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Girls Golf: LQPV's Sarah Halvorson making her own name

Eagles junior following older sister's lead as Section 5A medalist

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LQPV junior Sarah Halvorson chips onto the green on hole No. 18 at Eagle Creek Golf Club during Day 2 of the Section 5A championship on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at Willmar. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The Halvorson name has been cemented atop the Section 5A girls golf standings in recent years.

From 2016-19, Lac qui Parle Valley’s Rachel Halvorson was the section medalist in each of those years. During that stretch, Rachel also was the Class A state champion in ‘18 and ‘19, and the Eagles won the team championship in '18.

Now, Sarah Halvorson is getting her time atop the section standings.

A junior on the Eagles’ girls golf squad, Sarah took medalist honors after Day 2 of the 5A championship at Eagle Creek Golf Club with a combined score of 177 (87-90). She finished one stroke ahead of teammate Isabella Jacobs.

“I didn’t have my best front nine (49) but it looked like everyone else was playing really well so I was really happy about that,” Sarah said following her round Wednesday. “I got it together on the back nine (41), so that really helped me.”

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Along with Sarah’s individual accolades, LQPV won its third straight section championship with a combined team score of 752, beating rival Dawson-Boyd by 11 strokes. After Day 1, the Eagles trailed the Blackjacks by four strokes.

“Her first nine holes (on Wednesday) were Sarah’s toughest nine of the year,” said LQPV head coach Kipp Stender. “I think the pressure of being the number one on the team and taking responsibility to gain those four strokes put a little pressure on herself. The back nine, she golfed a lot better.

“She hung in there and that’s what I’m proud of. All the girls did; they didn’t let a hole or two get them down.”

And when the Class A championship gets underway on June 15-16 at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, Sarah and the rest of the Eagles hope to duplicate the overall success from Rachel’s run.

“Sarah will have a shot if she golfs well to compete for a medal at the state tournament,” Stender said. “More importantly, the team, our goal has always been team first and individual second. … It’s been a great team experience this spring and maybe that’s just coming out of COVID and being able to do more.”

Taking on the responsibility of being the No. 1 golfer from her older sister, it took some time for Sarah to get comfortable in that role.

“It was a little intimidating to start with but I got into a rhythm at the beginning-to-mid season,” Sarah said. “I stumbled here (on Wednesday) but I did what needed to be done.”

Stender added, “She seems more relaxed, and she’s a captain so she’s been very positive. She worked hard in the offseason and had a lot of great rounds this year.”

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Sarah’s focus throughout the season was to improve her short game, from around 100 yards and in from the pin.

“It’s a very big advantage just being able to get on those greens and take advantage of those short shots,” Sarah said. “A lot of teams end up adding strokes from that far out. That’s a really good thing we practice almost every day.”

As far as comparing Sarah’s game to Rachel’s, Stender said Sarah has more length in her game but Rachel, who golfs at Augustana University, excelled in the short game. But, Sarah’s putting in the work to close the gap.

“(Rachel) put in a ton of time and hours into it, and Sarah’s starting to do that now,” Stender said. “She’ll get more consistent with more time put in.”

Sarah added, “(Rachel’s) just a bit cleaner all around the edges than I am right now. But it’s always good playing against her. It’s good competition.”

Throughout Wednesday’s round, Rachel was bouncing around the course watching Sarah and her other sister Molly, a seventh-grader.

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LQPV junior Sarah Halvorson takes a shot out of the rough toward the hole on hole No. 8 at Eagle Creek Golf Club during Day 2 of the Section 5A championship meet on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at Willmar. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

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