2A golf: Sister-brother duo nearly pull off bit of history

  • Article by: RON HAGGSTROM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 13, 2012 - 11:52 PM

 Detroit Lakes' Kate Smith won the 2A girls' tournament, but Karter Smith fell into a tie for second.


Detroit Lakes eighth-grader Kate Smith became the youngest girl to win a state golf title, with a record-setting total of 140.

Photo: Brian Basham, Forum Communications Co.

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The Smiths, Kate and Karter, had an opportunity to make family history on Wednesday.

The Detroit Lakes siblings appeared to be on the verge of becoming the first sister-brother combination to win the golf state tournament in the same season. Kate was in the clubhouse with the Class 2A girls' championship medal around her neck, while Karter was clinging to a four-stroke lead over the boys' field on the front nine.

Then the wind started to gust across the Ridges at Sand Creek golf course in Jordan. Karter's first-round lead was quickly dissipating as Taylor Sundbom of Hermantown was finishing his senior season with the best round of his career.

Sundbom overcame a six-stroke deficit to Karter, shooting a final-round, 3-under-par 69 to capture the boys' individual crown. Sundbom wound up with a 2-under-par 142 in the two-day event.

"I just wanted to keep pace with Karter, and capitalize on any of his mistakes," Sundbom said. Smith, a junior, tied for second place for the second consecutive year, three strokes back at 145.

Sundbom knew the title was within his grasp following the ninth hole. He birdied the hole to take a two-stroke lead, an eight-shot swing from the opening hole.

"I didn't want to hold anything back," Sundbom said. "Winning state has always been a dream of mine, but I didn't think it would ever happen to me."

Karter's younger sister turned in a record-setting performance earlier in the day. Kate, an eighth-grader who is only 13 years old, became the youngest girl to win a golf state championship.

She shot back-to-back, 2-under-par 70s -- both career-best rounds. Since the three-class format was adopted in 2008, her score of 140 set the Class 2A tournament record for 36 holes.

"Winning state has always been a goal of mine," Kate said. "I didn't know it would come this soon."

Kate played the back nine in 5-under-par during the two-day event. She was the medalist by nine strokes.

"There were more scoreable holes on the back nine," Kate said. "There are more holes down in the valley, and out of the wind."

The younger sibling was quick to credit her older brother for her success at such a young age. She tied for fifth place as a seventh-grader.

"I wasn't the one who always wanted to practice," Kate said. "Karter was the one who kept encouraging me to practice and play."

The Smiths helped Detroit Lakes sweep the team titles. The boys successfully defended their championship with a 601, one stroke better than Hermantown. The Lakers girls' squad cruised to a 35-shot victory.

While people were keeping a close eye on the Smiths and Detroit Lakes, Shattuck St. Mary's junior Sydney Brickey also captured everybody's imagination around the course. She was playing in her second consecutive state tournament -- but opposite- handed from the previous year.

Brickey made the switch from righthanded to lefthanded last summer, after putting lefthanded for the past three years. The change didn't take long to produce better results. She shot a career-best 78 during the second round, and finished tied for 14th place.

"It took some time to get used to being on that side," Brickey said. Her best score as a righthander is 79. "I think I found the side I needed to be on from the very beginning."

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