Majettes golf striving for podium finish at state tourney

Alex Eisen/MDN Majettes sophomore and West Region All-Conference golfer Jaci Jones watches her putt during the Minot Invite held earlier this season at the Vardon Golf Course.

The expectation from the start of the season hasn’t changed.

Despite an up-and-down campaign, a podium placing remains the objective for the Minot High girls golf team at the two-day state tournament starting today at the Kings Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks.

“A Top 3 finish for us is a state title,” MHS coach Scott Foltz said. “I’d also love to see one of the kids get on the All-State team.”

A successful tournament, however, comes down to controlling what’s controllable.

“I don’t want to beat ourselves,” Foltz said. “If somebody is going to beat us, then I want them to have to shoot a good score to do so. The last three tournaments, we have just beaten ourselves so badly. We took ourselves out of the tournaments. Hopefully, we can right that ship.”

In a season that started with a fifth-place finish in Dunseith and provided another fifth place at the West Region tournament last week in Dickinson, it’s the results in the middle of the season that Minot is trying to replicate over the next two days.

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 8, the Majettes rattled off four consecutive Top 3 finishes: Williston Invite, Dickinson Invite, Minot Invite and Century Invite.

“We have to rediscover our game,” Foltz said. “Our scores have been ballooning the last three tournaments. We just need to regain our confidence. I think if we come out of the gate with a couple of good scores — each kid needs a couple of pars to start with today — and that will do amazing things for their confidence.”

Minot, last year’s regular season West Region champions, won five tournaments in a row last season. But, they settled for a third place at the state tournament.

Returning to state from that squad is senior Marley Foltz, and sophomores Jaci Jones and Becca Tschetter.

Marley Foltz is Minot’s only medalist this season. She shot a 75 to top Bismarck St. Mary’s Tonya Dvorak (76) and Bismarck Century’s Leah Herbel (77) at the Century Invite on Sept. 8.

“Her strength is her putting game,” Marley’s father, Scott Foltz said. “And her second shot, following the tee shot, is probably one of the best on the team. She is going to be around the green after her second shot about 90 percent of the time.”

Marley Foltz tied for third at the West Region Tournament last week to make the WDA All-Tournament team. However, her season stroke average of 86 shots per round is only third-best on the team.

Jones (85) and Tschetter (85.8) have both put together slightly more consistent seasons.

Jones made the regular season West Region All-Conference team and was Minot’s best finisher a team-high four times in the nine tournaments played this season.

“Jaci (Jones) is easily the kid that puts in the most time for her game,” Scott Foltz said. “She is a streaky golfer. Not just by the week, but even by the round. She will rattle off 4-5 pars in a row, have a couple of blow-up holes, but then rattle off six more pars. I’m pretty sure she leads the team in birdies this year.”

As for Tschetter, she is looking to make up for a freshman blunder last season when she signed an incorrect scorecard on the first day of the state tournament and had her round disqualified.

The simple mistake is now a cautionary tale for the whole team.

“We will definitely talk about the administration side of the game,” Scott Foltz said. “Last season, we didn’t have to use that score on the first day. So, it didn’t hurt the team score. But, this year, we have six golfers and we might need any one of them. We can’t have anybody taking their score out.”

Tschetter’s best round this season was at the Minot Invite when she shot a 76 to place second behind Dvorak by a stroke.

Dvorak and her teammate, the defending state tournament medalist, Sydney Smith are the only two golfers to be medalists twice this season in the West Region. Therefore, making it somewhat easier to comprehend how the defending state champion Saints have claimed seven tournament victories this year en route to the regular season West Region title.

St. Mary’s, West Region Tournament winners Bismarck Century and hosts Grand Forks Red River are being dubbed as the top contenders at state.

“At the beginning of the season, I would have handed it to St. Mary’s,” Scott Foltz said. “But, Century has really come on strong. And you can’t write off Red River. I mean they have taken second in one tournament the last two years, and that was in the state tournament last year. They have won everything (else)… And it’s on their home course. So, I think you have to give Morgan Hetletved the heads up for the medalist, most likely, because it’s her home.”

Rounding out Minot’s final three varsity spots this season have been junior Joelle Fettig, freshman Bella Dobrinski and combination of freshman Sydney Berg, sophomore Camille Cook and one appearance by freshman Taryn Trueblood.

The No. 6 spot for the state tournament belongs to Berg.

“She has had to battle all season,” Scott Foltz said about Berg. “That sixth spot has been up for grabs. She has a lot of tenacity and is a gutsy player.”

As for Dobrinski, Scott Foltz added: “She has developed a nice short game around the green. When her longer clubs catch up, she is going to be a pretty solid golfer.”

Given that the course has some wider fairways, Scott Foltz is hoping for a solid outing from Fettig.

“She is one of those kids that is hot-and-cold,” he said. “If she is finding the fairway, then she is going to have a very good day. This course sets up nicely for her. But, her tee shots have to come around.”

The Majettes will be paired up Jamestown and Wahpeton golfers on Day 1. Tee times for Minot are Berg at 9 a.m., Dobrinski at 9:08 a.m., Fettig at 9:16 a.m., Tschetter at 9:24 a.m., Jones at 9:32 a.m. and Foltz at 9:40 a.m.

Live scoring by iWanamaker can found at ndhsaanow.com/1718-a-girls-golf-state.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.