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State Golf: Warriors' Evans, Stoxen 4 shots off pace in Class 3A

Brainerd's Erik Stoxen blasts out of a bunker on No. 3 during the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Club. Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

Brainerd Warriors Jack Evans and Erik Stoxen are tied for sixth with eight other golfers following the first round of the Class 3A state tournament Tuesday, June 12, at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.

Evans, a senior in his second state appearance, shot 35-37--72. Stoxen, a freshman in his first state trip, also shot 72 with rounds of 33-39.

Warriors coach Brian Wallace said Evans and Stoxen opened on the front side, which is usually considered the more difficult of the two.

"They hung in there on the tough side, then they really played well on the back side," Wallace said. "It was pretty cool to see them just fight through some holes where they didn't score the greatest, but when they got to the back they really turned it on."

Evans said he hit the ball as well as he has all season.

"I was getting off the tee well, hitting my iron shots awesome, my proximity to the hole on all my approaches was great," Evans said. "I was having some shots that I left out there with the putter. Toward the end of the round they started to correct themselves. It was a good day."

Stoxen said he had no birdies on the front and at one point was 4-over on the back when he found his game and recorded four birdies and two pars on his last six holes.

"I was getting off the tee and putting pretty well," Stoxen said. "Those were the two big things."

Junior Gavin Metz, in his third state trip, was tied for 58th with 38-42--80. Metz finished seventh at state last year.

"He's definitely not where he wanted to come in with his first round," Wallace said. "That was higher than his normal average. Things just weren't going very well for him today from the start."

Raph tied for 4th

Pine River-Backus sophomore Brady Raph was tied for fourth with three other golfers after the opening round of the Class 1A state tournament at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.

Raph shot 34-41--75. Khrystjan Petersen of Bethlehem Academy is the first-round leader with a 68.

"Brady did a good job," PR-B coach Steve Heslop said. "He's a good solid player. He just could not miss a putt. He was just unbelievable putting on the front side. That's where he basically scored. The back side he just played solid.

'He's in good shape. He's looking forward to it (Wednesday)."

Erholtz 31st

Staples-Motley's Beck Erholtz was tied for 31st with eight others after the first round of the Class 2A state tournament at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. The Cardinal freshman shot 41-37--78.

"He had a shaky start," Cardinals coach Glen Hasselberg said. "He started on the front nine and shot 41. Then he battled back, hung in there and shot 37 on the back.

"For his first outing down here, and as a freshman, he's got a lot of places to improve. We'll see what happens (Wednesday)."

Peterson in 38th

Alix Peterson of Staples-Motley was in 38th place with a 42-45--87 in the first round in Class 2A at the Ridges at Sand Creek.

"That seems to be her number recently," Hasselberg said. "She had two 87s at the section and followed that up today.

"She had a solid round. She could have lowered her putt count a little bit. She had a couple of hiccups but 87 for her first outing here—I look for an improvement (Wednesday) from her."

Tigers 56th, 72nd

Anna Felthous of Pine River-Backus was tied for 56th at 52-52--104 after the first round in Class 1A at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker. Teammate Bella Netland was tied for 72nd with a 109 after rounds of 60-49.

"That's kind of where she's been shooting this year," Tigers coach Mark Gonnion said of Felthous. "Given this tournament being a little more stress-filled, that's certainly not a bad score for her. Bella's first round was a 49, which was very respectable. She had some trouble on a couple of holes.

"I think they're looking forward to getting out (Wednesday) and putting down a couple of decent rounds. Both of those girls maybe will have a little less pressure on that second day. Their initial goals were to shoot a couple rounds in the 90s. I wouldn't be surprised (Wednesday) if they can get to that and maybe even a little bit more."