Minnesota Golf Association

A Birdie at 36th Hole Gives Yoemans Third State Individual Title, Secures Team Title For Red Wing

June 13, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  JORDAN, Minn. – When Red Wing senior Sophia Yoemans hit her birdie putt from 15 feet on the final hole Wednesday, she immediately started walking after it thinking she had pulled it wide to the left, leaving herself a tap-in for par. Instead, her ball broke to the right and fell into the cup, giving Yoemans not only her third consecutive state individual title, but the Wingers’ sixth team championship in school history.
And while Yoemans earned medalist honors by shooting back-to-back rounds of 69 at Ridges at Sand Creek, claiming a seven-stroke victory over teammate Leah Herzog, Red Wing eliminated a nine-stroke deficit on the back nine alone Wednesday to edge Minnewaska-Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa by one stroke, claiming its second Class AA team title since 2015.
“Obviously we’ve got that one-two punch,” Red Wing head coach Mark Herzog said Wednesday, referring to the state’s top two golfers in Herzog and Yoemans. “They’re steady and I knew it was a long shot, but last night I told the team we’re going to finish the final round, jump in the pond, we’ll take pictures and then caravan back to Red Wing and have dinner with your parents and have a good time.
“Leah might’ve had the best high school season in the history of Minnesota—she ended up [40-under par] for the season and Sophia ended up 33-under for the year, maybe the second best. Sophia might’ve had one of the best careers in the history of Minnesota because she won at both [Class AA and Class AAA].”
In 2015 Yoemans and Leah Herzog were only eighth graders when Red Wing last won the Class AA team title, slipping past a strong, Kate Smith led Detroit Lakes team who was the three-time defending champion. Red Wing moved up a class the following season and Yoemans claimed the Class AAA individual title as a sophomore in 2017.
Red Wing moved back down to Class AA in 2018 where Yoemans shattered a state tournament record with a 9-under 63 during the opening round on her way to her second straight individual title as the only golfer in state history to win individual titles in two different classes.
“We got off to a good start today—Leah was 3-under through 11 and Sophia was 1-under through 11 and we made up some ground on the other girls,” Herzog said. “Then our other girls played really well on the back nine, which usually eats us up. I was shocked.
“Late in the round every shot is big, but Leah made an 8-footer for bogey on 15 and then made a 6-footer for par on 17 and Sophia makes her putt from 15 feet on 18, and it was fast. Those three putts right there on the last few holes were big, no question.”
While Yoemans and Leah Herzog are extremely competitive on the course, they’ve managed to remain best friends off of the course, a challenge many can’t understand.
“To keep the friendship they’ve had through all of this is really hard—adults couldn’t do it and these are two 17 or 18-year-olds,” Herzog explained. “They want to win and when they tee it up, they know one is going to win and one is going to lose. You have to process that and come back in the van 15 minutes later and be a good teammate. I can’t express how hard it is when they have the same goals.
“This week worked out really well in one sense. Leah won Ms. Golf, and she deserved it because she had a tremendous year. Sophia played better at the state tournament and won her third in a row and our team won by one. It worked out great; I really can’t put it into words other than I’m really at peace and satisfied.”
Yoemans, who will attend the University of Missouri this fall to play golf, maintained her usual laid-back and casual swagger through the entire final round of her impressive high school career, rolling in a pair of birdies with one bogey on her front nine before tallying two more birdies on the back, including her dramatic final shot on the 18th to seal both the individual and team titles.
“The team win was definitely more important and I wouldn’t have cared if Leah beat me today as long as one of us won,” Yoemans said. “I’m happy that I won, but I’m more excited about the team win for sure. We had a super fun team and our number three through six have been working really hard this year—they deserved to win.
“I was just trying to enjoy my sixth state tournament and last high school round. I was playing with my friend [Detroit Lakes junior Anna Cihak] and it was really fun. I got the tiniest bit nervous on the first tee today, but there’s really no pressure. I’m already going to college and I’m done with high school.”
Herzog, who was ranked No. 1 by the Minnesota Golf Association for a majority of the year, will begin her freshman season at the University of Nebraska later this year riding a newfound level of confidence capped off by winning the award for the state’s best senior golfer Sunday.
“I’m really happy with how I played this year—I didn’t really expect it because I thought I played pretty well last year. Something clicked and I was hitting the ball really well this year and my short game was good. Working hard out there has really made a difference and I think I have more of a positive outlook and it showed me that I’m ready for college and ready to compete at a higher level. I’ve had more confidence this year than I’ve ever had.
“I didn’t hit the ball that well yesterday and kind of grinded and managed to get a good score out of that round,” Herzog said of the start to the tournament Tuesday. “Today I came back and hit the ball so much better.”
Realizing her high school career was drawing to a close late Wednesday, Herzog’s emotions came out while walking up the 18th fairway.
“It’s crazy it’s already over and it just kind of hit when we were on the last hole. I’m glad I got to spend it with my dad and coach. That was a special thing.”
Red Wing sophomore Ava Bremseth finished the tournament tied for 35th at 180, while junior Sydney Flack posted a 36-hole score of 183 to finish tied for 41st in a winning effort.
5,136 YARDS, PAR 72
1. Red Wing, 319-327—646
2. Minnewaska-BBE, 313-337—647
3. Detroit Lakes, 325-337—662
4. Jordan, 351-347—698
5. International Falls, 357-378—735
6. Visitation, 376-375—751
7. Albany, 383-390—773
8. Providence Academy, 399-398—797
1. Sophia Yoemans, Red Wing, 69-69—138
2. Leah Herzog, Red Wing, 73-72—145
3. Anna Cihak, Detroit Lakes, 75-77—152
4. Anna Tollefson, LaCrescent, 77-77—154
T5. Ava Wallerich, Lake City, 77-78—155
T5. Bergen Senf, Fairmont, 76-79—155
7. Madi McGinty, Minnewaska-BBE, 78-79—157
8. Shelby Busker, Detroit Lakes, 78-80—158
9. Claire Orcutt, St. Clair-Loyola, 78-81—159
T10. Olivia Peterson, Marshall, 80-81—161
T10. Emily Harste, Minnewaska-BBE, 81-80—161
T10. Taya Kwiatkowski, Eveleth-Gilbert, 81-80—161
T10. Jacqueline Gossen, Minnewaska-BBE, 73-88—161
For complete tournament results go to: 


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