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A perfect day for golf

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Nine area schools descended on the Cloquet Country Club last Wednesday for a spectacular day of golf in a season that was very slow to start.

Of the area teams involved last week, Hermantown won the boys division with a six-golfer, 18-hole net score of 321, edging Eveleth-Gilbert by six strokes at 327. Duluth East, meanwhile, took the girls pod at 398, followed by Cloquet-Esko at 410. Moose Lake-Willow River boys placed fourth, as well, while Cloquet boys took sixth.

Rebels golf Coach Steve Mokros enjoys the Cloquet Country Club so much that he has been a member at the privately-based course since 1991.

"It's a good event," Mokros said. "Cloquet is one of the better courses in the area."

Despite final results, Mokros explained he likes the event because of the challenge of the course and the timing of the event. He noted "it's a good tune-up" before the Section 7AA meet, which was held Tuesday through Thursday in Grand Rapids (as the Pine Journal went to press).

"It's the perfect week for us," said Mokros of the Invite. "I hope they keep it the same (later in the year)."

According to Cloquet-Esko boys Coach Jon Horbacz, that will be the case, he explained Monday. Horbacz said their only home competition of the year was shifted back because the Section 7AAA meet set for May 31 and June 2 in Hinckley, was also pushed to a later date.

"We're going to keep [the Invite] back," Horbacz said.

Leading the Carlton County boys individually last week was last year’s Class AA state participant, Gabe Douglas. The Moose Lake junior fired a 78, followed by Esko senior Marc Peterson, who put up a 79. Douglas' older brother, senior Grant, carded an 81, while Cloquet's Maxx Brenner and Carter Vork each scored an 84.

On the girls side, Rebel Lindsay Loehlein scored a 96, while Cloquet's Rachel Morrison marked a team-best 99, closely trailed by teammate Emma Lenarz at 101.

Cloquet-Esko girls Coach Sue Northey said the day lasted about five hours and included approximately 90 golfers on a course they very much appreciate.

"It's a good course to experience with a lot of golf scenarios — every hole you play helps build confidence," said Northey, noting her team has only participated in five official competitions this spring. "Playing at home was fun and comfortable."

The Lumberjacks should feel comfortable at sections this weekend, as should the Rebels. Each team has players — both boys and girls — who can control the ball and score low. Horbacz though, kept it simple when explaining how to prepare for postseason golf.

"Take every shot as it comes," said Horbacz. "Stay away from the big numbers."

Lady Bombers break through to State

The Barnum girls put up the numbers last Tuesday and Wednesday when Bombers won the Section 7A girls golf meet in Virginia with a five-player, two-day total of 846, just 11 strokes ahead of defending champion Mille Lacs at 857.

Last year Class A state participant Kelsey Timm shot a two-day 206, along with teammate Brandi Lekander, as the pair placed tied for fourth individually representing a team that hasn't played any events on its home course this season. Fellow state golfer from last year, Jamie Bird, also tallied a 211 (7th place), while Geana Guillard (16th) and Madeline Nelson (19th) also contributed at 227 and 236, respectively.

The Class A state golf meet will be June 10-11 at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Minn.

"This was our ultimate goal, to advance as a team," said Bombers Coach Cullen Franek, in his third year after bringing back a tiny golf program that hadn’t been active the early 1980s. "We just want to go down there and enjoy this experience as a team. Now this is sort of icing on the cake."

"We're really looking forward to it," said Bird. "We'll be working hard the next few weeks."