Blue Earth Area's Natali Fellows' chipping woes continued into the State Class A Golf Tournament last week, but did end up recording two birdies.
Fellows ended up tied for 43rd place in her first-ever appearance at the State Tournament. She had a two-day total of 179, shooting 93 on the first day, Tuesday, and followed it up by dropping seven strokes and carding an 86 on Wednesday.
On day one, Fellows found her rhythm with her driver, but struggled with her chipping at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
Some bad mental chipping errors and two penalties led to Fellows shooting an opening round 93, which put her in a tie for 53rd place after day one.
"Natali is very happy to be here," coach Carol Weerts said after the first round. "On day two, her goals are to eliminate penalties and getting up and down more efficiently."
Fellows started her opening round on the back nine. She kicked things off with back to back bogeys on No. 10 and No. 11.
She found trouble on the par 4 12th hole, having to take a penalty in the form of an unplayable lie.
"She hit her tee shot into the woods and had a choice of moving her ball two club lengths, but I suggested she should just go back and hit another ball," Weerts says. "Natali fortunately came away pretty clean with a triple bogey, compared to what it could have been."
Fellows, 5-over through her first three holes, parred three of her next four holes and finished bogey, bogey on No. 17 and No. 18, for a back-side score of 45.
On the front, Fellows started strong until she chipped two times from the greenside rough on No. 1. She ended up with a double-bogey on the same hole she won in a playoff to qualify for the State Tournament.
She parred No. 2 and had to take another unplayable on the par 3 third hole.
"She ended up pulling a wedge into the woods," Weerts says. "Natali took a double-bogey five on that hole."
On the fourth hole, Fellows was on the green in regulation, but ended up three-putting for another bogey.
Fellows then narrowly missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the par 3 fifth and tapped in for par.
Hole No. 6 was another adventure for Fellows.
"She hit her drive right down the middle, leaving about 130 yards into the green," Weerts says. "Her next shot bounced off a tree and ricochet right. Her only shot was to chip out, which couldn't be directed at the green. Again, she had two chips from the greenside and finished with a triple-bogey."
The par 5 seventh hole was yet another hole Fellows struggled with her chipping. Her first two shots put her about 40 yards short of the green, where she mishit another shot, carding a bogey.
She finished the front with a 48.
"If you take away her silly mistakes, she could have posted a better number, but I'm proud of her performance. She did great in her first State Tournament round," Weerts says.
On Wednesday, Fellows improved her total score by seven strokes; she shot 86 (43-43).
"Natali seemed more comfortable and really had great control of her driver all day," Weerts says. "She got her worst hole out of the way at No. 1. Natali had to drop again and finished the hole with a triple-bogey."
Fellows, who hasn't used her 3-wood all year, took the club out of her bag on the par 5 seventh hole.
"She put her second on the green about eight feet away," Weerts adds. "Her eagle putt lipped out, but she tapped in for birdie."
On No. 10, Fellows used her 3-wood again and had success. She two putted for yet another birdie.
"She was happy to jump up 10 spots in the overall standings," Weerts explains. "Natali had the lowest score in the group."
Fellows teed off with some familiar competition on day two of the State Tournament.
Sydney O'Brien (Waseca) and Emily Kim (Fairmont) joined Fellows at their 7:39 a.m. tee time last Wednesday.
"I think that helped Natali play more relaxed because she knew her competitors," Weerts says. "She was just more relaxed playing with those South Central Conference opponents."
Fellows was Weerts first State golfer she has coached.
"I'm thankful that she is so coachable and easy to work with," Weerts says. "We both trust each other and her overall golfing skills are great."
Four of the top six individuals came from Detroit Lakes, as they ran away from the field with their third consecutive team State Championship.
Sophomore Kate Smith (Detroit Lakes) and senior Maggie Heggerston (Pequot Lakes) both shot 1-under 143 and finished tied for the individual State crown.
The victory gave Smith her third consecutive State title.
Final girls team results were: Detroit Lakes 590, Pequot Lakes 648, Red Wing 650, Minnewaska Area 687, Osakis 717, Visitation, Mendota Heights 733, Jordan 738 and Breck School 748.