Farewell tour

Becca Tschetter braces for final season with Majettes golf

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High senior Becca Tschetter tees off from the third hole at the Vardon Golf Club in a practice round held Monday morning in Minot.

Shanking a shot happens to the best of golfers.

While finding the rough, a sand trap or even the water can feel like a devastating blow, the ability to work out of trouble and overcome those mistakes can turn a burdensome round into a respectable one.

Minot High School senior Becca Tschetter knows this all too well.

Bouncing back from numerous obstacles, both on and off the course, has Tschetter poised for a promising final season with the Majettes golf team and the opportunity to play at the next level.

“I’m really excited to have my commitment made before the start of my senior season,” said Tschetter, who signed to play golf with Grand Canyon University (Division I) this past weekend. “Now that I got that off my chest, I can just worry about my own game and how I need to play this season.”

Alex Eisen/MDN Becca Tschetter holds the flagstick Monday while waiting for her Minot High teammates to finish up their putts at the Vardon Golf Club.

Getting to this point required a long, straight drive and a vastly improved short game. Skills that were honed after countless hours of practice and some sacrifices had to be made along the way.

Teeing off: Making room for golf clubs

Tschetter was a tad late to the North Dakota girls golf scene.

In middle school, volleyball piqued her interest first.

“I realized that I probably had more opportunities with golf,” Tschetter said. “There aren’t many golfers in the world, at least for girls. So, I said, ‘I’m going to take this to the head.’ I live right by the golf course, so why not?”

Determined to “not be bad” at the sport, Tschetter practiced whenever she could and decided to drop volleyball after the seventh grade.

“It sucks when you aren’t very good,” she said.

Her first varsity start on the Majettes golf team came as an eighth-grader, earning the team’s sixth and final spot on a tournament roster.

“You could just see that it was clicking,” MHS girls golf head coach Scott Foltz said. “This is what she loved and this is what she wanted to do. She solidified her spot in ninth grade as a varsity fixture and also won her first tournament in ninth grade.”

Tschetter shot an 81 to earn medalist honors at the 2016 Mandan Invitational. This came after shooting a 109 the week prior at the Links of North Dakota.

Her turnaround round helped the Majettes win the early-season tournament by a single stroke over eventually state champions Bismarck St. Mary’s.

“I was at the golf course every night until 10:00 this whole week,” Tschetter told the Bismarck Tribune after her victory. “I knew this tournament was coming and I knew I had to play well to prove myself.”

During the offseason, Tschetter was traveling south and taking golf lessons from a family friend in Arizona. She wanted to keep improving.

“He really believed in me from a young age,” Tschetter said. “I started to take it seriously in my eighth-grade year. But, I didn’t really start getting consistent until my sophomore year.”

An embarrassing mishap had to happen first.

Out of play:

Disqualified at state

Every shot means something and any mistake made is multiplied when at the state tournament.

All of that pressure was bottled up at the 2016 North Dakota girls golf state tournament when an untimely rainstorm cut the opening day short.

The Majettes, in the moment, got lucky. All of their golfers managed to hurry up and finish their rounds before the rain began.

So, Foltz gathered up his team and the Majettes quickly fled the Prairie West Golf Course in Mandan to regroup for the second and final day.

Then-freshman Tschetter found out shortly after that she had been disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“Just a terrible mistake that happened in the rush of getting off the course before the rain hit,” Foltz said. “I think she learned that she needed to slow down and take her time. Golf isn’t a game of speed.”

As a result of the accidentally mishap, Tschetter — already disqualified — played the second round of the state tournament with a pairing that featured the highest scoring golfers from Day 1.

Having patience was put into practice, as her playing mates continued to rack up multiple strokes over par on each hole.

Lesson learned.

“You have to switch your card before you do hole-by-hole,” Tschetter said. “Now, every time we do hole-by-hole I make sure everyone gets their cards back and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re good.’ It was definitely a learning curve, and tough.”

Up and down:

Placing at state

Two years after the scorecard incident, Tschetter went from being a part of the first group on the course at the state tournament to teeing off with the final pairing on Championship Day in 2018.

Tschetter, a junior, played alongside Century’s Hannah Herbel and West Fargo Sheyenne’s Maggie Manson and was within reach of Minot High’s first individual state championship since Jaime Fundingsland won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995.

However, a few holes slipped away from Tschetter and she ended up finishing third, seven strokes behind Herbel.

The Majettes as a team took second behind Century.

“I have played a lot more, so I know more about myself, my game and the coursees we play,” Tschetter said about her improvement. “I’m able to take more risks now because I can trust my swing and that I’m making the right decisions.”

After getting a taste of what is possible, Tschetter is eyeing up that state championship this season. Her final season. And not just the individual title, Tschetter wants to end Minot High’s 10-year drought and bring home the team championship as well.

“My goal for this season is to place higher than I did last year, so higher than third and hopefully that first place finish,” she said. “But, team wise, I definitely want to win state because that has always been my goal in high school. I really believe in this team, this year.”

The next round:

Future possibilities

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, awaits after high school. The Antelopes started showing interest in Tschetter last summer.

Following an unofficial visit in October 2018, plus a camp and tournament this summer in Arizona, Tschetter received an offer.

“It was good to get a lot of exposure in Arizona,” she said. “That is where I take swing lessons, so they kind of know me from that. And I took third in that tournament, which qualified me for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship.”

The U.S. Girls Junior was played July 22-27 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Tschetter, against some of the best junior golfers in the world, struggled in the spotlight — shooting 31-over-par — but still enjoyed the experience.

“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Tschetter said. “I was fighting a hook the whole week, so it was just hard to play. But, I learned a lot from being there.”

Given Tschetter’s track record, expect a strong bounce back performance as the Majettes’ season gets underway Friday at the Garden Gate Golf Course in Dunseith.

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