Emily St. Aubin didn’t get to be a four-time defending state Class B golf champion without knowing how to grind it out.
But she did get to be Class B girls’ division champion at the 2020 North Dakota Spring Golf Championships on Wednesday by grinding out a four-shot win over Kindred’s Avery Bartels at Riverwood Golf Course.
The tournament was held as a replacement for high school boys and girls whose spring sports season were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
St. Aubin’s 6-over-par 78 left her four shots up on the field, exactly where she was when the day began.
“Down the stretch, I was definitely struggling mentally,” St. Aubin said. “I tried to stay true to myself that whole round.”
And she had a little help when she needed it most. After taking a five-shot lead into the back nine, St. Aubin bogeyed four of the first seven holes while Bartels was shooting even par to climb within two shots with two holes left.
Avery hit the fairway off the tee and St. Aubin sprayed her tee shots right, into the canopy. But a fortunate bounce left her in the fairway from where her approach on the par-4 hole came up about five yards short of the green.
Bartels struggled getting up and down and bogeyed the hole. St. Aubin locked down the title by chipping in for birdie and a two-shot swing.
“Finally, I chipped in for a birdie. If I hadn’t made that, it may have gone over the green or been a long par putt. But I got it done,” St. Aubin said.
St. Aubin’s 78 was two shots back of her 76 on Tuesday. It included a double bogey on the ninth hole. Bartels’ 78 was two shots better than her 80.
There were no lead changes in the tournament. St. Aubin led the whole way, as did Fargo Oak Grove’s Grayson Wetch in Class B and Fargo Shanley’s Jacob Skarperud in Class A.
While they weren’t competing head to head, there were some players looking at the Class A versus Class B debate. In the end, Skarperud’s birdie on the 36th and Wetch’s bogey left Skarperud one shot better.
Skarperud fired back-to-back 72s to finsh even-par 144, while Wetch shot 145. Grand Forks Red River’s Koby Kuenzel shot 73 on Wednesday to finish with a 151.
East players dominated the boys’ races. Western Morton County’s Gehrig Geiss was the top-placing western golfer by taking seventh in Class B boys with a two-day total of 162.
South Heart’s Campbell Clarys (84-82 - 166) was third and Grace Nantt (91-95 - 186) was fourth in Class B girls.
Wetch entered the day with a five-shot lead and 18 holes to play. The only thing likely to keep Wetch from winning the title would be a Jean van de Velde-like meltdown (look it up).
Wetch instead turned in a 1-over-par 73, while all those chasing the Fargo Oak Grove senior-to-be faded away. He should have walked away with an even-par 72 on Wednesday but bogeyed the par-5 ninth (playing as the 18th on day two of the tourney).
“A three-putt. I knew going up 18 I needed to make a par to stay even,” Wetch said. “I three-putted last year on the 18th hole at state. I didn’t putt very well today.”
But he was steady. Knowing things were wrapped up by the turn, Wetch didn’t even pull a driver out of the bag on the bag nine.
“I didn’t look at the leaderboard, I just stayed in my own little zone and shoot as close to par as possible,” “Wetch said. “I did play cautious.”
Kindred’s Mark Olson was second with a 74 on Wednesday and a two-day total of 152.
The top 10 players in each class earned all-state honors.
Class A Boys
Jacob Skarperud, Shanley (72-72) E
Koby Kuenzel, Red River (78-73) 151
Zach Hinschberger, Red River (77-75) 152
Max Karnik, Davies (77-64) 152
Brandon McGarry, GF Central (79-75) 154
Ty Satter, Davies (78-78) 155
Bridger Hansen, Wahpeton (79-77) 156
Saylor Kuenzel, Red River (77-79) 156
Sam Suppes, Davies (78-79) 157
Tryce Halter, Bismarck (83-76) 159
Alex Wilson, St. Mary’s (79-81) 160
Gabe Benson, Davies (81-79) 160
Justin Lamp, Davies (77-84) 161
Zach Teske, West Fargo (79-82) 161
Grant Gardner, Red River (83-79) 162
Gavin Argent, Minot (77-85) 162
Class B Boys
Grayson Wetch, Oak Grove (72-73) 145
Mark Olsin, Kindred, (78-74) 152
Sam Henker, Kindred (77-77) 154
Rory Gentzkow, LaMoure (81-79) 160
Coy Card, Oak Grove (78-82) 160
Paul Olson, Kindred 78-83) 161
Gehrig Geiss, Western Morton (84-78) 162
Jade McCloud, Bottineau (79-84) 163
Champ Hettich, Beulah (84-80) 164
Zach Hendrickson, Our Redeemer’s (81-83) 164
Max McQuillan, Kindred (81-85) 166
Jacob Robb, Heart River (77-91) 168
Cole Fitterer, Dickinson Trinity (84-85) 169
Max Palmer, Bottineu (82-87) 169
Parker Bartels, Kindred (84-86) 170
Zach St. Aubin, South Border (83-87) 170
Class B Girls
Emily St. Aubin, South Border (76-68) 154
Avery Bartels, Kindred (80-78) 158
Ainsley McClain, Grafton (83-79) 162
Campbell Clarys, South Heart (84-82) 166
Grace Nantt, South Heart (91-95) 186
Gracie Tjernlund, Kulm (92-96) 188
Kathleen Vetter, Linton (95-93) 188
Libby Dulmage, Leeds (99-90) 189
Alexis Lamb, Beach (102-88) 190
Erin Kelsch, Linton (91-100) 191
Charli McQuillan, Kindred (95-97) 192
Carlee Sieben, Grafton (103-89) 192
Ashley Schmitt, Napoleon (92-100) 192
Mackenzee Schneider, South Heart (94-99) 193
Charmaine Haas, Napoleon (100-94) 194
Madisen Jarrett, South Heart (94-100) 194