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Patience Pays Off For Rhodes as She Claims Minnesota High School Senior Showcase

 


COON RAPIDS, Minn. – There may not be many high school golfers anticipating their senior season as much as Jaycee Rhodes had been in recent months. Attending Visitation School for her freshman and sophomore seasons, playing a pair of Class AA state tournaments, Rhodes and her family felt Eastview High School would be a better fit, where she transferred for her junior year.

As required by the Minnesota State High School League, Rhodes was only eligible to play junior varsity events in 2019, and when a global pandemic cut short her senior year of high school and cancelled the spring season, Rhodes was devastated.

“This year was an amazing year for me—straight A’s,” Rhodes said Wednesday, “but when I found out we weren’t going back to school, I felt like I lost so much; I lost my senior year and my prom. The next day when they said there was no golf season—that broke me down. I’d already lost my junior year.

“Every girl can’t wait to be a captain her senior year and can’t wait to help the team. I couldn’t wait to practice and hang out with the other girls on the team. Golf is so much more than trying to win. It really hurt. This was something I’ve done my entire life and I was waiting two whole years to go out and show what I can do. It was sad and I didn’t get out of bed for three days.”

Playing in her “state tournament” Wednesday, Rhodes shrugged off a pair of early bogeys and fired an even par 72 to claim a one-stroke victory at the 2020 Minnesota High School Senior Showcase in the breezy and cool conditions at Bunker Hills Golf Club.

“[Bunker Hills] is where my sections and state tournament would’ve been, so it was fun to come out here and compete. I was looking to come here and do my best. My dad, my uncle and my family have been waiting for me to do this my entire life, and honestly, so have I. For all high school golfers, our goal is to win the state tournament. I’ve had a lot of patience and grit. This is a hard time for everybody, no matter how it’s hitting each and every one of us.”

On what would’ve been the final round of the state tournament Wednesday, Rhodes stumbled early when she carded back-to-back bogeys to begin her round. Helped by a renewed positive outlook on the course, Rhodes was able to bounce back by sticking her approach at the par-4 fifth inside of four feet and converted birdie.

“After that, I was thinking, ‘This is how my round is going to go.’ I wasn’t thinking about going into the woods on number two. I wasn’t concerned about that,” she said. “From then, it led me to continue to stay strong throughout the entire round.”

Rhodes took a step back with a bogey at the eighth hole, but recovered by hitting a spectacular recovery from the tree line off the ninth fairway to 10 feet, sinking her birdie chance to turn at 1-over.

Reaching the par-5 11th in two, Rhodes two-putted for birdie to move back to even par and moved into red numbers when she sank a 15-foot birdie at the 15th. Unable to get up-and-down to save par at the 17th, Rhodes dropped back to even par for the day and finish with a one-stroke victory over Wayzata High School’s Amy Burnham and Stillwater High School’s Catherine Monty.

“I had an expectation that I needed to do well because I needed to show who I am as a player. I have been working so hard all offseason and it’s paid off, so I was expecting to finish near the top,” Rhodes said. “There are some phenomenal players out here and we’ve been going head-to-head forever and I haven’t gotten to compete with these girls for two years. This is my state title—I want to jump for joy, it’s an amazing feeling.”

With her victory Wednesday, Rhodes, who will play collegiate golf at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, earns a spot in the 2020 Girls High School Golf Invitational at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst Village, N.C., Aug. 3-5.

Playing her first 14 holes in 2-under, Burnham stumbled down the stretch, carding a double-bogey at the 16th and then a bogey at the par-3 17th to finish in a tie for second at 1-over 73.

“I started off strong and felt good right from the start. I was getting lucky with some bounces and everything seemed to be going right,” Burnham said. “Towards the end of the round, I knew how I was playing, but I think nerves got to me a little bit. It was a new experience for me, I don’t find myself in this situation too often.”

Monty carded a pair of early bogeys before finding her footing with a birdie at the par-4 ninth. She would round out her high school career with one birdie against one bogey over the final nine holes to shoot 73 and finish tied with Burnham in second.

“Today was super fun. I’m glad we were able to get out here and play with people I’ve met during high school golf and some summer tournaments,” Monty said Wednesday. “I played pretty well, but I was pretty nervous because I haven’t played competitively in a while. I was pleasantly surprised.”

2020 MINNESOTA HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR SHOWCASE

BUNKER HILLS GOLF CLUB

COON RAPIDS, MINN.

5,605 YARDS, PAR 72

WEDNESDAY’S FINAL GIRLS RESULTS

1. Jaycee Rhodes, Eagan, Minn., 37-35—72

T2. Catherine Monty, Stillwater, Minn., 37-36—73

T2. Amy Burnham, Maple Grove, Minn., 37-36—73

4. Bergen Senf, Fairmont, Minn., 38-38—76

5. Aayushi Sarkar, Woodbury, Minn., 40-37—77

6. Courtney Wedin, Chanhassen, Minn., 42-36—78

T7. Alex Hantge, Hutchinson, Minn., 39-40—79

T7. Janice Kim, Edina, Minn., 39-40—79

T9. Abbey Filipiak, Elk River, Minn., 39-41—80

T9. Sydney Monge, Minnetonka, Minn., 42-38—80

T9. Rachel Halvorson, Madison, Minn., 40-40—80

For complete tournament results go to: https://mnpgajr.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpgajr20/event/mnpgajr20186/contest/13/leaderboard.htm

 

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