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New Richmond's Chelberg, Wheeler make a splash at state golf tournament

New Richmond golfers Alex Wheeler (left) and Megan Chelberg (right) are shown with Tiger coach Neal Ziller at the 2013 WIAA Girls State Golf Championships last week.

New Richmond seniors Megan Chelberg and Alex Wheeler made a splash in the 2013 WIAA Division 1 Girls State Golf Championships last Monday and Tuesday.

Chelberg broke a 13-year-old school record by shooting the best score in the state tournament by a Tiger player. Her score of 168 broke the record that had been held by Ashley Clark since 2001. Chelberg’s score placed her 23rd among the Division 1 golfers in the state meet.

Wheeler shot rounds of 86 and 89 to finish at 145, tying for 34th in the state tournament. With her appearance in the 2013 state tournament, Wheeler becomes the first girl in New Richmond High School history to play in four state golf tournaments.

Both girls have been through the rigors of the state tournament before. Tiger coach Neal Ziller said he could tell they were mentally prepared to compete.

“They were both pretty nervous, but it was an anticipation nervous. They were getting ready for serious competition,” he said.

Both girls bogeyed the first hole of the tournament, but their opening rounds took different routes from there. Chelberg hit a 20-foot putt to get the bogey. She then played par golf over the next five holes.  Other than a couple struggles, Chelberg played a smooth round to finish at 82, tying for 15th. Chelberg’s 82 was three strokes off the best 18-hole score ever recorded by a Tiger in a state tournament. That record is held by Wheeler, who shot a 79 on the second day of the state tournament in her sophomore season.

Wheeler battled her putting touch early in the tournament. She three-putted her first two holes.

“I think it affected her the rest of the tournament,” Ziller said. “She was pressing. I think Alex felt like she had to prove something.”

Tuesday’s conditions were miserable, with most of the first nine holes played in a downpour. A large percentage of the players, especially those who started early in the day like the Tiger duo, saw their scores go higher in the second day. Chelberg shot an 86 on the second day to finish with a 168. Wheeler shot 89 on Tuesday to finish at 175.

“Megan shot exceptionally well,” Ziller said. “Alex got no breaks. I felt so bad for her.”

Ziller said Wheeler and Chelberg rank as the strongest 1-2 tandem he’s had in his many years of coaching the Tigers. Their averages this season rank among the best ever in the team’s history.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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