High school senior golfers get one last chance

With their season wiped out because of the coronavirus pandemic, area prep players tee off at Senior Showcase in Bunker Hills
Karl Chapin of Willmar Community Christian School watches his putt drop at No. 16 during the Benson Invitational on May 15, 2019 at the Benson Golf Club. File photo

COON RAPIDS — It has been nearly a calendar year since the Community Christian boys golf team had its finest achievement.

Coming off a Class A state title, the Eagles were hungry for more, but the opportunity to go back-to-back was torn away from them after the spring sports season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Disappointing is definitely how it will forever be,” CCS senior Karl Chapin said. “I have always dreamed of winning a state championship and when I got the opportunity to do it last year, it was awesome. Having the drive to come back and do it again was rampant, so not being able to finish that ... it’s hard.”
While Chapin won’t have a chance to relive his dream again, he will have an opportunity to put a close to his high school athletic career. The CCS graduate is among 117 participants competing in the Minnesota High School Boys Senior Golf Showcase on Tuesday at Bunker Hills Golf Club. One day later at the same course, nine area girls compete in the Girls Senior Golf Showcase.

Put on by Minnesota PGA Junior Golf, each showcase is a one-day, individual, 18-hole tournament. The lowest score from both the boys and girls events are offered an exemption into a national invitational Aug. 3-5 from the Pinehurst Golf Resort in Pinehurst, N.C.

Chapin is the only male representative from the Tribune area.


“I was very excited,” said Chapin, who hopes to be a walk-on for the Lipscomb University men’s golf team in Tennessee. “I love playing competitive golf and I’m a very competitive person. Having a last opportunity to compete in an event is awesome.”

Members from the defending Class A girls state champions also will be in the field Wednesday. Capturing two of the last three state crowns, BOLD will be represented by Olivia Hanson, Lanie Mages, Makayla Snow and Ashley Trongard.

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Lac qui Parle Valley's Rachel Halvorson won the Class A championship for the second straight year on June 12, 2019 after scoring a two-day total of 160. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“It means a lot to me to be able to do this,” Snow said. “I know we’ve gotten a lot of comments like, ‘Nobody has beaten you, so you guys are still the champs.’ You still have that in your mind, but it’s really cool to be able to have your last meet with these girls one last time. There might be a few tears shed, but it’ll be fun.”

Snow has been working on her putting to prepare for the event. However, when asked what her mindset will be when she’s on the course, Snow says it depends on how her day is going.

“It probably depends on how I’m playing,” she said. “If I’m playing well, maybe I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I want to win this thing.’ But if it starts not going well, then it might get to the point where I’ll just try and enjoy this last meet.”

After winning Class A medalist during her sophomore and junior years and leading Lac qui Parle Valley to the state title in 2018, Rachel Halvorson highlights the girls playing from the area. Set to join the Augustana University women’s golf team in the fall, Halvorson was unable to shoot for a medalist three-peat, but is still excited for the opportunity. She will be joined by fellow LQPV Eagle Izabella Stender.


“It’s not the same because I always play with my team and that’s one of the things I like the most, but it helps a little,” Halvorson said. “It’s something; other sports are getting nothing.”

Unlike most of the area players who haven’t played in a competitive meet since last season, Halvorson has had the chance to shake the rust off. The future Viking played in a senior event this past Sunday at the Geneva Golf Club in Alexandria.

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BOLD's Lanie Mages watches her ball inch towards the hole on No. 9 at Eagle Creek Golf Club during the Willmar Invitational on April 22, 2019. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Like the rest of the area players, Halvorson has never played at Bunker Hill. Still, she thinks the course may suit her game.

“I don’t really know that much about the course to be honest, but I guess there (are) a lot of bunkers there,” Halvorson said. “I’m a pretty good sand player, I'd like to think. That doesn’t bother me too much, so (the course) will probably fit me pretty well.”

Minnesota PGA Junior Golf will conduct the event in accordance with state executive orders put in place by Gov. Tim Walz.

Among the many guidelines, players will be asked to use social distancing. When putting, players will not be allowed to remove the pin from the hole. There will be no spectators allowed and players will have just a brief time to warm-up before their tee time.


“It’s going to be very interesting,” Willmar senior Abigail Mathiasen said. “You can only warm up 30 minutes before your tee time. Also, waiting in your car, it’s going to be so different.”

Mathiasen has been practicing her game at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Willmar and taking lessons from course pro Joe Wisocki. She says she’s eager to see how the work she’s put in translates and is looking forward to meeting other girls from the state.

“I took my final lesson the other day and I worked on my drive,” Mathiasen said. “That was one thing I really wanted to get down before the tournament.

“I think it will be really cool to hear other seniors’ stories. I was looking at the girls I’m playing with and they are from two different towns. I’ve never heard of them before so it will be really cool to hear how their senior year went versus how my senior year went.”

Senior Showcase
Girls area participants

Here is a list of area players teeing off Wednesday in a Minnesota PGA Junior event at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids:

  • Minnewaska/Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa: Jacqueline Gossen, Greta Reichmann

  • BOLD: Olivia Hanson, Lanie Mages, Makayla Snow, Ashley Trongard

  • Lac qui Parle Valley: Rachel Halvorson, Izabella Stender

  • Willmar: Abigail Mathiasen

Boys area participant

Here is a list of the area player teeing off Tuesday in a Minnesota PGA Junior event at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids:

Community Christian (Willmar): Karl Chapin


042520S.WCT.LQPV Halvorson.jpg
Lac qui Parle Valley's Rachel Halvorson won the Class A championship for the second straight year on June 12, 2019 after scoring a two-day total of 160. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

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