USC girls’ finish 7th

Published 9:50 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ali Wood led the USC girls’ golf team to a seventh place finish Thursday at the Class ‘A’ State Tournament.

Wood shot a 187 for the two-day tournament, part of a team total of 877, four strokes ahead of Mesabi East.

Rain held off until the girls’ team was off the field but strong winds played a factor on the entire round as accuracy was needed to place tee shots on the fairways ridden with bunkers.

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“That was one of the things we were surprised at,” said head coach Randy Halvorson, of the hazards. “The fairways were wide, and that’s an advantage, but if you went left or right you would pay for it.”

Wood and the rest of the Rebels team responded well, hitting many fairways, en route to a 439, one stroke higher than Wednesday’s score.

Also contributing the Rebels’ state tournament appearance were Claire Christian who shot a 214, Erinn Hotzler with a 228, Veronica Schindler with a 248 and Genna Anderson with a 265.

Weather put an early end to the boys’ state tournament, but USC’s Sam Gackstetter was able to get in his entire round before play was called.

Gackstetter shot a 38 before the turn and a 40 on the final nine giving him a tournament total of 159.

The highlight of Gackstetter’s round was his putting as sank a 45-foot birdie putt on hole seven and finished the round with a birdie on 18.

“His putting was really on,” Halvorson said. “He made several par-saving putts.”

Aiding in his putting was Gackstetter’s ability to put his approach shots near the cup. He put himself in great position for birdies throughout the round, resulting in two six foot par-saving putts.

Despite the strong winds, Gackstetter also continued to drive the ball well off the tee. In his foursome, he was often the furthest driven ball and rarely found the rough.

“That was one of the things that really put him into an advantage,” Halvorson said. “He was long and precise.”