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Girls' Golf: Woodbury's Sarkar finishes one shot off podium at state

Woodbury’s Aayushi Sarkar hits out of a sand trap on hole No. 8 of the Bunker Hills West Course during the second day of the Class 3A tournament on June 14. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Aayushi Sarkar watches a drive off the No. 6 tee box on June 14 at the Class 3A state girls’ golf tournament. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Aayushi Sarkar finished one shot off the podium at the Class 3A state golf tournament on June 13 and 14 at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids.

While the Woodbury freshman did not take home a medal by the slimmest of margins, she still finished as one of the top young golfers in the tournament.

Sarkar finished in an 11th place tie with Orono eighth-grader Camille Kuznik with a two-day score of 156. Those two golfers were one shot back of ninth-place finishers Isabelle Ouyang of Edina and Isabella McCauley of Simley, both with scores of 155.

Sarkar was one of three golfers who are a freshman or younger to finish in the top 15, along with Orono's Kuznik and seventh grader McCauley of Simley. But her skills are no surprise to those who follow Woodbury golf.

"She played really well," head coach Bryan Orlenko said. "Like I said, she's been here for two years now. This is the third, and this is the best I've seen her play here."

Sarkar shot consistent scores of 78 during both 18-hole rounds of the state tournament. On the first day, she carded a 38 on the Bunker Hills West Course and then finished with a 40 on the East Course. The final round was the opposite, as her best nine-hole score of 37 came on the East Course followed by a 41 on the West Course.

"I could have definitely done better on the West side," Sarkar said after her second day of golf. "That was my better nine yesterday. I could have done the same thing, but it's a different day."

Sarkar's tee shots with the driver often landed in the middle of the fairway during the last nine holes of the state tournament. Tee shots have consistently been an asset for Sarkar.

"Definitely my drives and my iron shots were strengths this year," she said.

The Woodbury freshman took lessons from new coach Gary Greenquist before the start of the season, and she has been more confident about her game as a result. Sarkar missed the second day of the state tournament for a class field trip last season, and as a seventh-grader, she finished in a tie for 21st with a score of 165.

"I feel like I have improved a lot since last year after getting a new coach and working with him," Sarkar said. "I definitely did improve."

Now that the high school season is over, Sarkar will stay fresh over the summer by playing in Junior PGA events and other golf tournaments. After finishing the state tournament, Sarkar was preparing to leave the next day for a tournament in Bismarck, North Dakota. The tournament is a qualifier for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships held later this summer in Florida.