The Section 8AAA girls golf race has been a three-team contest all season with Alexandria setting itself apart for most of the regular season notching consistent victories over both Brainerd and Detroit Lakes.

The Warriors flipped the script after the completion of the first round Thursday, June 3, at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids, taking a four-stroke lead over the Cardinals. The Lakers are in contention nine strokes off the pace.

Brainerd’s Izzy Olson was the lone golfer to break par shooting a 2-under 70, creating a three-shot lead over the rest of the field.

Behind Olson are two Cardinals, Cora Larson (73) and Hannah Boraas (74) and DL’s McKenna Mallow holds sole possession of fourth place (75).

All three teams have their scoring foursomes in the top 13 positions heading into day two. Only Becker’s Ashley Reed broke up a sweep by Brainerd, Alex and DL players atop the leaderboard. She sits in 12th place (84).

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Freshman Hanna Knoop hits her approach shot on the first hold at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids Thursday, June 3, 2021. Robert Williams / Tribune
Freshman Hanna Knoop hits her approach shot on the first hold at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids Thursday, June 3, 2021. Robert Williams / Tribune

Mallow is joined by fellow Lakers: Hanna Knoop (80) in seventh place; Laura Syltie (81) tied for eight place and McKenna Burhans (83) in 11th place.

Brainerd had three players in the top five with Anna Angland (79) and Anna Krieger (79) tied for fifth place behind the leader Olson.

For both Brainerd and Alexandria, the fourth golfer currently is the difference between winning and losing. Both teams’ top three players have a combined score of 228.

Katie Foley’s round of 82, currently good for 10th place, is four strokes better than Alexandria’s fourth golfer Aisling O’Connor (86).

Freshman Laura Syltie watches a chip during the opening round of the section championship in Park Rapids. Syltie is one of three Lakers in the top 10 heading into Friday's final round. Robert Williams / Tribune
Freshman Laura Syltie watches a chip during the opening round of the section championship in Park Rapids. Syltie is one of three Lakers in the top 10 heading into Friday's final round. Robert Williams / Tribune

Detroit Lakes’ top three players have a total score of 236. All four scoring DL golfers will need to shoot lower in round two to make up ground.

The Lakers’ day one team score of 319 was 11 strokes off their best round of the year, a 308 at Fergus Falls on May 21.

Brainerd has defeated Alexandria for the 8AAA state berth by one stroke the past two seasons.

Each day’s team score is determined by combining the four lowest scores of the six team members during each day of the tournament.

Senior McKenna Burhans hits her approach from the fairway on the second hole at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids Thursday, June 3, 2021. Robert Williams / Tribune
Senior McKenna Burhans hits her approach from the fairway on the second hole at Headwaters Golf Club in Park Rapids Thursday, June 3, 2021. Robert Williams / Tribune

Evan Westrum carded a 90 and Tatum Gatheridge shot 94 Thursday for Detroit Lakes.

The leaderboard will also be closely watched for individual state qualifiers Friday.

The winning team advances to state along with the next five individuals not on the winning team.

The first round was played in mild temperatures in the morning with a very light sprinkle of rain before warming up as the round progressed.

Friday’s final round begins at 9 a.m.

Section 8AAA Championship, Round 1 of 2

Teams: Brainerd 310, Alexandria 314, Detroit Lakes 319, Becker 363, Moorhead 374, Sartell-St. Stephen 374, Buffalo 378, Bemidji 388, Willmar 405, Monticello 411, St. Cloud 422.

Leaderboard:

1 Izzy Olson, BRD 70

2 Cora Larson, ALEX 73

3 Hannah Boraas, ALEX 74

4 McKenna Mallow, DL 75

T5 Anna Angland, BRD 79

T5 Anna Krieger, BRD 79

7 Hanna Knoop, DL 80

T8 Laura Syltie, DL 81

T8 Lauren Rebrovich, ALEX 81

10 Katie Foley, BRD 82

11 McKenna Burhans, DL 83

12 Ashley Reed, BEC 84

13 Aisling O’Connor, ALEX 86

Detroit Lakes:

McKenna Mallow 75

Hanna Knoop 80

Laura Syltie 81

McKenna Burhans 83

Evan Westrum 90

Tatum Gatheridge 94

Read more stories by Robert Williams here.