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Aaron Saunders/Republic Burke/South Central golfer Sydney Benter completes a swing at the 2013 Region 4B golf tournament at Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Burke/South Central's Benter eyeing first state title

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Burke/South Central's Benter eyeing first state title
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

BURKE — Burke High School senior Sydney Benter is a golf course rat.

The term is no different from a gym rat, which means someone who prefers to spend their time in the gym. But for Benter, most of her time is spent on the Burke Golf Course, where she has worked countless hours honing her skills.

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Her time on the course has come full circle this year, as Benter eyes her first state championship, a title that has eluded her the last few years.

“I go to practice every day with the team and I probably spend four hours after practice working on my golf game,” said Benter, who first started playing golf at the age of 7. “Practice makes perfect and the more you practice the better you get.”

Benter has competed in the Class B state golf tournament each year since 2010. She finished 26th in 2010 and 2011. As a sophomore, she cracked the top 10 with an eighth-place finish in 2012 and continued to rise with a third-place effort last year. But Benter wants more, she wants to cap her career with a state championship.

“She has put in a lot of time on the golf course ever since she was little,” Burke/South Central golf coach Billie Jo Indahl said. “She has been out on that golf course ever since she was little working on her game and improving every year. She set high goals for herself this year and she has really worked hard to reach them.”

Indahl has coached Benter since she was in middle school. She said Benter has gotten much stronger as she has grown up, becoming the most consistent golfer for the Cougars over the last two seasons.

Last year she claimed the Region 4B championship at Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell. Benter more than likely will cap her high school career off at Lakeview, the host site of the 2014 Class B state championship.

Benter has already played well at Lakeview this season, earning her first title of the season at the course Wednesday in the Mount Vernon/Plankinton Invite. Benter shot an 80 to win the event. Her other win this season came Friday at the Burke/Gregory Invitational with an 82.

“The tournaments are good practice for me, they really prepare me for the state tournament,” Benter said. “Because the state tournament is in Mitchell I think I have a little bit of an advantage because I have golfed there before. But I have to keep practicing and hope that I can golf the best I can.”

Consistently finishing with low rounds may be what the Cougars need from Benter if they hope to finish top three at the Class B state tournament. But according to Indahl, the most important role Benter can play for the team this year is that of the mentor and team leader.

Benter is the only senior for the Burke/South Central golf team and Indahl said she is counting on Benter to help guide the young players as much as she can.

“We don’t really have many older girls so she has to take that role of being a senior leader and help those young girls out,” Indahl said.

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