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Leah Herbel of Century finished third individually at the Century Invitational Friday at Tom O'Leary.

TOM STROMME TRIBUNE

Some same-old mixed with a bit of brand spanking new Friday to make for an interesting day at the Century High School Invitational at Tom O'Leary Golf Course.

 St. Mary's garnered its sixth straight tournament title with a score of 320 and Minot' senior Marley Foltz captured medalist honors for the first time with a 75.

 Foltz, a fifth-year varsity golfer, has been near the winner's circle many times, but was unable to seal the deal until Friday. And at Tom O'Leary of all places.

  "This course seems to give me fits, so I'm very content with a 75, especially on a breezy day," she said.

 O'Leary, at 2,855 yards, has been known to cough up some pretty low scores, but Foltz's winning score was six over par.

 "I expected someone to come in with a 69 or 70, but the course played  pretty tough today with the wind (which reached 17 mph) and some of the pin placements," she said.

 Foltz didn't start well, but she finished well. She began her round on the 16th hole and on No. 1, her fourth hole, she carded a triple-bogey seven. 

 Rather than thinking of prior bad experiences at O'Lear and letting the alarm bells go off in her head, Foltz said she had a talk with herself.

 "I tripled my fourth hole and I was kind of discouraged. ... I definitely stepped back on the next tee and told myself that was the worst hole I was going to have, no exceptions," she recalled.

 She closed her day with a pair of threes for a par and a birdie.

 Prior to winning at O'Leary, Foltz had a runner-up finish to her credit and a couple of victories in non-school events.

 "I won a couple of times in summer tournaments and I was second at The Links my junior year," she said.

 This time, though, there was no more of that "almost" stuff.

 "It was nice to finally get over that hurdle," she said. "... I've gotten so close so many times and I finally broke through."

 Her round consisted of five birdies, six pars, four bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey.

 Foltz, Tonya Dvorak of St. Mary's (76) and Leah Herbel of Century (77) were the only three golfers to break 80 on the par-69 course.

 St. Mary's, the defending state champion, was pushed hard by Century, eking out a two-stroke victory over the Patriots. 

Dvorak, Sydney Smith (80), Cameron Easton (82) and Abby Schmidt (82) combined for the 320.

 Century's counters behind Herbel were Amber Domres (81), Riley Crothers (82), Hannah Herbel (82).

 St. Mary's head coach Michael Herzog said six straight wins is a good omen, but only if it signifies accompanying improvement.

 "We'll take the win, but our girls certainly are not playing to their best," he said.

 "I think Minot won every tournament but the WDA and state last year," he cautioned. 

 Dvorak, who narrowly missed her third medalist award on Friday, is one of three Saints players who have taken tourney titles. Easton won at Williston and Smith took honors at Dickinson.

 Schmidt was the golfer who caught Herzog's eye on Friday, however.

 "Abby Schmidt was the one who stood out today," Herzog said. "She had 10 up-and-downs for us."

  Only two invitationals remain for the West Region teams, and then it's into postseason play. Herzog said his team has won with consistency and balance all season.

 "We had all four play solid -- solid," he said of Friday's performance. "It comes down to team effort, and we've got to continue this trend."

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