Comet junior Claire Girkin makes state girls golf cut
By John Burbridge
MANCHESTER — Too bad there are no backboards in golf.
If you’re better than most, you’ll sometimes kiss it off the flagpole — but these tend to be more of a detriment when they help spit out would-be aces, approach shots and chip-ins for birdie.
While concluding her 18-hole round at Pin Oak Links’ 16th green during Wednesday’s Class 3A Region 4 Girls Golf Tournament, Charles City sophomore Claire Girkin deftly used her putter along the downhill fringe while attempting a 35-foot shot for birdie while putting eyes on the ball.
Girkin’s shot rimmed the hole while brushing up against the pole only to be sent back onto the green on a perpendicular path from which it was sent.
Fortunately, the hole rejection didn’t leave a long putt for Girkin to clean up as she made par on the hole to close out a career-low 92 and earning her an individual berth to the Class 3A Girls Golf State Tournament to take place May 25-26 at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course in Cedar Falls.
Girkin’s score matched West Delaware sophomore Susie Funke and senior Kennedy Klostermann for fifth place among individuals.
The meet’s medalist was Northeast Iowa Conference Meet girls champion and Waverly-Shell Rock junior Brenna Bodensteiner (82). Central DeWitt senior Anna Hurning was runner-up (84), WSR sophomore Mady Mummelthei was third (87), and Central DeWitt junior Marjory Alger (91) placed fourth.
With Central DeWitt and West Delaware topping the field with respective team scores of 366 and 375, Hurning and Alger of CDW qualified with their team.
For Go-Hawks Bodensteiner and Mummelthei, their season goes on despite their team placing 6 shots behind WD in third place.
Charles City placed eighth among the 10 full teams with a team score of 424. With juniors Shelby Effle (100), Alex Wohlers (112) and Olivia Kreger (120) rounding out Charles City’s scoring (424), the Comets shot their lowest 18-hole team score dating back to the 2019 season.
Though Comets Effle, Wohlers, Delaney Ruzicka and Payton Hadley all made the All-NEIC Girls Golf Team by way of placing in the Top 15 at the recent conference tournament, Girkin finished outside the Top 15 and was unable to repeat as an all-conference golfer.
Other than that, Girkin has bounced back considerably from when she injured her shoulder last spring which put an early end to softball season and sidelined her entirely for subsequent volleyball season.
While recovering from shoulder surgery, Girkin returned to high school athletics while bowling left-handed with the Comet girls team. Shortly after Girkin was able to switch back to right-handed, she qualified for state and eventually placed fourth among individuals.
Now she’s a state-qualifier in golf.
* If you like that feel good story, you’ll probably be impressed with what the Nashua-Plainfield girls golf team has achieved lately.
It was only a handful of years ago when the Huskies had only a handful of players on its girls team.
After the dust had lifted from Wednesday’s Class 1A Region 4 Girls Golf Tournament at Lone Pine Country Club in Colesburg, Nashua-Plainfield now has a handful of players set to participate at the Class 1A Girls Tournament, May 25-26 at Cedar Pointe Golf Course in Boone.
In fact, the whole N-P team is going down.
Naturally, sophomore Paige Franzen punched her ticket herself by shooting a medalist score of 80 — eight shots ahead of runner-up Reagan Mulder, a junior from North Butler.
But with sophomore Faith Franzen (109), junior Natalie Sinnwell (110) and senior Autumn Nelson (113) the Huskies’ season-low score of 412, Nashua-Plainfield placed second behind regional champs Easton Valley (395).
The Bearcats placed fifth with Mulder advancing as an individual.
Rockford freshman Danica deBuhr, who advanced to the final round as an individual, placed 10th with a 102.