• Val T.

Rochester’s Kristianna Lingenfelter shoots 80, becomes 4th sister to make golf state

Karah Lingenfelter shoots lifetime-best 90


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

KENDALLVILLE –- Kristianna Lingenfelter will not be the lamest Lingenfelter.

The standard

s are high for Rochester’s first family of high school golf.

Three of Kristianna’s older sisters – Karsten, Kovenant and Kinley – had already advanced to the IHSAA state finals in their prep golf careers. In fact, all three had made state multiple times.

At the East Noble regional at Noble Hawk Golf Links, Kristianna continued the family tradition by becoming the fourth.

She shot an 80 and advanced to the IHSAA state finals as an individual. She finished tied for the final spot and beat Fort Wayne Northrop’s Skylar Whitman on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to advance and extend her high school golf career another week.

The first playoff hole was No. 1, a par-4. Whitman hit her first shot out of bounds and had to take a penalty shot. She ultimately settled for a double-bogey. Lingenfelter had a three-putt par for a bogey and the win.

“I chose a driver, and she chose about a 3-wood,” Kristianna said. “And she hit her ball straight, but it was straight off to the right. And I thought she was going to be short and safer. I hit my driver, and it went straight, but then it curved right. I tend to slice my drivers a lot, so that was kind of worrying because it landed over the mound and I thought it was going to just kick off and go straight to out of bounds. But we went over there, and mine was in bounds and hers was out of bounds. So she did stroke-and-distance and dropped in the fairway, and then she was hitting four, and I was hitting two up on the green. I three-putted for five, and she two-putted for six.”

Karah Lingenfelter, a sophomore and Kristianna’s younger sister, carded a 90 and did not advance. However, the 90 was a lifetime best for 18 holes.

The top three teams and top five individuals on non-advancing teams advanced to state.

Homestead (275), NorthWood (334) and Concord (345) were the advancing teams.

Oak Hill’s Hope Mygrant (75), Lakeland’s Madison Keil (76), Carroll (Fort Wayne)’s Marissa GeRue (78) and South Bend St. Joe’s Kathryn Kloska (79) joined Lingenfelter in earning a state trip.

Lingenfelter will tee off at 10:36 a.m. Friday at the IHSAA state finals at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel. She will start on the back nine.

The state finals conclude with the second round Saturday.

This marked Kristianna Lingenfelter’s third trip to the regional as an individual. She came within two strokes of making state in 2019.

She survived hitting the ball out of bounds three times on the hazard-filled Noble Hawk. She said she also lost between nine and 12 balls when she played her practice round there.

“It feels really, really cool,” Kristianna said. “I’m really glad because I didn’t want to be the lamest Lingenfelter and never make it to state. Because it’s senior year, and it’s my last chance, so I’m glad I could go.”

While the Lingenfelter standards may be high, the confidence level might also be considered high. Kristianna said she “had to” make it to state. Her regional round was 11 strokes lower than her sectional round at Stonehenge Golf Club in Winona Lake a week earlier. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t expect it out of herself.

“I knew I was going to hit 80 or under anyways because I wasn’t for sure that I was going to get out because I never really thought about not getting out,” Kristianna said. “I felt like it was going to happen anyway. But I tried not to think about so much as I was playing, my ability to get out, my end score. I was just trying to make every single little shot and put it in the best position I could to at least get a bogey or under.”

RHS volunteer assistant coach Lyle Lingenfelter is also Kristianna’s father. He was filling in for head coach Chad Thomas, who was out of town due to a death in the family. He said he loved Kristianna’s confidence, saying that she could get a bogey, but no worse, even from a bad position on the course.

Still, it had been a rough week of practice.

“I was not so much confident because this week she’s not hit it great,” coach Lingenfelter said. “I just felt like this whole year has just not been great, you know. And so I think the other thing is that every year is just different. It just depends what everyone else shoots. And there’s no defense in golf. You can’t stop anybody else from playing well. So certainly getting there is very, very, very difficult.”

He had a good feeling when Kristianna’s score was posted.

“When she shot 80 today, I said, ‘Man, it’s awful windy,’” coach Lingenfelter said.

Kristianna birdied No. 1 and had four straight pars from Nos. 6-9. She also parred Nos. 12 and 18, a long, twisty par-5.

“Eighteen is actually probably the most impossible par-5 to get a four on, but I was real close to getting a four,” Kristianna said. “I wanted a four so bad.”

Karah ‘proud of myself’

Karah Lingenfelter started with a 50 on the front nine before finishing with a 40 on the back. She had a par on Nos. 12 and 14 and a birdie on the par-3 17th. She had no worse than a bogey on the back nine.

“I’m proud of myself because it’s my personal record now, but in general, it’s still not ideal (or) very good,” Karah said. “The first nine was bad. I don’t like that at all. But on the back nine, I shot 40, which is my personal record for nine holes. And I beat Kristi on the back nine, so I’m never letting that one go.”

Rochester’s Karah Lingenfelter, left, and Kristianna Lingenfelter, right, participated at the East Noble girls golf regional at Noble Hawk Golf Links in Kendallville Saturday. Kristianna Lingenfelter shot an 80 to advance to the IHSAA state finals as an individual this Friday and Saturday in Carmel. Karah Lingenfelter shot a 90, a lifetime-best for 18 holes. RHS volunteer assistant coach Lyle Lingenfelter, who is also Karah and Kristianna’s father, is pictured in the middle.



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