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Resorters Golf: Herzogs to battle for Women’s title

Stephanie Herzog of Red Wing hits out of the sand during her match against Osakis’ Alayna Eldred in the Women’s Division on Friday. Herzog won 5-4 to advance to face her sister, Leah, in the championship on Saturday. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)1 / 3
Leah Herzog rolls a putt toward the cup during her Women’s Division match against Glenwood’s Ashlyn Guggisberg on Friday. Herzog won 7-6 to secure her spot in the championship against her sister, Stephanie, when they tee off the first box at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)2 / 3
Osakis' Alayna Eldred chips onto the green during her match against Stephanie Herzog on Friday in the Women's Division. Eldred shot 2-under through the first five holes, but Herzog rallied to take the match and advance to the championship. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)3 / 3

Leah and Stephanie Herzog, sisters from Red Wing, have never played each other in the championship of a match-play event, but they have an idea of what that will be like on Saturday.

“Awkward. Weird,” Leah said with a smile. “It will be interesting. It will be weird because no one will be cheering for anyone, but it will be fun to play with Steph because I don’t really get the opportunity to ever play with her.”

At least not in a competitive format. The two sisters practice with each other all the time and know each other’s game plan inside and out. Both of them executed that game plan to near perfection on Friday as they cruised into the championship in matches that ended early on the back nine.

Leah, who will be a senior in high school this fall, beat University of North Dakota golfer Ashlyn Guggisberg of Glenwood in a 7-6 match. Stephanie, who was a freshman for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten this past season, won 5-4 in her match against Osakis’ Alayna Eldred.

Leah never slipped up against Guggisberg as she shot 3-under through 11 with birdies on Nos. 4, 6 and 11 before putting the match away with a win on 12.

“I was hitting my driver pretty straight, so that helped,” Leah said. “I was just kind of taking one shot at a time, not getting ahead of myself. In match play, you have a tendency to get ahead of yourself if you go up a couple holes. I was just taking it one shot, one hole at a time and not really worrying about the match.”

Stephanie took the same hole-by-hole approach, and it served her well after falling behind early. Eldred shot 2-under through five with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. Things started to go south from there as five bogeys and a double on 7 opened the door for Herzog to take control.

“I just didn’t feel sharp out there today,” Eldred said. “I played the first five holes very well, but Stephanie played solid the whole round and made no mistakes.”

Stephanie bounced back from that early deficit by looking at the big picture, a vital part of match play but also easier said than done sometimes.

“I just took it one shot at a time and didn’t focus on the match as much,” Stephanie said. “If I focus on the other person, I usually get ahead of myself and don’t hit it as well. I just focused on my own game.”

She had birdies of her own at Nos. 3 and 6 before getting on a roll on the back. Her birdies at Nos. 12, 14 and 15 put the match away in impressive fashion. It was a nice bounce-back performance for her on Friday after she survived a bit of a scare in her quarterfinals match against Alexandria’s Ciara O’Connor by a 3-1 score.  

“(Thursday) wasn’t the best, but my game is at a point where I felt confident enough that I could go out and play good again today,” Stephanie said. “It just went well. I stayed within myself, instead of getting ahead of myself. That was probably the biggest difference.”

It all sets up a big showdown between the two sisters on Saturday when they tee off with the Women’s Executive Division finalists on the first tee at 12:15 p.m.

A Herzog is going to come away with a championship on Saturday. The sisters are keeping that in perspective as they prepare to enjoy the day.

“I’m sure she wants to beat me too, so it’s mutual,” Stephanie said. “We’re going to get first and second, so we’ll keep it in the family.”

WOMEN’S DIVISION SATURDAY PAIRING - 1ST TEE

12:15 p.m. - Leah Herzog vs. Stephanie Herzog

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229
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