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Boys Golf: Evans tames the Dutch Legacy

Warrior Invite Individual highlight: Jack Evans shot 2-under 70 Team highlight: Brainerd placed fourth Next: Pequot Lakes in Brainerd Invite at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge 1:15 p.m. Thursday; Staples-Motley hosts Cardinal Invite at Cragun's ...

Brainerd Warrior Erik Stoxen uses an iron to tee off Wednesday during the Brainerd Invite at Cragun’s Legacy Courses. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch
Brainerd Warrior Erik Stoxen uses an iron to tee off Wednesday during the Brainerd Invite at Cragun’s Legacy Courses. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch

Warrior Invite

Individual highlight: Jack Evans shot 2-under 70

Team highlight: Brainerd placed fourth

Next: Pequot Lakes in Brainerd Invite at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge 1:15 p.m. Thursday; Staples-Motley hosts Cardinal Invite at Cragun's Legacy Courses 2 p.m. Wednesday

EAST GULL LAKE-Gusting winds, fast greens and fortress like pin placements stood in the way of low scores Wednesday.

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That didn't prevent Jack Evans from navigating his way around the difficult Dutch Legacy at Cragun's Legacy Courses for a 2-under-par 70 and a second-place individual finish. The Brainerd junior led the Warriors to fourth at the Warrior Invite behind Class 3A's fourth-ranked Chaska's first-place 297. Moorhead finished second and Mounds View placed third.

"The course was in great shape," said Evans. "The greens are as fast as they get in the summer. They are really pretty quick right now. Those downhillers are really rolling out. They had some pin locations today that were very difficult spots. I play here every day and those were as difficult as I've ever played them. There was no easy pin. Every one was on or near a slope. It was so hard to leave shots close, especially on the back nine. That nine was playing very tough today."

The back nine was playing two strokes harder than the front nine with an average score of 44.49 compared to 42.24 on the front nine.

Evans opened with a 3-under 33 on the front nine. Back-to-back birdies on holes one and two and holes six and seven had him at 4-under, but a bogey 4 on the par 3 eighth put him at -3 at the turn.

The varsity veteran dropped another birdie on the par 5 13th, but consecutive bogeys on 15 and 16 dropped him to his final resting point.

"There were just a few shots that I really want to have back," said Evans. "On 15, I left myself on the wrong side of that pin. I hit the chip a little thin, but even if I would have hit it great it would still have been tough to leave it close. I can't complain too much with a bogey there.

"On 16, the tee shot was good, but the ball ended up in a divot so I had to lay up on the par 5. Then I don't know what happened. Nerves got to me and I hit the wedge over the green. It happens. I'm glad I got out of there with just a bogey."

Evans used a touchy chip on 17 from behind the green on a down slope to save par. An errant tee shot at 18 prevented him from earning a stroke back on the par 5 18.

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It was still his second competitive round under par at the Legacy this year.

"Last year, breaking par was my big hurdle," Evans said. "I never could do that. I had a lot of rounds going that ended up at even or one over. This year, especially with that early round getting under par, it really helped boost my confidence. Since then I've had two or three more rounds that have been under par. I feel a lot more comfortable down the stretch, even though today it wasn't as nice as I would have liked, I still feel more comfortable playing under par."

The only player who shot better was Class 3A's sixth-ranked Lincoln Johnson of Chaska, who shot 68.

Erik Stoxen and Danny Olson shot 81s and Gavin Metz fired an 83 for Brainerd's 315.

Stoxen fired nines of 39-42. The eighth-grader knocked in birdies on the par 3 12th after sticking his drive tight. He also birdied the par 4 first hole.

Olson birdied the par 5 second hole to shoot a front-nine 39 and matched Stoxen's 42 on the back.

"Sometimes the course just plays hard and today was one of those days," said Brainerd head coach Brian Wallace. "Obviously, it affected everybody the same way and my guys have to get through those frustrations and not let that affect their play. It could easily be like that at sections and we need to be prepared for that."

Fellow eighth grader Beck Erholtz was one place away from earning a top 10 finish. The Staples-Motley Cardinal shot a 1-over 37 on the front and a 40 on the back for his 77 to lead S-M to a 12th-place 340.

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A healthy Tyler Helling shot 80. Finn Erholtz fired an 88 and Jack Benson shot 90.

Pequot Lakes placed 17th with Max Tangen's 83 leading the way. Tangen shot nines of 41-42. Henry Neva shot an 86 that included a 10 on the par 4 14th, which was averaging a stroke and a half over par for the field. That made it the most difficult hole on the course.

Both Pequot Lakes and Brainerd will play Thursday at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge. Both will be hoping for less grueling conditions.

"I don't think these higher scores are going to bug the guys too much," said Wallace. "We're going to get back at it tomorrow at the Preserve. Golf is a humbling sport and I think that's just fine because tomorrow is a new day and they will hit the reset button and be just fine. I'm pretty sure that's how it's going to work out for tomorrow. It's a different course and I think we're going to be quite a bit lower than we were today."

Team scores: 1-Chaska 297, 2-Moorhead 309, 3-Mounds View 312, 4-Brainerd 315, 5-Chanhassen 318, 6-Sartell 320, 7-Eastview 322, 8-Woodbury 327, 9-Osseo 329, 10-Elk River 332, 11-Rosemount 337, 12-Staples-Motley 340, 13-Robbinsdale Armstrong 341, 14-St. Cloud Apollo/Sauk Rapids 358, 15-Rocori 358, 16-Community Christian 373, 17-Pequot Lakes 376

Individual medalist: Lincoln Johnson (Chaska) 68

Brainerd results: Jack Evans 70, Gavin Metz 83, Erik Stoxen 81, Cody Evans 84, Danny Olson 81, Luke Johnson 92, Luke Anderson

Pequot Lakes results: Max Tangen 83, Henry Neva 86, Tyler Seeling 100, Brodie Olson 107, Tyson Kramer 99, Hunter Nybakken 108

Staples-Motley results: Beck Erholtz 77, Finn Erholtz 88, Tyler Helling 80, Jack Benson 95, Alex Giza 109, Jack Adamietz 111

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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