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Herbel wins third straight Class A state golf title

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Hannah Herbel's approach to golf is simple: have fun.

It'd be simple to point out that it is easy to have fun when you're winning and the Century standout continues to do a whole lot of that.

Herbel, just a sophomore, tied a state record on Tuesday by winning her third straight individual Class A state golf title. After a sizzling 1-under-par 71 on Monday at Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot, she closed out the victory with a 74 on Tuesday, giving her a three-stroke victory over Greta McArthur of state champion Fargo Shanley.

With the win, Herbel joined Jamestown's Laura Kraft as the only player to win three straight state tournament medalist awards. Kraft, who went on to play NCAA Division I golf at the University of Missouri, accomplished the feat from 2008-2010.

"I kinda made it a goal to win this year. I worked hard over the summer. I put in a lot of time and effort and practice knowing winning a third straight state title was a reachable goal," Herbel said. "It's not easy. There are a lot of really good players out there. But I knew if I put in the work and effort I had a chance to make it happen."

Herbel has the perfect demeanor for such an epic run. She's as driven and focused as she is polite.

"Just going out there, I have so much fun playing with the girls I play with, you can't help but have fun," she said. "I don't put pressure on myself. Golf is much more enjoyable when you're out there having fun.

"I try not to think about, 'Oh boy, this is my chance to win another one.' Really, it's just, let's go have fun."

Herbel had an eight on her second hole of the tournament on Monday. Never one to dwell on the negative, she instead just kept plugging away.

"Yeah, that 8 was not good, but I just kind of thought, 'Yeah, it was a bad hole, but it's just one hole. Put it behind you and move on,'" she said. "Luckily, I was able to make a few birdies later on that kind of made up for it."

Her card included four bogeys on Tuesday and a pair of birdies. She closed out the win, her seventh in nine meets this season, with a birdie on the par 4 18th.

She had her twin sister Leah, who missed all but one meet this season due to injury, alongside. Leah was among the top golfers in the state as a freshman in 2019.

"I'm so used to asking her how she did after her round, or sometimes having her play behind me, it was different not to have that this year," Hannah said. "She followed me the entire time and cheered me on."

Century's bid for a third straight state title came up nine shots short. Shanley won with a score of 656. Both teams posted 331s on Tuesday.

Senior Riley Crothers capped her fine career for the Patriots with a ninth-place finish of 161 (80-81).

"Everyone did the best they could especially with the conditions," Herbel said. "The winds were 30 miles per hour basically the whole tournament. As a team, I thought we did pretty well. We can feel good about that."

Mandan fell off its blistering pace from Monday (322) but still finished a strong third. Anna Huettl shot her second straight 78 to finish solo fourth. Aysia Mettler also earned all-state honors with a two-round total of 158, tied for sixth.

Bismarck High's Grace Stroh played her way into a top 20 finish -- tied for 19th -- with an 85 on Tuesday, three better than her Monday round.

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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