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Boys Golf: Warriors in contention after first round

Section 8-3A Individual highlight: Jack Evans shot a 4-over, fourth-place 76 Team highlight: Warriors land in second 12 shots off lead Next: Brainerd in Section 8-3A final round at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge, Pequot Lakes, 9 a.m. Thursday, ...

Brainerd Warrior Gavin Metz drives during the first round of the Section 8-3A tournament Wednesday at The Preserve. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch Gallery
Brainerd Warrior Gavin Metz drives during the first round of the Section 8-3A tournament Wednesday at The Preserve. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch Gallery

Section 8-3A

Individual highlight: Jack Evans shot a 4-over, fourth-place 76

Team highlight: Warriors land in second 12 shots off lead

Next: Brainerd in Section 8-3A final round at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge, Pequot Lakes, 9 a.m. Thursday, June 1

PEQUOT LAKES-Jack Evans broke the big picture down into smaller pieces Wednesday.

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Following the opening round of the Section 8-3A tournament, the Brainerd Warriors found themselves in second place, but 12 shots off the lead, which is held by Alexandria.

The Cardinals opened the two-day tournament with a 305 on the speedy, windy Preserve at Grand View Lodge. Alexandria was followed by Brainerd's 317, Buffalo's 318, Moorhead's 319, Sartell's 322 and St. Cloud Tech's 326. Those six teams advance to Thursday's final round with the top team advancing to state.

Twelve strokes is a daunting margin to make up, unless you think like Evans.

"Absolutely we can make that up," said Evans. "Our team last year was eight strokes in the lead and we lost by more than one stroke. With that being said, we know how it feels to have that taken away from us and we know it's possible.

"Twelve strokes-if that situation hadn't happened last year, it would have felt like an eternity to get back, but we know three strokes a guy for four guys is doable."

Evans opened with a fourth-place 76. Back-to-back double bogeys on his first nine followed by another bogey had the Central Lakes Conference season champion at 5-over through his first nine.

A bogey on the par 4 14th was erased by a birdie on the par 4 15th. Evans also birdied the downhill par 3 17th to finish at 4-over, three strokes off the lead held by Willmar's Levi Hauser.

"Don't be fooled by the 71 degrees and sunny outside, this was as difficult as this course has played in a long time," said Evans. "The wind was deceivingly difficult. It made approach shots very challenging. These greens to begin with are already very difficult to putt on and you put them at the speeds they were at today and making putts outside of short range were very tough."

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Brainerd's Gavin Metz shot 78 putting him in 12th place. The top team and the top five players not on that team after Thursday's final round will advance to state. After Wednesday, Metz is just one shot out of contention of returning to the state tournament.

The sophomore was held without a birdie, but stayed away from any big numbers. He carded six bogeys.

Cody Evans shot 81. Danny Olson fired an 82 and Erik Stoxen and Luke Johnson shot 85s.

Cody Evans posted Brainerd's best front nine with a 2-over 38, but followed with a 43 on the back. Olson was just the opposite, scoring a 38 on the back and a 44 on the front.

"I think the greens were the only thing that took us by surprise," Evans said. "The course itself, we kind of knew what it was going to be like. We know when the wind gets up this course is tough, but the greens today were a lot different than what they were in the past."

One advantage will be the pairs. Brainerd will see first hand how Alexandria is doing as they'll be paired with the Cardinals for the second straight round. Moorhead and Buffalo will also be in the grouping.

"We know what we have to beat and playing with the other guys helps a lot, too," said Evans. "For me, the competition, it helps me get focused and play better when I know what I have to beat. Like the invite at the Legacy. I was down a bunch to the first-round leader, but playing with him the next day really helped me know where he was in the round and where I had to be.

"I think our whole team benefits from a bit of extra competition. We have a really good group of guys that can come back and win this."

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Team scores: 1-Alexandria 305,2- Brainerd 317, 3-Buffalo 318, 4-Moorhead 319, 5-Sartell 322, 6-St. Cloud Tech 326, 7-Bemidji 330, 8-Monticello 336, 9-Willmar 343, 10-Big Lake 362, 11-St. Cloud Apollo 362, 12-Sauk Rapids 399

First-round leader: Levi Hauser (Willmar) 73

Brainerd results: Jack Evans 76, Gavin Metz 78, Erik Stoxen 85, Cody Evans 81, Danny Olson 82, Luke Johnson 85

Advancing teams to Thursday: Alexandria, Brainerd, Moorhead, Buffalo, Sartell, St. Cloud Tech

Related Topics: BOYS GOLFBRAINERD WARRIORS
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