Courses at Class 3A golf tournaments face a tough task starting Tuesday: toppling the reigning state champions.
In the girls’ case, the last two champions come from the same household: Simley’s sophomore Reese McCauley won last season, and her older sister, senior Isabella McCauley, was a medalist in 2019. Isabella didn’t not played in the state tournament a year. because she was busy becoming the youngest girl in state history to compete in the US Women’s Open. The state tournament did not take place two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Isabella McCauley is also Ms. Minnesota Golf for 2022, after receiving the honor Sunday at Windsong Farm.
The two-day tournament begins Tuesday at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. The final round will be played on Wednesday.
The Simley sisters are intimidating, said Chanhassen senior Madi Hicks.
“The McCauleys are amazing,” she said. “They are not only among the best in the Midwest, but also in the country. They are world-class golfers.”
Isabella McCauley is ranked No. 1 in the state among girls by the Minnesota Golf Association, and Reese McCauley is No. 2.
“I think the defending champions are in the driver’s seat,” Hicks said. “They’re on a pedestal. They’ve been in the spotlight.”
Hicks and juniors Kathryn VanArragon of Blaine and Olivia Salonek of Roseville are most likely to make runs at the McCauleys. VanArragon is ranked third, Hicks fourth and Salonek fifth.
Hicks plans to react to anything the McCauleys and other suitors throw at him.
“For me, it makes no difference whether you’re leading or coming from behind,” Hicks said. “I’ve held both positions. I’ve done well at times and not so well at other times in both positions.”
In the case of the boys, the defending champion and Mr. Minnesota Golf are one: Northfield senior Nate Stevens. Stevens is ranked No. 1 in boys by the MGA.
Farmington junior Kyler Schwamb and two sophomores, Jake Birdwell of Spring Lake Park and Ryan Stendahl of Maple Grove, are also in the running. The MGA has Schwamb ranked second, Birdwell third and Stendahl fifth.
Defending boys’ team state champion Maple Grove was out of the field, getting knocked out by Spring Lake by six shots in the Section 5 tournament. Edina is the favorite. Alexandria is the defending girls champion and favorite to repeat.
The small class tournaments will take place at the same time at Ridges in Sand Creek in Jordan (2A) and at Pebble Creek in Becker (1A).
Three golfers will seek to become State Champions back-to-back – Rylin Petry senior of Fertile-Beltrami (Class 1A boys), Sarah Halvorson senior of Lac qui Parle Valley (Class 1A girls) and Mallory Belka senior of Perham (Class 2A girls) ) – in these tournaments.