By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – The Region 4A girls golf championship, originally scheduled to be played in Custer last Thursday, May 23, instead went ‘south for the winter’ and was played at Southern Hills Golf Course in Hot Springs on Friday, May 24, due to an usual late May winter storm that dumped several inches of snow in the higher elevations of the Black Hills area.
Hot Springs won the pre-region meet in Custer on May 14 by 32 strokes, and last week on their home course for the region meet, nearly doubled that margin of victory with a four-person, 18-hole team score of 378. Belle Fourche was a distant second place with 439, followed by St. Thomas More with 450. All three teams however will advance to the State Class “A” Championship in Aberdeen on June 3-4.
Other teams competing at the Region 4A tournament included Custer, Pine Ridge, Red Cloud and Lead-Deadwood.
The Region 4A Medalist honors went to the defending state champion Payson Birkeland from Belle Fourche with an 18-hole score of 83.
The Hot Springs Lady Bison then took the next three individual positions on the awards stand as senior Aryona Watts was just two strokes off the pace with a runner-up round of 85, followed by teammates Madilyn Palo with 92 and junior Jessi Schroeder with 97. St. Thomas More’s Emily Kandolin finished in fifth with a 99.
Hot Springs sisters – senior Malory Olstad and freshman Sydney Olstad – each shot a 104 to round out the team’s remaining scores.
Head Coach Dave Merrill said, that along with the team advancing to the state meet by winning, all five girls also qualified to compete individually at next week’s state meet.
“We are very proud of this team!” added Coach Merrill.