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Dan-ecdotes: Stone confident in final season for Golden Bears

Entering her final season playing college golf, former Patriot golfer Savannah Stone is confident in ability to make a postseason run, but knows there is still work to be done.

As her final season of college golf begins, Pequot Lakes grad Savannah Stone plans to focus on the little things in hopes of a postseason run.
As her final season of college golf begins, Pequot Lakes grad Savannah Stone plans to focus on the little things in hopes of a postseason run. Jordan Vredeveld/Concordia Athletics

Entering her final season playing college golf, former Patriot golfer Savannah Stone is confident in ability to make a postseason run, but knows there is still work to be done.

The 2013 Pequot Lakes graduate has spent her college years golfing for Concordia University in St. Paul, and will continue to do so for just two more months.

"It really hasn't hit me yet that this is my final season," Stone said. "It probably won't, which is a good thing, until the last tournament."

She chose to be be a Golden Bear primarily because of her experience meeting her potential coaches and teammates for the first time, as well as a campus that made her feel at home in the big city.

"When I came in, just talking to the team and the coach, it just seemed like a good fit for me," Stone said. "It has that small feel but it is still in the big city. Pequot is such a small town, so it was a pretty big transition, but Concordia has only about 2,000 people in the undergrad program, and most are athletes."

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In high school, Stone was also an accomplished alpine skier, finishing sixth in the state in 2012 and qualifying for junior nationals. However, she decided to pursue golf at the next level as it provided more opportunities in Minnesota. In alpine skiing, Colorado and Montana are common destinations for serious skiers.

When it comes to golf, Stone enjoys the team aspect of the game, despite each athlete being responsible for their own performance.

"It's a team sport, but it is so individual," Stone said. "You can work on your game. It's a long round, but I have a lot of conversations with myself out there. It is something where you can go out every day and get a little better. One small, tiny movement can make or break you in a round. It's just such a unique sport.

"I have put so much work and effort into it, and it's something I love to do every day and I have been blessed with the opportunity to do it."

So far in her college career, she is a three-time all-conference athlete at two-time all-academic athlete. She was also named the NSIC Newcomer of the Year as a freshman. Her career 18-hole average is currently 80.1, which she would like to see drop at least 0.2 points this spring.

She often turns to her father Mike - owner of Crosswoods Golf Course in Crosslake - when she has questions about her game.

"He knows my swing better than anyone," Stone said. "I can usually call him up and he can just tell me 'all right, here's what you're doing,' and he can sort of give me a lesson over the phone."

In the team's first meet of the spring season - which took place in Cave Creek, Arizona, on March 12 and 13 - Stone shot a 78 in both rounds, finishing third out of 36 golfers. She was pleased with her consistency in the meet and felt more assured in her abilities as the season kicks off.

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"I'm going in with a lot of confidence. My swing feels really good and I finally got my putting stroke back after the winter - it's kind of hard being from Minnesota and playing golf."

In her junior season, she was one stroke away from qualifying for the national tournament, which she sees as a great motivator for the coming season. While she does hope to find success at the conference tournament and qualify for nationals, that is not her focus in the early stages of the season.

"Those are my outcome goals, but I like to think of more process and performance goals for myself," Stone said. "That helps me keep the pressure off and not get too down on myself. This spring, I want to make every minute of practice count. I want to stay focused and in-the-moment in every round. When we play in tournaments, that is going to be the most important thing for myself."

Stone and the Golden Bears will next compete at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Invitational beginning on Saturday, March 25.

"It has been a great experience," Stone said. "If anyone else is thinking about doing it, they should definitely consider it. It will be the best time of your life."

Savannah Stone
Savannah Stone

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKESGOLF
Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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