By KEVIN THOMPSON
Shooting nine strokes over par at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course Monday was, coincidently, nine strokes over the wind speed.
But either way, it was good enough to win the opening high school tournament of the season.
Jaylin McCauley of St. Francis fired that 45 to capture the medalist honors by one stroke at the Sublette Invitational, but it was Holcomb that walked away with the team title, shooting a 208 to outdistance runner-up Syracuse (215) and Colby (223).
Holcomb's Amy Stegman and Sublette's Katelyn Marlin both fired a 46 on what turned out to be less-than-ideal conditions for a season opener.
"It was really, really windy out there," Stegman said. "It was so hard."
To maintain her rhythm, Stegman said she would try to follow up with something good, like following a double bogey with a par.
The senior said her plan with the wind was to try to do her best and not let a bad shot get to her.
"I would try to keep the ball lower on my drives and just keep everything low," she said.
Coach Scott Stegman was relieved to get the windy win.
"It was nice to get that first meet under our belt," he said. "It wasn't the best of weather conditions, but the girls plugged away and shot some scores that were low enough to get us first place."
With a number of his girls returning, Stegman said he didn't have to tell them too much about going into the season opener.
His main advice on this day?
"Stand wide and get your balance and pay attention to the wind," he said.
Everything seems to be better with his team this year over last, he said, noting that a number of his girls played over the summer.
"Their course management, their striking the ball - everything seems to better," he added.
Sublette coach Ryan Hafen was pleased with Marlin's finish.
"She qualified for state last year as a sophomore and this is hopefully a good beginning of the season for her here," Hafen said. "I hope she can build on her good score here and carry that over."
Syracuse coach Rick Mathias said he was "pleasantly surprised" with his team's second-place finish, especially given how inexperienced his team is.
"The kids stepped up and played pretty well in this wind. We were not expecting this team score," Mathias said.
"We have not been practicing what I would call 'superbly,'" he added. "We've been working a lot on the short game and actually hitting a driver. We're a team that's used to hitting irons off the tee, and I wouldn't let them do that today."
That strategy paid off and shortened a lot of holes, Mathias said.
Holcomb's Sam Larrick medaled with a 50.
Syracuse was led by medalists Stephanie Geven (50), Paige Hook (52) and Madison Brown (53).
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.