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Prep girls golf: Northwestern caps season with sectional tournament at Hidden Greens

The Tigers didn’t advance to the state tournament, but the team “improved greatly” over the course of the season, according to coach Gabby Gidley.

Northwestern girls host sectional tournament at Hidden Greens North.
Northwestern senior Reese Smith tees off during the sectional tournament Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at Hidden Greens North Golf Course in Solon Springs.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune
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SOLON SPRINGS — It was a tough start for Northwestern’s Kathryn Kyle at the Wisconsin Division 2 Sectional tournament Monday at Hidden Greens North Golf Course.

The Tigers’ senior pulled her opening tee shot into the woods and the resulting lie took her three shots, including a penalty stroke, to get back on the fairway.

The warm, at times sunny, weather was punctuated occasionally by blustery wind and the Northwestern golfers were facing a relatively unfamiliar course, despite the fact they hosted the event. The Tigers' home course is Botten’s Green Acres Golf Course in Lake Nebagamon, but WIAA rules require tournament courses be 18 holes and Botten’s has just nine.

Northwestern girls host sectional tournament at Hidden Greens North.
Northwestern's Kathryn Kyle swings during the WIAA Division 2 Sectional tournament Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at Hidden Greens Golf Course in Solon Springs.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune

Northwestern coach Gabby Gidley said the different course, one the team played only once this season, could have an effect, as well as walking 18 holes.

“With 18 holes later on in the school year, sometimes they can get fatigued,” Gidley said. “Plus, there’s a couple of different local rules and penalties here that they weren't used to, but overall, I think they battled the hazards well.”

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Kyle’s 101 29-over par in the round was good enough for 22nd place, the top finish of any Northwestern golfer. Kyle said she struggled early, but recovered and played much better on the back nine of the course.

“Usually for me, the back nine goes better than the front because I’m loosened up and more comfortable with my clubs,” Kyle said. “It’s also my senior season and I was expecting this to be my last match, so I think that got in my head a little bit on the front. I need to get out of my own head and stop thinking about all that kind of stuff and just focus on my golf game.”

Northwestern girls host sectional tournament at Hidden Greens North.
Northwestern's Maya Siddiqui hits from the fairway of the ninth hole at the WIAA Division 2 Sectional golf tournament Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at Hidden Greens Golf Course in Solon Springs.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune

The late-season golf and cool temperatures over the weekend also created another challenge — leaves on the greens.

“We were surrounded by many trees, so there were a lot of leaves on the green, which sometimes you were not able to fully clear out,” Kyle said. “That affects where the ball goes a little bit and just trying to play around those hazards added a challenge today.”

Prescott senior and Wisconsin-bound Ava Salay shot a 1-over par 73 to win the event and Colfax/Elk Mound’s Belle Kongshaug finished second with an 18-hole score of 80. Prescott took the team title with a total score of 331 and Altoona/Regis claimed the second spot at the state tournament with a team score of 368. Kongshaug, Ava Pesha of Somerset and Alyson Reier of Hayward were the individual state qualifiers.

Northwestern girls host sectional tournament at Hidden Greens North.
Northwestern senior Reese Smith lines up a putt during the Wisconsin Division 2 Sectional golf tournament Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at Hidden Greens Golf Course in Solon Springs.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune

In addition to Kyle, Northwestern's Reese Smith finished 35th with a score of 109 and Maya Siddiqui was 38th with a score of 114. Freshman Reagan Eberhardt finished in 45th place and Anneke Hoegen was 47th.

Despite not advancing to state, Gidley and co-head coach Emily Lind were happy with the girls' progress over the season in their first year guiding the Northwestern program.

Northwestern girls host sectional tournament at Hidden Greens North.
Northwestern's Reagan Eberhardt chips up onto the green of the second hole at the WIAA Division 2 Sectional Tournament Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at Hidden Greens North Golf Course in Solon Springs.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune

“They worked really hard this entire year and they came together as a team,” Gidley said. “The seniors really helped with the younger girls, which helped the overall team game. Some of our girls went from shooting in the 140s to the 110s, which was amazing. To have that growth from our first invite this year to our invite at sectionals was a huge accomplishment to see.”

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Northwestern girls host sectional tournament at Hidden Greens North.
Northwestern senior Kathryn Kyle watches her shot on the fifth hole during the WIAA Division 2 Sectional tournament Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at Hidden Greens North Golf Course in Solon Springs.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune
More from Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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