Eastview senior Sara Detlefsen, who skipped the Class 3A tournament last year to instead play in a national girls' event in Byron, Minn., is leading a strong squad this year. File photo by David Brewster * email@example.com
Before every round, Sara Detlefsen receives some sound motherly advice.
"She says, 'You know, I don't want to see you on the other parts of the golf course,'" Sara explained, citing the rough, woods and sand as displeasing destinations.
Mom makes it out to just about every round. To prevent her from stressing out too much, Sara tries to keep her game simple and consistent -- fairways, greens and putts. The golf world gushed over Bubba Watson's miraculous shot at the second playoff hole at the Masters. That's not Detlefsen's style.
"I try to keep it pretty boring," said Sara, who will play Division-I golf at Florida Gulf Coast next year. "I try to keep it low stress for my mom as much as I can."
She's done exactly that this spring, for both her mother and Eastview High School. But for anyone following the Lightning this season and through the section tournament, there are many other descriptors that would be deemed more appropriate than boring: deep, consistent, experienced, blossoming, stellar, dominant.
The team's success is often highlighted by Detlefsen, who is consistently ranked among the top five girls' high school golfers in the state. But the true difference maker is head coach Bob Boldus' depth. Four scorecards are counted on at the end of the day. The team can't just register Detlefsen's numbers and win a tournament.
Maddy Paulson has taken the No. 2 slot with authority. She has, on average, dropped a remarkable 12 strokes per round since last season, giving the Lightning two players shooting consistently in the 70s. Paulson has improved her short game the most while spending tireless hours on the course, range and greens.
"She just loves golf. I don't think she can get enough of it, honestly," Detlefsen said. "She's biting at my heels. It's been fun to watch her improve into an all-around solid player."
Madi Roe and Kari Opatz follow up in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots with rounds consistently in the low 80s. Standing about 5 feet tall, Roe, a junior, recently won the long-drive competition at one of the team's tournaments. Opatz, a sophomore, is the younger sister of Kristi Opatz, who plays collegiate golf at Concordia (Moorhead).
If one of the top four golfers falters, there's senior Lydia Jorgenson and eighth-grader Tylor Christensen who can chime in with a low-80s round, helping the Lightning keep from slipping on the scorecard.
"It's just like, wow, here we go," Boldus said with a laugh. "I knew they were going to be a good team, but I didn't know they were going to be this good."
Eastview nearly went undefeated in conference play, losing out only to Prior Lake in the season's final invite. Boldus' team secured 35 of a possible 36 points as South Suburban Conference champion, often winning tournaments by double digits.
The girls narrowly missed out on the state tournament last season without their No. 1. With Detlefsen missing time because of outside tournaments and events, Boldus and the school administration deemed it would be unethical for her to compete in the section and state meet. That's all in the past this year, and it gives Eastview an unparalleled advantage.
With Detlefsen and an upstart supporting cast, the Lightning is on the move.
"Perfect storm," Detlefsen said.