Kraft earns National PGA bidJamestown High School graduate Laura Kraft’s busy summer has been paying off. The only player to ever win three individual state titles in North Dakota qualified for the National PGA Junior Championship after winning the Minnesota Junior PGA Championship on Tuesday at Marshall Golf Club in Marshall, Minn.
Jamestown High School graduate Laura Kraft’s busy summer has been paying off.
The only player to ever win three individual state titles in North Dakota qualified for the National PGA Junior Championship after winning the Minnesota Junior PGA Championship on Tuesday at Marshall Golf Club in Marshall, Minn.
“I feel really excited to have this opportunity,” said Kraft, who qualified for the National PGA Junior Championships two years ago but missed the cut. “It’s going to be a lot bigger than the tournaments I’ve been playing in this summer, but it’s just a great opportunity to learn from.”
The national tournament is scheduled for Aug. 2-5 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“Two years ago I didn’t make the cut, so I’m just hoping I can learn from that and make the cut this year,” said Kraft, who will be playing at the University of Missouri this fall.
Kraft is in good company when it comes to competitors in the National PGA Junior Championship. Former champions and participants include Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Trevor Immelman, Cristie Kerr, Phil Mickelson, Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods.
“I know that some of the past champions have gone on to do some pretty great things,” said Kraft, who won 20 tournaments throughout her high school career. “I’m hoping that’s in the cards for me, too.”
Kraft punched her ticket to the national tournament after taking an early five-stroke lead after Day 1 at Marshall Golf Club. The North Dakota Class A Girls’ Golf Player of the Year carded a 72 and with her history in big tournaments, the early cushion seemed to all but guarantee the Blue Jay standout a victory. But things got a little interesting down the stretch.
After shooting three-over after 15 holes on Day 2, Kraft birdied No. 16 and No. 18 to fend off a charging Tabitha Kunst, of Duluth East High School. Kraft ended up beating out Kunst by four strokes.
“She had a really great day,” Kraft said of Kunst. “I was really keeping tabs on her.”
Kraft has a busy couple of weeks ahead of her as she plans to participate in the International Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. — which she qualified for by winning the Tri-State Optimist District Junior Golf International qualifier last month — and then she will head straight to Fort Wayne.
“I will be flying directly from Florida to Indiana,” Kraft said. “It will be a tight schedule but I think I will be able to handle it. It’s really exciting to know I have two really big tournaments coming up at the end of the summer.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org