Golf team is state tourney bound

Ron Burtz

For the first time in more than a decade the Custer High School girls golfers will play as a team at the State A Tournament on June 7-8. Five Wildcat golfers competed in the Region 8A tourney in Spearfish on Tues., May 18 to qualify as a team for the state tourney.
The last time a Custer team qualified for the state tourney was 2007 when the Wildcats placed ninth at state. That was when coach Haley (Davenport) Uphoff was a high school sophomore golfing for Custer. As reported by the Chronicle at the time, Uphoff’s score of 201 lead the team at the state tourney.
Since then, only individual golfers have qualified from Custer, however, in 2011 the Wildcats qualified four golfers for the state tournament in Vermillion which was enough to earn a team score. They placed 14th. The most recent Wildcat golfer to earn a spot in the state tournament was Kassidy Adam who graduated in 2018.
“The girls set (qualifying as a team) as a goal at the beginning of the season,” said Uphoff. “They worked hard to get there. That was super exciting to see for them.”
“We didn’t have a great day at conference,” noted Uphoff, but she said instead of letting that discourage them, her golfers turned their disappointment into motivation to push a little harder. Four Custer golfers finished in the top 25 of the region to earn medals and three were in the top 20.
Eighth grader Shauna Zacher was one stroke ahead of teammate Lauren Robb to lead the Custer team. Zacher shot a 112 to take ninth place overall in the regional tournament. Freshman Robb’s score of 113 put her in 10th place. Freshman Maddie Meyer shot a 128 to finish 17th overall and MaKenna Allen’s score of 137 put her in the medals as well. Eighth grader Jordan Uphoff was the fifth golfer to make the state-bound team. She had a score of 142.
The Wildcat golfers have traded the top spot in play throughout the season which Uphoff says means they are evenly matched as a team and make up for each other’s off days on the course.
“The girls are great teammates,” said Uphoff. “They’re always encouraging each other, even in practice. They’re always pushing each other to do better but it’s not really a fight for who’s going to be first.”
Three Region 8 teams qualified for next month’s state tournament. Hot Springs was the regional champion with a combined score of 399. St. Thomas More was second with 411 and Custer shot 490 for its third place finish. Five players compete at regions but only the lowest four scores are counted.
The girls will have another chance for competition play before state but Uphoff says she’s a little concerned about keeping the girls motivated and their skills sharp during the gap week before the unusually late state tournament.
On Tuesday they were to travel to Douglas for a nine hole invite and the JV will have one more opportunity to play in competition again at Douglas on Thursday. After that they will have a full 11 days of down time before heading to the state tournament in Spearfish.

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