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Girls golf: Johnson's 82 sets the pace at Irish Invite

Rosemount has had success taking one shot at a time.

When Rosemount girls golf coach Barry Wallin heard Hailey Johnson started off last week's Irish Invitational with two birdies and a par, he strolled over to talk to his strong-starting senior.

Wallin wanted to make sure Johnson was staying consistent, not getting too excited about the start. What the Rosemount coach saw and heard was all he needed to understand that Johnson was ready to continue the quick start. It was also an example of how he wants all the Irish to perform.

"I didn't want her to put any pressure on her self," Wallin said. "I walked over and she had a big old smile on her face. I said, 'How are you doing?' And she said, 'I started pretty good.' I said, 'I heard.' She kind of kept it going. She was taking it one shot at a time and kept things rolling. Then she gave me the hang loose sign. That's exactly how we try to approach playing, not thinking about the results.

"We talk about shooting 38 to 42. Those are the types of goals that drive us in practice. But when we are playing the only goal is to stay focused on the next shot. There is only one shot and it's the next one. As long as we are able to do that, we'll keep from being distracted by going birdie, birdie, par."

Johnson's round at Emerald Greens for the Irish Invitational was just the continuation of a solid two weeks of play. Rosemount won a Lake conference meet at Emerald Greens, took part in a tournament at Chaska Town Course, placed second out of three teams in a Lake Conference meet at Heritage Links and then was fourth in the Irish Invitational in recent play.

Johnson shot a 43 two weeks ago at Emerald Greens as the Irish combined to shoot a 174, beating Eden Prairie, defending state champion Lakeville North and Lakeville South.

"It's always a benchmark when we play Eden Prairie," Wallin said. "The last two years we played at their golf course and tied them only to lose in a tiebreaker. We always know it's going to be shot for shot."

Wallin watched his golfers come in. Emily Anderson had a 44. Betsy Wallin then came in with a 41. Emily Holtz had a 46, but it was still close. The sixth golfer to come in, Johnson, gave the Irish the win. Betsy Wallin was the medalist.

With a tournament at Chaska scheduled for last week, several varsity regulars were out of the lineup due to school obligations. Molly Flynn traveled and shot a 90. Wallin finished with a 93.

The school obligations -- preparing for AP tests -- continued and Rosemount bowed out of the Farmington tournament. A day later, the Irish then took second against Eastview and Burnsville. The Lighting shot a 174, while Rosemount had a 184.

Johnson continued her strong play with a career-best 42.

Betsy Wallin had a 46. Holtz carded a 47. Flynn shot a 49. Anderson finished with a 50 and Katie Berkopec ended with a 51.

One reason the Irish skipped the Farmington event is because they wanted to have the school obligations wrapped up so they wouldn't miss the Irish Invitational last Friday.

Rosemount placed fourth with a 351. Edina bested the competition with a 319.

Johnson was sixth overall. Her birdie, birdie, par start helped her to a career-best 82.

"It was a very nice breakthrough for her," coach Wallin said. "At Heritage, her hands were shaking with her card when she shot her best ever. Then she follows up with an even better performance the next day. Hailey is really shining right now."

Flynn finished with an 86, to tie for 13th.

Berkopec shot a 91. Betsy Wallin had a 92 and Emily Anderson finished with a 93. Holtz carded a 99.