BREEZY POINT-Jack Evans readily admits this spring has not been up to par.
The Brainerd Warrior senior has struggled with consistency. He said it's been a product of bad mechanics and mental breakdowns. After Wednesday's round, those might be behind him
Evans shot a 1-under par 71 to tie for low round in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Deacon's Lodge. Evans tied with Tommy Buck of Armstrong and Pine River-Backus' Brady Raph.
A scorecard playoff landed Evans in second and Raph in third.
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Arnold Palmer Invite
- Individual highlight: Brainerd's Jack Evans and PR-B's Brady Raph both shot 71
- Team highlight: Warriors score team-low 305
- Mid-Minn Conference winner: Raph won individual title, Pequot won team title
- Next: Brainerd in Central Lakes Conference Meet at Alexandria Golf Club 4 p.m., Monday, May 21; Aitkin, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes, Staples-Motley, Wadena-Deer Creek at Mid-Minn Meet, Cragun's Legacy Golf Course noon, Monday, May 21.
For photo gallery go to https://bit.ly/2KrYqCL
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"It went well," Evans said. "I hit the ball well. It was kind of fun because it's been a slow start to the season, but it was fun to finally get a round where I felt confident in my swing.
"It's been a difficult start to the season both physically and emotionally. I came out of the winter with some swing flaws. I don't know where to credit that from. Maybe this past winter when I broke my hand for hockey so I couldn't get into the simulator for a couple of months. Maybe that had something to do with it."
Evans' 71 helped Brainerd earn the team title with a 305, which is the third-best score in the tournament's 18-year history. Evans was followed by Erik Stoxen's 74, Gavin Metz's 77 and an 83 from Daniel Johnson.
"Our team has the physical talent to make it to a state tournament and potentially do well," Evans said. "We just need to stay confident. We need to not get too pressured that this is a section tournament. In the years past, I think that's what happened. We had teams that were good enough to go and we've just underperformed at the section meet. This year, we're going to try and keep it calm. Keep it loose and try and play it like any other meet."
"I started out the round really well and had some hiccups in the middle and a couple of three putts and just unforced errors that should have been corrected," Evans said. "It was fun getting to that back side and starting off with a birdie to get some confidence to get back into the round and to build off that.
"I've had rounds this year where I've had good starts to a nine and wasn't able to hold on to it or build off of it. Today I was able to do that."
Raph's goal is to improve on his score from last year. The Pine River-Backus sophomore is making next year difficult. Raph bettered his score, but fell one spot from where he finished last year. As a freshman, Raph fired a second-place 74.
"I was hitting every shot that I wanted to hit so it was working out," Raph said. "The greens were receptive and the pins were in a good spot for my shot shape it seemed like. The par 5s I was able to hit a long iron into them. There was no reason not to."
After opening with a 1-over 37 on the back, Raph carded a 2-under par 34 on the front. Raph is coming off a 70 Saturday at The Quarry at Giants Ridge and is feeling confident with a club in his hands.
"Wedges are working really well," Raph said. "It seems like I'm hitting 12 to 14 greens and giving myself birdie opportunities. The putter is working out. I missed like three 4-footers for birdie today so it could have been better. I can't complain really.
"I'm getting pretty confident as the year has gone on," Raph said. "It seems like time I want to hit draw I can hit a draw and every time I need to hit a fade I can hit that, too. I can work it both ways with any club it seems like. That really helps."
Pequot Lakes was the top area team with a fourth-place 328 led by Henry Neva's 10th-place 80. The Patriots won the Mid-Minn Conference portion of Wednesday's event to build on their conference lead.
Crosby-Ironton placed sixth and was led by Casey Finnerty's 79. Staples-Motley got matching 84s from Beck and Finn Erholtz to place eighth. Raph did win the conference individual title to lead PR-B to seventh.
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 305, 2-St. Cloud Tech 322, 3-Armstrong 327, 4-Pequot Lakes 328, 5-Moorhead 331, 6-Crosby-Ironton 334, 7-Pine River-Backus 350, 8-Staples-Motley 368, 9-St. Cloud Apollo 386
Individual medalist: Tommy Buck (Armstrong) 71
Aitkin results: Sam Sadlowsky 78
Brainerd results: 2-Jack Evans 71, 6-Gavin Metz 77, Danny Olson 90, 4-Erik Stoxen 74, Luke Anderson 85, Daniel Johnson 83
Crosby-Ironton results: Cayden Turk 86, 7-Casey Finnerty 79, Colten Turk 85, Carsen Turk 88, Zach Spalj 92, Brehndan Knox 101
Pequot Lakes results: John Marchwick 89, 10-Henry Neva 80, Luke Tangen 81, Brodie Olson 83, Tyler Seeling 84, Ben Golden 97
Pine River-Backus results: 3-Brady Raph 71, Keenan Dahl 83, Tyler DeGrote 100, Brady Bristow 96, Joe Zackowski 132, Ethan Tulenchik 128
Staples-Motley results: Beck Erholtz 84, Finn Erholtz 84, Jack Benson 97, Alex Giza 104, Alex Rosenthal 103, Jack Adamietz 110
Mid-Minn standings: 1-Pequot Lakes 152, 2-Crosby-Ironton 133, 3-Staples-Motley 126.5, 4-Pine River-Backus 125, 5-Wadena-Deer Creek 49, 6-Aitkin 21.5
2017: Moorhead 307
2016: Brainerd 318
2015: Brainerd 317
2014: Forest Lake 325
2013: Staples-Motley 308
2012: Staples-Motley 302
2011: Moorhead 303
2010: Brainerd 313
2009: Staples-Motley 312
2008: Brainerd 331
2007: Brainerd 306
2006: Brainerd 308
2005: Brainerd 318
2004: Fergus Falls 320
2003: Staples-Motley 320
2002: Shattuck-St. Mary's 335
2001: Brainerd 45-over par for 15 holes
2000: Brainerd 325
2017: Alex Schwab, Moor 72
2016: Andrew Israelson, SM, 74
2015: Dane Sethre-Hofstad, Moorhead, 74
2014: Ethan Neitzke, PL 76
2013: Bailey Mueller, Park Rapids, Chris Swenson, FF 73s
2012: Nick Forsberg, SM 71
2011: Nick Forsberg, SM 73
2010: Sean Haverson, Brd 74
2009: Nick Forsberg, SM 75
2008: Tyler Monda, Brd 77
2007: Dan Bidle, Virginia 73
2006: Sam Holland, Brd 75
2005: Tom Boyer, Brd 73
2004: Tom Boyer, Brd 74
2003: Pat Helling, SM 76
2002: Lucas Brick, Brd 79
2001: Michael Grieme, WDC 4-over par for 15 holes
2000: Ben Barr, Shattuck St. Mary's 77