Girls State Golf: Blaine’s Van Arragon shoots -7 65 to lead Simley’s McCauley sisters after Round 1
Defending state champ and Simley sophomore Reese McCauley stormed out of the gate with four birdies on the first five holes, but it was five birdies in the final eight holes that has Blaine junior Kathryn Van Arragon atop the leaderboard at a staggering 7-under through one round at the Class AAA Girls State Golf Tournament.
Simley senior Isabella McCauley, Reese’s older sister, is in second place at -5 two shots off Van Arragon’s lead. Reese McCauley sits third at -4.
Van Arragon finished tied for fourth last year and won State as a seventh-grader in 2018.
The three most recent state champions sit 1-2-3 on the current leaderboard. None of the three were past ninth grade at the time of their win (Van Arragon (7th grade) – 2018, Bella McCauley (9th)- 2019, No tourney in 2020 due to pandemic, Reese McCauley (9th) – 2021).
The trio are longtime friends, having traveled together frequently to play tournaments in junior golf.
Click the video box on this page to watch extended highlights from Day 1 at the Class AAA Girls State Golf Tournament
Reese McCauley won State last year as a freshman. Older sister Isabella was unable to defend the title she won as a freshman on 2019 because she missed the 2021 Section Tournament having qualified to play in the Women’s U.S. Open. The 2020 State Tourney was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Detroit Lakes’ McKenna Mallow is the only other golfer under par after Tuesday’s opening round. She’s at 2-under.
After jetting out to an early lead with her 4-under-through-5-holes tear, Reese McCauley had an errant drive and approach that came up short on the par-5 6th hole at Bunker Hills leading to one of her only two bogeys in the round.
Van Arragon made the turn at -3, but matched Reese McCauley’s early volley of four birdies in five holes between the 11th and 15th hole. After a bogey at 16, Van Arragon closed out her superb round of 65 by birdieing the final hole – her 5th birdie in the final eight holes.
Already the youngest champion ever at the Girls State Golf Tourney, should she go on to win this year’s event Van Arragon’s opening round 65 would be the lowest score ever carded by a Class AAA girls champion. New Prague’s Kenzie Neisen currently holds the record for lowest score by a AAA champ, having shot 67 in the opening round in 2014. Neisen’s final score of 135 is the Class AAA record.
Red Wing’s Sophia Yoemans holds the all-class record low score of 129 from her Class AA title in 2018.
In the Class AAA team competition, defending champs Alexandria lead after one round with a total score of +30. They’re nine ahead of Maple Grove (+39), followed by Eastview (+43), Elk River (+50), Edina (+53), Eden Prairie (+56), Lakeville South (+65) and Stillwater (+68).
In Class AA, Perham senior Mallory Belka (+4) holds a two-shot lead over Redwood Valley junior Julian Brown (+6).
Lake City (+42) holds a sizable lead in the Class AA team competition. Fergus Falls (+69) holds down second, with Pequot Lakes (+74) in third.
In Class A, Legacy Christian sophmore Emily Brandt leads at +9. Lac qui Parle Valley junior Isabella Jacobs is at +12, followed by Walker-Hackensack-Akeley freshman Kianna Johnson at +13.
Lac qui Parle Valley and Legacy Christian are tied for the team lead at +66. Park Christian is in third at +80.