Jamestown’s Kraft cruises to NDWGA state titleEntering the final day, Laura Kraft wanted to be more consistent and it showed as she mimicked her opening round. The three-time Class A state champ repeated as the North Dakota Women’s Golf Association Stroke Play champion on Friday at the Heart River Golf Course.
By: By Royal McGregor, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Entering the final day, Laura Kraft wanted to be more consistent and it showed as she mimicked her opening round.
The three-time Class A state champ repeated as the North Dakota Women’s Golf Association Stroke Play champion on Friday at the Heart River Golf Course.
“I’m really excited, it’s a great honor,” Kraft said. “There are a lot of good players that come through here.”
The former Blue Jay posted an opening round of 74 on Thursday and posted another 74 on the final day to finish 4 over par for the tournament. Kraft played much better on the back nine (36) Friday but had a little trouble on the front nine (38).
“I think the biggest adjustment that I made when I was out on the golf course was my putting,” said Kraft. “The speed got better and better as the day went on.”
Kraft’s eyes are still set on that Aug. 2 date in Fort Wayne, Ind., where she will be competing in the National PGA Junior Championship. This win should help give the future University of Missouri golfer some momentum.
“There’s definitely momentum in the game of golf,” she said. “Knowing that I’m coming into that tournament playing well is really reassuring.”
Theresa Burns, who posted her best finish since she started playing in this tournament six years ago, knew she didn’t take advantage of the par 5s on day one and needed to pick up the slack on the final day. Burns dropped five strokes to score a 74, which was good enough for second place.
“Other than the last hole, which I bogeyed, the par 5s were much better,” Burns said.
It was a matter of time before the putter came around for Burns and once it happened, her score started to drop.
“The putter was on,” Burns said. “It’s the best it’s been all year. I’ve been close with my putter the last few weeks. The putts finally fell the last two days.”
Burns didn’t take up golf until 14 years ago. Before that, she played basketball at North Dakota State University.
“I didn’t start golfing until I was out of college,” she said. “This is the sport that I want to play from now on and be competitive.”
The Bismarck resident totaled a 153, edging Grand Valley State University golfer Ashley Beard by two strokes. Beard posted the second-best score on day one with a 78 and responded with a 77 on Friday.
“My putting slowly improved,” Beard said. “This course put a lot of pressure on my short game and that’s something I need to improve on.”
Beard knew it was going to be tough to match up with Kraft, but the Williston High School graduate was happy to be playing with a high school friend again.
“I played with Laura (Kraft) in high school and she’s always been a great player,” Beard said. “It’s always fun coming back from college and playing with her. It’s fun to play in this tournament, because it’s not so serious.”
Dickinson Trinity sophomore Rachel Jahner shot her personal best on day one (78), but couldn’t find that same stroke on day two, carding an 86.
“It was a little disappointing, I was hoping to shoot a little better,” Jahner said. “Especially playing in the lead group, but it was a good experience playing in this tournament.
“I just didn’t putt very well. I missed some short putts I should have made. It wasn’t working in the final round.”
The final golfer to place in the championship flight was McKenzie McMillan of Bismarck Century with a two-day total of 157.
The winners from the rest of the flights were Mary Adams winning the first flight with a 184. Cindy Bosch won the second flight (196) and Norine Maier won the third flight (198). Judy Finck posted an impressive 196 to win the fourth flight. Wanda Kick rounded out the field by winning the fifth flight (224).
NDWGA Stroke Play Championship
At Heart River Golf Course
Laura Kraft 74-74–148; Theresa Burns 79-74–153; Ashley Beard 78-77–155; McKenzie McMillan 81-76–157; Rachel Jahner 78-86–164; Katie Nelson 90-84–174; Bonnie Rolle 98-97–195; Marilyn Collins DQ.
Mary Adams 90-94–184; Margaret Kuntz 95-90–185; Ann Williams 91-99–190; Elayne Lindquist 97-96–193; Christy Beck 95-99–194; Carolina Johnston 96-98–194; Diane Knote 95-102–197; Amy Bushaw 107-101–208.
Cindy Bosch 100-96–196; Jere Rogers 99-98–197; Annie Nelson 101-96–197; Marsheila Lickteig 108-90–198; Pam Kolling 96-104–200; Lori Hauf 106-101–207; Martha Kelvay 108-100–208; Sharyl Prescott 111-117–228; Gayle Goetz 111-103–214.
Norine Maier 98-100–198; Ardean Ouellette 105-96–201; Gail Ingwalson 106-100–206; Alana Knittel 107-108–215; Eunice Milne 109-107–216; Greta Lynn Paulson 118-107–225; Anne M. Reisnou 117-114–231.
Judy Finck 93-103–196; Joyce Genson 103-100–203; Joyce Gab 101-112–213; Lois Keator 106-108–214; JoAnn Braddock 109-111–220; Marj Mick 105-124–229; Pam Reichert 114-122–236; Mariann Lang 128-118–246.
Wanda Kick 111-113–224; Donna Wolf 114-115–229; Carol Hintz 124-119–243; Julie Haller 118-127–245; Georgette Dorval 120-128–248; Janene Halverson 127-125–252; Kathie Tooz 129-132–261; Sandi Frenzel 144-139–283.
McGregor is a sports writer at the Dickinson Press