Laffen, McKeeth share girl’s honors
For both the McKeeth and Laffen families, the sport of golf is enjoyed by everyone and they all happen to be pretty good at it.
This past year, New Ulm’s Corrine McKeeth made her first state tournament appearance as a junior and fared well, finishing in a tie for 22nd.
Meanwhile, Lauren Laffen is a sophomore at Sleepy Eye and she’s already a veteran of the state tournament scene. She made her third state tournament appearance this past year, going once as part of the Sleepy Eye team and twice as an individual qualifier. She finished second as a freshman and seventh this year. The two Top 10 finishes is quite impressive for someone with two full years of varsity golf experience left.
McKeeth and Laffen both had a year to remember and were named the 2014 All-Journal Co-Girl’s Golfers of the Year.
Laffen and her younger brother Ben have had plenty of success on the golf course already at an early age. Ben recently was the Tomahawk Conference boy’s champion and Lauren has her three state tournament appearances.
Older brother Mitch was also as standout on the course, so the sport is pretty big in the Laffen household. There’s also a budding rivalry between her and younger brother Ben.
“It’s just so fun,” Laffen said. “I’ll go out with my little brother and we’ll always give each other looks and glares. We just have fun with it and I’m really happy for both of them.”
Laffen repeated as one of the top golfers in the state this past year, finishing seventh at the Class A State Meet in Becker.
“It definitely feels really good and people’s comments about it makes me feel good,” Laffen said. “Obviously I didn’t finish as well as I did last year, but people are always telling me I should be proud of the Top 10.”
Laffen finished seventh this past year and she shared the lead after the first day. She’s been close to a state championship a couple of times and she’s got plenty of time to add to her golf resume.
“I learned so much [this past year], even from the second day I was up there,” she said. “I really hope that it continues to progress and things will turn out the way I want it to eventually.”
McKeeth’s older sister Miranda was also a state qualifier. Her dad, Todd McKeeth, is also the New Ulm girl’s golf coach. It’s hardly a shock that Corinne is also pretty good at the sport.
“I spent my time around golf as a child, just going to practices with my dad after school,” she said. “I watched a lot of the girls in high school, like Sam Bergmann and Alix Bergmann – I watched them go to state and they really encouraged me to be like them.”
Like the former stars of the program, McKeeth earned a state berth and she finished 22nd in her first try at Jordan. It was finally a monkey off of her back as she just missed qualifying two other times in a playoff hole.
“It’s a relief, I’m glad I could go to state at least once,” McKeeth said. “I think I could’ve done better, I think I could’ve placed.”
Having said that, there’s no doubt that her goal for her senior year is not only getting back to state, but placing in the Top 10. It’s a big goal, but with two solid days, she knows what she’s capable of.
Those who followed her watched her improved. As the season went along, her scores got consistently better. She now has the goal of shooting in the low 80s every time she gets on the course, something she didn’t think about a year ago.
Her dad has watched her grow as a golfer both on and off the course.
“I’m extremely proud that Corinne went into a new section this year and focused well enough to play her best golf at sections and state, when it meant the most,” coach McKeeth said. “I look forward to seeing her carry that confidence into next season.”