WILLMAR -- Samantha Sommers said the conditions were just right for her game Monday when the St. Cloud Apollo junior fired off a one-under 72 to win the Willmar Invitational/Central Lakes Conference meet by 11 strokes.
The reigning champion in Class AA piled up four birdies against three bogeys on a course soaked but quite playable after three straight days of rain. The dark sky threatened but never opened up and the foursomes enjoyed mild temperatures in the 50s with little wind. Though their clothes stayed dry, many players finished with soaked feet.
"I liked the weather a lot," said Sommers, who won this event last year. "For me it's easy to be comfortable with my swing. I don't care for it when it's real cold or really warm."
Sommers was followed by Vanessa Dutzi of St. Cloud Tech at 83 and Molly Leland and Michelle King, both at 84, for Alexandria, which posted a 349 to win the invitational by 19 strokes over second-place Sartell.
Willmar took seventh of 15 schools on its home course at Eagle Creek, which was in surprisingly good shape despite the unusual 72 hours of a consistent light rain under heavy overcast skies. Players got a free drop if their ball found standing water.
The Cardinals top shooter was again senior Kelly Myhre who came in at 96. She played in the same foursome as Stacy Brisendine of New London-Spicer, who shot a 98. Jenna Bernhagen, playing No. 2 for Willmar, had her best round of the spring, a 99. Katie Kroona was next for Willmar at 107.
Sommers has been a force in Central Lakes golf since seventh grade when she competed with Willmar's Jenny Norlien for the season title. She won her first CLC championship in eighth grade.
Dutzi has been her main competition this spring. Dutzi is an exchange student from the village of Zeutern, Germany.
"In my country, golf is thought of as a game for old people and the tournaments we do have are all individual," said Dutzi in perfect English. "I love the team competition and I like this course a lot. It was so nice looking out and seeing the pond (Willmar Lake)."
Dutzi shot a 72 to start the season at the Rocori meet.
Alexandria's win with a 349 score brings it to within a point of catching first-place Sartell with five of nine meets complete. Willmar continues to cling to fourth place, but Brainerd and Fergus Falls are not far behind.
Invitational team scoring
(1) Alexandria 349 (2) Sartell 368 (3) Robbinsdale Armstrong 369 (4) Albany 374 (5) St. Cloud Tech 379 (6) Fergus Falls 406 (7) Willmar 413 (8) Brainerd 414 (9) St. Cloud Apollo 415 (10) New London-Spicer 416 (11) Litchfield 419 (12) Rocori 419 (13) Dassel-Cokato 424 (14) Hutchinson 428 (15) Willmar Red 480 (16) Sauk Rapids 510
TOP 10 - (1) Samantha Sommers, SCA, 72 (2) Vanessa Dutzi, SCT, 83 (3) tie, Molly Leland, Alex 84; Michelle King, Alex, 84 (5) Megan Shea, RA, 87 (6) Danielle Gretsch, Alb, 88 (7) Maggie Leland, Alex, 89 (8) tie, Maggie Lanners, Sar, 91; Crystal Poirot, Hut, 91; Gina Kleinschmidt, Alb, 91
LITCHFIELD - Kalli Swanson 100, Katlyn Kiehn 104, Karin Hansen 107, Kristen Solbrack 108
NEW LONDON-SPICER - Stacy Brisendine 98, Courtney Edwards 100, Wendy Toops 103, Jordan Helland 115
WILLMAR - Kelly Myhre 96, Jenna Bernhagen 99, Katie Kroona 107, Sara Damhof 111, Jen Paterson 111, Emily Nelsen 117
WILLMAR RED - Sam Sing 118, Bailie Hendrickson 118, Sana Thompson 122, Jen Ridler 122
Central Lakes team results
(1) Alexandria 349 (2) Sartell 368 (3) St. Cloud Tech 379 (4) Fergus Falls 406 (5) Willmar 413 (6) Brainerd 414 (7) St. Cloud Apollo 415 (8) Rocori 419 (9) Sauk Rapids 510
MEDALIST - (1) Samantha Sommers, SCA, 72
(After 5 meets)
(1) Sartell 42 (2) Alexandria 41 (3) St. Cloud Tech 37 (4) Willmar 24.5 (5) Brainerd 23 (6) Fergus Falls 21.5 (7) St. Cloud Apollo 15 (8) Rocori 14 (9) Sauk Rapids 6
Next conference meet: Monday at Brainerd (Madden's Resort)