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Prep Girls Golf: Stanley-Boyd's Felmlee improves sand work, mental game in pursuit of elusive state berth

Every shot matters on the golf course.

Emerson Felmlee knows that all too well.

Last season the Stanley-Boyd golfer ended her season one shot away from advancing to the Division 2 state championships and the senior is putting herself in position to get over the hump and advance to state for the first time.

Felmlee wrapped up her regular season on Thursday at the CloverCroix Conference championships at Lake Hallie Golf Course, finishing in fourth place with an 89. Colfax/Elk Mound’s Bella Kongshaug finished first with an 83, followed by Osseo-Fairchild’s Trinity Knudtson in second at 84 and Bloomer’s Kaitlyn Bohl third at 87.

Osseo-Fairchild finished first on the day in team standings with a 381. Bloomer was third with a 417 as Illa Nelson and Olivia Price (106) and Emma Southworth and Stella Nelson (118) were the other scorers. Stanley-Boyd is fourth at 429 with Liberty Simon (104), Carly Verbeten (116) and Hannah Tinjum (120) as the other scorers.

A four-year player for the Orioles, Felmlee came agonizingly close to state in 2021. Felmlee finished tied for 16th with a 101 at regionals but picked up her game in a big way at sectionals by shooting an 86 to finish tied for 10th, one stroke behind Hayward’s Gillian Johnson and Spooner’s Sydney Greenfield for the final individual state qualifying spots. Felmlee said she had trouble with a particular bunker that took her three shots to escape — the difference between her season continuing or ending by the end of the round.

“It really gets you thinking about what I need to focus on and it really gets you thinking (about) ‘oh, you could’ve did this shot’ and one little thing,” Felmlee said. “As much as one stroke, it’s really the whole game you really got to focus on.”

So Felmlee went to work in the offseason to work on her trap escapes. Now the senior says she’s more confident in that aspect of the game and her coach said her growth with the mental side of golf has been impressive.

“The golf swing by in large has not changed in four years,” Stanley-Boyd coach Devon Wenndt said of Felmlee. “She’s remarkably consistent. She doesn’t hit the ball far but she knows exactly where it’s going every time and that’s the strength of her game. All we’ve tried to do over four years is – we’re not going to make wholesale changes – let’s add to the game. Let’s really add to the mental side of the game.”

Felmlee is a three-time sectional qualifier and as a freshman jumped right into varsity as the number one player on an inexperienced squad and has been growing into a leader ever since.

“She’s the heartbeat of this team,” Wenndt said of Felmlee. “Not necessarily the most vocal leader but certainly leads by example and really has opened up these last four years. Ask anyone in her group. She’s going to have fun when she’s playing golf, she’s going to make sure other people have fun with her when she’s playing golf and I think that’s going to hold true with anything she does.”

Felmlee is a three-sport athlete at Stanley-Boyd, playing basketball in the winter and softball in the spring.

“She’s a three-sport athlete. She’s a very talented three-sport athlete and every one of her coaches in every one of those sports will tell you that she’s a model student, she’s a model teammate, she’s a model person,” Wenndt said.

Felmlee, Bohl, Kongshaug, Knudtson and Osseo-Fairchild’s Eleice Dahl earned first team all-conference honors for their season-long efforts. Mondovi’s Julia Moats, Osseo-Fairchild’s Brenna Seefeldt and Tymeka Eisberner and Colfax/Elk Mound’s Selena Clickner and Josie Seehaver were second team honorees. Bloomer’s Stella Nelson, Stanley-Boyd’s Simon and Tinjum and Colfax/Elk Mound’s Gabi Amble were all-conference honorable mentions.

Osseo-Fairchild took the season-long team championship with Colfax/Elk Mound second, Stanley-Boyd third and Bloomer fourth.

As Felmlee’s skills have grown, so have her expectations. She’s improved each season and now says her ‘bad’ scores this season are the ones she would’ve classified as normal a year ago.

Stanley-Boyd opens the postseason with Division 2 regionals next Wednesday at Pheasant Hills Golf Club in Hammond — the site of last season’s sectional heartbreak. The top two teams and top four individuals not a part of qualifying teams will move on to sectionals at Hidden Greens North in Solon Springs on Monday, Oct. 3. Felmlee’s goals are firmly on reaching the Division 2 state championships at University Ridge in Madison on Oct. 10-11. As she prepares to cap her prep golf career in the coming weeks, Felmlee is grateful for her family, teammates and coaches and all the help and support they have provided along the way.

“It would mean a lot,” Felmlee said on the possibility of reaching state. “It would show that I can do it. I’ve always wanted to go to state in a sport and when you’re so close and you don’t get it and you know that next year you have a chance, that’s what really helped me in the offseason this year.”

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