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Eldred advances to semis at the Resorters

Osakis' Alayna Eldred reads the green at the No. 10 hole at the Alexandria Golf Club on Aug. 1. Eldred won two matches at the Resorters Tournament last week to advance to the semifinals as continued a busy summer on the course before heading to the University of Minnesota this fall. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Osakis' Alayna Eldred continued her busy summer of golf tournaments last week at the Resorters Tournament in Alexandria as she nears the start of her career at the University of Minnesota with the Gophers.

The Resorters is a week-long match-play event at the Alexandria Golf Club that brings in almost 300 golfers across nine divisions. In the women's field, golfers range from some of the best high school players in the state like state record holder Sophia Yoemans of Red Wing to Division I college athletes like Stephanie Herzog, a University of Iowa player out of Red Wing who won the Resorters title on Saturday by beating her younger sister, Leah, 4-3.

Eldred shot a 78 in her qualifying round on July 30 and went on to advance to the match-play semifinals. It was there that she ran into Stephanie Herzog and fell in a 5-4 final.

Eldred shot 2-under through five with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 against Herzog. Things started to go south from there as five bogeys and a double on 7 opened the door for Herzog to take control.

"I just didn't feel sharp out there today," Eldred said after the match. "I played the first five holes very well, but Stephanie played solid the whole round and made no mistakes."

Eldred cruised in her opening match against Preslee Yoder of Chattanooga, Tenn. in a 5-4 victory on Aug. 1. She doubled holes 4 and 5 but rebounded with birdie wins on Nos. 6 and 7. That moved her to 2-up before a par win by Yoder at 9 got things a little closer at the turn.

Eldred righted the ship over her final five holes after two bogeys and two double bogeys on the front. She parred Nos. 10-14 and took four of those holes as Yoder opened the door a bit by shooting 5-over through their last five holes.

Eldred's biggest win of the tournament came against Detroit Lakes native Madison Herzog. Madison is a soon-to-be Division I player at North Dakota State University who finished eighth at the Class AA state tournament this past spring.

Eldred won that quarterfinals match against her by a 3-2 final. She fell behind by two holes after three but rallied with six straight wins - four of them by par, one by birdie and one by bogey - to take a lead she never relinquished.

"My irons were very good today," Eldred said. "When I had the opportunities, I was hitting good shots. Once I got my driver to go in the fairway, then I was able to capitalize on those opportunities. I was putting pretty well too, so I had a lot of two putts from good distances away."

Eldred put the pressure on Herzog by limiting her mistakes throughout her round. She finished with 11 pars and two birdies.

"I see my game moving in a lot of good directions right now," Eldred said after her match with M. Herzog. "It's kind of hit or miss. Some days it's there for most of the round and then some days it's just not so good. I do see a lot of positive improvements and I like the way I'm moving with my swing."

Making the semifinals last week and beating a player like Herzog was a step in the right direction for the future University of Minnesota golfer.

"I think this week has been a pretty good, positive experience," Eldred said.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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