Boys Golf: 3 Warriors return from section team of two years ago
The Brainerd Warriors boys golf team is looking poised for another strong postseason.
Since seventh grade, Erik Stoxen has been a member of the Brainerd Warriors varsity team.
While he and the entire state missed last year because of COVID-19, Stoxen is prepared to make his last year his best one.
The senior lefty qualified for the Class 3A state tournament as a freshman and was tied for sixth after the opening round at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. He fired rounds of 72-79 for a 25th-place 151.
“It’s amazing how long of a run he’s had and it’s really cool to see him progress throughout the years and really grow as a person and a player,” Warrior head coach Brian Wallace said.
Last summer, Stoxen teamed with fellow Warrior Izzy Olson, Pequot Lakes talent Tyler Seeling and PGA professional Ryan Sharpe to win the Minnesota Section PGA Pro-Junior Championship in August at Braemer Golf Course.
He also fired rounds of 75, 72 and 78 to tie for 36th in the National High School Golf Invitational at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina
In June, Stoxen shot 77 at the Midwestern Showcase Tournament at Geneva Golf Club in Alexandria.
“Erik has always been there with his ability to golf,” Wallace said. “Now we’re looking for him to take a different role in being the senior player on the team and the one with the most experience. We’re looking for a leadership role out of him. He’s always been the young guy. Now he’s in that leadership senior position. I think he’ll really thrive in that and do a great job and his game will lead by example.”
Stoxen’s sophomore season ended in the Section 8-3A finals as the Warriors placed third behind Alexandria and Buffalo. Stoxen placed 25th with a two-day 158. He isn’t the only Warrior on that roster to return as Cole Proctor and Evan Quinn are also back.
Proctor led the Warriors in the section final two years ago with a 10th-place 150.
“Cole is kind of a quiet kid and always been right there with his competitiveness in a quiet way,” Wallace said. “He definitely has the skills. He’s always had really good ball striking skills. He started putting it together two years ago with his scores overall. Now with another year of maturity, he’s looking to have a great year as well.”
Proctor fired a 92 at the showcase tournament in Alexandria, but found more success closer to home as he shot 6-over and placed fourth in the Minnesota Junior PGA Players Tour event Aug. 5-6 at Whitebirch Golf Course and Deacon’s Lodge. He fired a 70 to win the second leg of the Brainerd lakes area high school golf event at Madden’s Pine Beach East.
Quinn finished 13th with a 152 at the 2019 section final. He landed in 30th place in the Minnesota Junior PGA Players Tour in Breezy Point last summer.
“Evan is a kid that can score really, really well on any given day,” Wallace said. “He hasn’t quite been able to put it together in a high school competition yet, but we’re hoping for this to be his breakout year. He is really skilled on the golf course and he could be our best player when it comes to overall scoring in the long run.”
Wallace was pleased with the work each of his returners put in on their own last summer and hopes that example carries down to a slew of freshmen on the roster.
“Even though they missed a season, we know they’re coming back better than they would have been last year,” Wallace said. “We’re really looking forward to this. It’s a huge advantage for us to know what we have and where they are at.
“Even though we didn’t have a high school season, they were all involved with the junior PGA events, the ones they could get to. They kept up with that summer stuff and kept their games in tune. That will really help.”
Wallace has options for the final three remaining spots on the varsity roster and believes it will be a tough task to narrow it down to six players.
“Dawson Ringler, even two years ago, was right there with these guys,” Wallace said. “He just didn’t make our team as an eighth grader. But he’s played in a ton of events over the last two summers and has played really well and put up some really good scores. We think he’ll be one of our top players.
“Turner Person is a kid who could have a really good year. He’s played a million rounds over the last couple of summers. He’s grown significantly since two years ago so he has a lot more power. He may be right in that top four as well.”
Ringer is a sophomore. Person is a junior. Another junior creating a lot of buzz due to his work ethic is sophomore Max Holmstrom.
“He worked at the Legacy and basically lived there,” Wallace said. “He played a whole bunch over the last two summers. I haven’t seen him personally swing a club, for a long time, from what I understand through our volunteer assistant coach Ryan Sharpe, is that he is really skilled. He may be one of those top guys well. There are six, or seven, or eight kids who could make this roster. We’ll just wait and see how it all shakes out.”
With the addition of Bemidji to the Central Lakes Conference, the Warriors will compete in nine conference events. They will also be in the Pequot Lakes event at Cragun’s and the Arnold Palmer Invite at Deacon’s Lodge. Brainerd will host an event for the first time in more than 20 years at The Classic at Madden’s.
“That will be fun,” Wallace said. “That course is a favorite of most people around the area. It’s going to be fun to host an event where a whole bunch of teams want to come.”
As with everything his season, there will be restrictions because of COVID-19. Teams are asked to keep athletes socially distanced. There will be designated spots on the driving range. Many events will be moved to tee times instead of shotgun starts. There will be no awards ceremony after events. Masks aren’t required on the golf course.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Head coach: Brian Wallace, 20th year
2019 finish: Third in Section 8-3A
Players with state experience: Erik Stoxen
Returning section players: Stoxen, Cole Proctor, Evan Quinn
Assistant coach: Brian Gustafson, Ryan Sharpe (volunteer assistant)
Seniors: Cole Proctor, Erik Stoxen, Evan Quinn, Tyler Peterson
Juniors: Lance Zemke, Turner Person, Zach Schaeffer
Sophomores: Dawson Ringler, Deegan Davidge, Max Holmstrom
Freshmen: Alex Ashe, Evan Shogren, Isaiah Hoffman, Landon Aulie, Marty Timmons, Peter Yeager, Ryan Kennedy, Ryan Madsen
April 16: Central Lakes Conference at Rich Springs 3:30 p.m.
April 20: Central Lakes Conference at Alexandria Golf Club 3:30 p.m.
April 21: Pequot Lakes Invite at Cragun’s Legacy Courses 8:30 a.m.
April 26: Central Lakes Conference at Pebble Lake 3:30 p.m.
April 29: Central Lakes Conference at St. Cloud Country Club 3:30 p.m.
May 3: Central Lakes Conference at Blackberry Ridge 4 p.m.
May 4: Central Lakes Conference at Eagle Creek 4 p.m.
May 7: Sectional meet at Rich Springs 9 a.m.
May 10: Central Lakes Conference at Bemidji Town and Country 9 a.m.
May 11: Arnold Palmer Invite at Deacon’s Lodge 2 p.m.
May 12: Warrior Invite at The Classic at Madden’s
May 13: Central Lakes Conference at St. Cloud Country Club noon
May 17: Central Lakes Conference at Territory Golf Club 1 p.m.
May 18: Central Lakes Conference at Cragun’s Legacy Courses 9 a.m.
June 1: Section 8-3A at Rich Spring noon
June 4: Section 8-3A at Headwaters 9 a.m.