ANKENY — Nerves of steel for a medal of gold.
Linn-Mar’s Morgan Rupp didn’t know exactly what was on the line when she stood over her final putt on her last hole.
The Lion sophomore demonstrated poise and came up clutch, sinking about a 6-footer for birdie and outlasting Cedar Rapids Washington’s Jane Petersen in a back-and-forth affair for medalist honors at the Class 4A state golf meet Friday at Otter Creek in Ankeny. Rupp posted back-to-back rounds of 70 for a 140 total, edging Petersen by one.
“It feels amazing,” Rupp said. “I just went out there without many expectations and put two solid days up. I was satisfied with my score. It just happened to fall into place.”
Linn-Mar Coach Chris James said Rupp’s work ethic and dedication has put her in position to make the stressful final putt seem routine. A product of lots of practice.
“She’s a gamer,” James said. “She performs her best when the stakes are highest. The biggest thing is she puts in the time. She probably puts more time in than anybody. When you do that, you can thrive in those pressure-packed moments because you’ve done it thousands of times.”
Petersen entered the second round with a two-stroke lead, shooting 3-under 68 on Day 1. She started on the front nine, while Rupp started on Hole 10. Rupp had no idea the duo compared on the leaderboard.
Rupp walked the final 14 holes with James, who tried to keep her relaxed and her mind off golf between shots. She dialed back in for each swing. On the ninth, she stuck a pitching wedge within 6 to 7 feet to set up the winning putt.
“I was just like ‘you made a bunch of putts like this all day, so let’s make another one,’” Rupp said. “I just wanted to finish my day with a birdie.”
Someone told her she took a one-shot lead as she left the ninth green, but she didn’t know she won until Petersen’s score was posted.
The sophomore duo made their second straight state appearance and improved their finishes from last season. Rupp, the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division Player of the Year, tied for fifth last season. Petersen was 12th a year ago.
“Jane is a great player,” Rupp said. “I love to have her push me. She played really well, too.”
Rupp’s feat will be a big boost for the Lions. James said Rupp has made a big impact.
“It’s awesome for Linn-Mar,” James said. “She’s going to be a great ambassador for our program for years to come.”
Washington ended the second day the same way it started. The Warriors shot 330, placing 11 shots back of Pleasant Valley.
More girls’ state golf results
In 3A at Pheasant Ridge in Cedar Falls, Washington, Iowa’s Kaylin Long shot 79 Friday for a two-round total of 157, tying for fourth individually with Lisbon’s Kaylie Kelchen. Long helped the Demons come in fourth place, one spot ahead of Cedar Rapids Xavier.
The Saints were led by junior Meera Julka. She also carded a 79, putting her in sixth place with 160. It was her second top-10 state performance. Julka was ninth a year ago. Freshman Mehar Julka, Meera’s sister, shot 164 over the two days and tied for 10th.
Lisbon and West Delaware placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 1A and 3A team races. Kelchen has reached state all three seasons and hasn’t placed lower than 12th. She improved on last year’s 10th-place outing.
Tipton’s Paycee Sorgenfrey tied for third in the 2A state tournament at American Legion Golf Course in Marshalltown. Sorgenfrey shot 80 Friday to close with a 163 total and just one stroke back from runner-up honors.
West Branch was third in the 1A meet at Cedar Pointe Golf Course in Boone.
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