 strokes.
But while the 2018 win came on the heels of four straight first-place finishes earlier that season, this year's Crookston team hasn't found that same consistency. Tuesday serves as evidence that might be changing.
"We got it done at the right time," Perreault said. "We peaked, we played well and hopefully that will continue into section play."
UP NEXT: The Pirates will compete at the Section 8AA Tournament at Bemidji Town and Country Club June 7-8.
The Pirates have played BTCC twice this season. They shot a 403 to finish tied for eighth at the Bemidji Invitational on April 30, and shot a 396 to take fourth place at the Fosston Invitational on May 12. Perreault hopes to get his team out to Bemidji for another practice round before Monday.
"Town and Country is bunkered well," Perreault said. "The girls are going to find themselves in bunkers. The girls are going to find themselves having shots that aren't going to be able to reach the green because the tree issues. They're going to have to have all the shots in their bag to perform well in Bemidji. It's just a well set-up course. We've struggled with the greens, they're usually quite a bit faster than other places that we play. Getting that speed down is going to be important."
Crookston finished fourth at the section tournament in 2019, which was also held at BTCC, with a score of 757. Dani Boyle was the Pirates' lone qualifier for state, posting a two-day score of 176.
If Crookston were to win the section meet, it would advance to the Class AA State Tournament at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn. June 15-16. If the Pirates don't win, individual Pirates can still qualify for state by placing among the top five players not on the first-place team.
Leach is Crookston's lone golfer with state tournament experience, having finished 59th at state as a freshman in 2018.
- Hannah Brouse 45-40—85 (+11)
- Joslynn Leach 46-43—89 (+15)
- Sophia Rezac 48-50—98 (+24)
- Ava Martin 55-48—103 (+29)
- Grace Fischer 59-49—108 (+34)
- Samantha Rezac 51-61—112 (+38)
- 1. Crookston 375 (+79)*
- 2-T. East Grand Forks 379 (+100)*
- 2-T. Hawley 379 (+100)*
- 4. Park Rapids 385 (+106)
- 5-T. Roseau 400 (+104)
- 5-T. Warroad 400 (+104)
- 7. Thief River Falls 443 (+147)
*-qualified for Section 8AA tournament
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