Morgan Krieger is playing her best golf right before sections.

The Pequot Lakes sophomore notched her first career win with an 86 at Wapicada Golf Club.

Her win at Wapicada didn’t feature anything fancy. She shot a consistent 43-43 on each nine for medalist by one shot over St. Cloud Cathedral’s Olivia Beste and Pierz’s Emily Virnig.

“The course was not playing easy that day,” Pequot Lakes head coach Savannah Smith said. “There were probably 30 mph winds on a narrow-looking course. She found the fairway and made some good putts to win.”

Krieger’s confidence coming off her win showed the next day as she and her Patriot teammates played at The Classic at Madden’s. She fired an 82 and had a seven-hole stretch where she went 3-under with back-to-back birdies.

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“I’m starting to feel a little more confident in my game,” she said. “I’m hitting the ball a little better and making some putts helps. Getting the win was cool and a huge boost of confidence heading into The Classic meet.”

She seemed to have a different level of focus according to Smith.

“She has been a really strong leader on our team,” Smith said. “At practice, she’s always showing up a little bit early and always staying a little bit later working on her game. She plays the sport all through the summer and is very dedicated to the sport.”

The Patriots girls golf team is young and even though Krieger is a sophomore they rely on her performance every meet.

“Coming into this year we didn’t have a lot of expectations,” Smith said. “We had a year off last year and didn’t really know how we’d be looking coming into this season. I think not having any expectations has been really good not only for Morgan, but the team. Things have fallen in the right place at the right time and we are just having fun.

“(Krieger) is kind of a quiet leader, but the other girls see her out there working hard and want to do that too. She drives some of the other girls to practice and I know they have been bonding on our van trips.”

On the course, Smith has worked with Krieger on the mental aspects of her golf game to remain sharp through the good and bad shots a round produces.

“She’s made some really good strides the last couple of weeks,” Smith said. “We talk a lot about the mental game and how we can keep our mind the whole round. She’s really analytical with every shot and determining what the wind is doing and what her lay is going to do on her shot. It’s really fun to see her thinking that much about the game at a young age and that’s really going to help her in the future.”

Smith said the best part of Krieger’s game is the way she can scramble her way out of bad shots.

“If she has a not-so-good shot, she can come back from that,” Smith said. “It doesn’t really deter her. She’s kind of like the comeback kid.”

Krieger feels the best part of her golf game is her irons.

“Last week, it was definitely my putting, but normally the best part of my game is my irons,” she said. “I’ve been working on them a lot and lately they’ve been going more consistently in one direction.”

The win for Krieger was a big relief for Smith to see.

“When you are so close and finally get it you’re like ‘OK, I know I can do it and play with the best,’” Smith said. “I think getting that win a week before our section tournament is just going to motivate her and keep her on the right track.”

Pequot Lakes is in the Section 6-2A opening round Friday, June 4, at Blackberry Ridge Golf Club. Krieger is excited for the challenge.

“I just try not to think about my score,” Krieger said. “Sometimes I don’t have the best mental game, so I just don’t want to think as much. I try to distract myself by talking with the girls I’m playing with or just think about something other than golf. It feels good to be playing my best golf at the end of the season. I’m hitting the ball straighter and making good putts and just playing better.”

Other notable performances:
Softball: Ally Ehnstrom, Aitkin, blasted two home runs including a grand slam and tallied 11 RBIs in a doubleheader against Detroit Lakes. She also tallied two doubles in a doubleheader against Staples-Motley.
Camille Parenteau, Aitkin, tallied two home runs against Detroit Lakes.
Morgan Eckes, Pequot Lakes, struck out 10 and launched a three-run home run against Pine River-Backus.
Gwen Rosecrans, Crosby-Ironton, struck out 11 against Pine River-Backus.
Kiara Olesch, Pierz, blasted two home runs against Sauk Centre.
Jenna Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 3-4 with a home run against Sebeka.
Briana Blais, Pillager, tallied three hits against Royalton.
Track and Field: Mikaela Malone, Wadena-Deer Creek, won three events in the Park Region Conference Championships.

Morgan Krieger

Year: Sophomore

School: Pequot Lakes

Sport: Golf

Highlights: Won with an 86 at Wapicada Golf Club.