‘Good to be back home’

It’s been four years since the Minot High girls golf team hosted a tournament at Souris Valley Golf Course.

On Tuesday, the Minot Invite returned to its home course after three years at Roughrider Golf Course on the Minot Air Force Base. The Majettes are still getting used to the 6,759-yard, par-72 course, finishing fourth with a team score of 365.

“It’s terrific to be back at Souris Valley,” Minot coach Scott Foltz said. “We haven’t had a tournament here since 2010. It’s good to be back home. It’s our home course. The girls have played here, but they haven’t played competitively. The course is a different beast when you’re playing competitively.”

Sophomore Paige Argent led the Majettes with an 82 and finished third in the individual portion of the eight-team event. Playing in her first competitive round at Souris Valley, Argent parred the opening hole and played the front nine 4-over. She carded her lone birdie on the par-3 eighth.

“I just went out with confidence because I knew I had played this course a thousand times in practice, so I knew what to do and I just took my time and it ended up going exactly how I wanted it to go,” Argent said. “I was definitely proud of myself and it just shows that working hard definitely pays off.”

Said Foltz: “She had an outstanding day. I don’t think she’s found her low score yet this season. She was driving the ball well and she was putting the ball well. She has a little bit of work to do in between, but a good day for Paige. She’s worked so hard the last several months to get her game to where it’s at.”

The only Minot golfer who’s played a competitive round of golf at Souris Valley is senior McKinley Bender, who posted an 88 and finished in a three-way tie for sixth. She got off to a rough start, double-bogeying the par-4 first and the par-4 third on her way to an 11-over front nine.

The opening nine holes didn’t rattle her down the stretch as she played the final five holes 1-over par. In between bogeys on 14 and 18, Bender parred 15 and 16 and birdied the par-3 17th. She finished with two birdies on the day.

“Today, I guess I didn’t have my best round, but I just kept fighting through it,” Bender said. “All day I just struggled with my short game, but I guess I was able to pull through the last couple of holes, which I was satisfied with.”

Sophomore Makensy Arlien (91) and freshman Marley Foltz (104) rounded out Minot’s scoring. Arlien recorded two birdies and Foltz had one.

“Our team performed well today,” Scott Foltz said. “There were a few players that had to grind it out. I don’t think we had, with the exception of Paige, everybody on their ‘A’ game, but they grinded out some good scores.”

If there was one team as happy as Minot to be playing at Souris Valley it was Jamestown. The Blue Jays took the team title with a score of 351, five shots clear of Century and nine better than Bismarck.

Jamestown also produced the individual medalist. Sierra Bennion defeated Bismarck’s Katie Kasper in a one-hole playoff to sweep the honors for the Blue Jays. Bennion forced a playoff with a birdie on 18 and won it with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Bennion and Kasper both finished 2-under par, 12 strokes clear of the field.

“They’ve got a terrific number one player, who everybody else is automatically down 10 or 12 strokes,” Scott Foltz said of Jamestown. “Bennion is an outstanding golfer and there’s only one team in the conference that has a match for her, so you’re starting behind the 8-ball right away.”

The Majettes tee off in the Turtle Mountain Invite in Dunseith on Aug. 28.

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.