FHS girls 7th after Day 1; Weber tied for 6th

JORDAN – Fairmont girls golf mentor Ron Kallheim added his team’s top four scores after the completion of Tuesday’s opening round of the Class AA state meet in Jordan, and then recalculated the Cardinals’ numbers two more times.

“A 379. No, wait a minute. Yep, 379,” said Kallheim. “I’m ecstatic with our score after the first day. We shot much better than we did last year, despite Lizzie (Larson) having a sore back.”

Larson, Fairmont’s leading scorer throughout the current campaign, fought through the pain and still managed to break the century mark with a 43-53-96 to place third on the Cardinals behind fellow seniors Megan Rosol and Elizabeth Kim.

Rosol, who holds the team’s No. 2 scoring clip, carded a solid 42-47-89 to earn a share of 44th place overall in guiding Fairmont to a two-stroke lead – 379-381 – over Hibbing for seventh place in the Class AA team standings after one round in the books.

The sure-and-steady Rosol recorded a team-best seven pars on her round, while utilizing 36 putts. Larson sank six par putts en route to a total of 31 on the day.

Elizabeth Kim delivered one of the lowest rounds of her stellar prep golf career by penciling in a 44-48-92 to net a tie for 54th overall to add scoring punch to the Cardinals’ Day 1 effort.

Elizabeth Kim matched Larson with a co-team-low 31 putts to complement two pars on her round.

“It’s the two big dogs battling it out for the team championship now,” Kallheim said in revered reference to defending state champion Detroit Lakes, who holds a 19-shot lead (297-316) over 2012 runner-up Minnewaska Area halfway through the two-day state tournament at the Ridges @ Sand Creek course.

Detroit Lakes junior Natalie Roth fired an incredible 2-under par 70 on Tuesday to hold a two-shot edge over freshman teammate Kate Smith for top individual honors.

In fact, Detroit Lakes’ top four golfers all placed in the top 10 after Day 1, while its next two players broke the top 25. Trisa Hutchinson tallied a 77 to share the No. 7 spot overall, Sydney Busker holds the No. 10 position with a 78, while Emma Thompson (83) and Matty Tschider (84) placed in ties for 19th and 23rd, respectively.

“I’d be very happy if we matched or went under 379 (today),” said Kallheim.

Sophomore Emily Kim chipped in a 49-53-102 to round out Fairmont’s counting marks on Day 1. Emily Kim, who connected for two pars and 36 putts, held sole possession of 75th place in the individual standings.

Freshmen Cassidy Krusemark and Alyssa Westcott rounded out the Cardinals’ state performance by producing a 54-65-119 and a 65-68-133, respectively.

Krusemark sank three par putts en route to a total of 39, while Westcott used 46 putts on her round.

While Fairmont held the No. 7 spot in the Class AA girls team standings, Cardinal senior Carter Welchlin netted a tie for 64th in the Class AA boys individual competition in Jordan.

Welchlin opened the front side by recording a 3-over par 39 before firing a 43 on the back nine holes for a solid total of 82.

Delano senior Jordan Peters, who placed fourth during the 2012 Class AA state meet, penciled in a 3-under par 34-35-69 to hold a two-shot lead over Marshall junior Matt Bennett (35-36) and Staples-Motley freshman Andrew Israelson 33-38).

Israelson’s score, along with senior teammate Mitch Hagenson’s even-par 72 – tied for fourth overall, fueled Staples-Motley’s five-stroke edge (294-299) over Detroit Lakes after Day 1 of the Class AA state boys team event.

While Welchlin will look to climb the Class AA individual charts today, Martin County West junior phenom Cordell Weber will look to defend his 2012 Class A state individual championship at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker.

Weber, the smooth-swinging left-hander, earned a tie for sixth place overall after signing his scorecard in the clubhouse.

Weber fired a 39 on the front side before tallying a 37 on the back nine holes to finish with a 4-over park 76.

Mille Lacs senior Grant Exsted, who netted sixth overall in 2012, posted incredible back-to-back 34s to close Day 1 atop the Class A individual boys leaderboard with a 68.

Exsted’s round also paced Mille Lacs to a 20-stroke lead – 310-330 – over Legacy Christian Academy in the team competition.

Ironically, both Weber and Welchlin will be paired with fellow conference and sectional players during Day 2’s competition.

Weber hits the White Course in Becker at 7:57 a.m. today in the fourth group consisting of Valley Conference rival Jordan Henry of Madelia, along with Ottertail Central’s Kaleb Thalmann and Badger-Greenbush-Middle River’s Ben Langaas.

Meanwhile, Welchlin will tee off at the 10th hole in Jordan with South Central Conference foe Chris Amsden of St. Peter at 7:39 a.m. today.

Eveleth-Gilbert’s Dane Beise and Albany’s Jordan LeClair round out the foursome.

In the Class AA girls team competition at the Ridges @ Sand Creek, all six Fairmont players will tee off of No. 10 again today. Westcott tees off first for the Cardinals at 12:45 p.m., followed by Krusemark (12:54 p.m.), Emily Kim (1:03 p.m.), Larson (1:12 p.m.), Elizabeth Kim (1:21 p.m.) and Rosol (1:30 p.m.)