BREEZY POINT-For the first time in tournament history, the host hoisted the first-place medals.
Led by Casey Finnerty's first place 1-over-par 73, the Crosby-Ironton Rangers captured the Arnold Palmer Invite Wednesday, May 15, with a team score of 323.
It's C-I's first victory in the 20-year history of the event. The Rangers' score was a shot better than Armstrong and Brainerd, both of which shot 324. The tie-breaker went to Armstrong.
Finnerty, a junior, carded a front-nine 38 and rallied with a 1-under 35 on the back. He recorded four birdies to combat two double bogeys and a bogey for one of his best varsity rounds.
"Everything kind of just came together," Finnerty said. "I didn't do anything spectacular, but I was hitting greens and getting up and down. I was hitting fairways and making 5-footers.
"I noticed quickly that as the ball died down it broke a lot. I tried to die most of my putts into the hole."
Finnerty said his game was on the upswing entering the invite. He came into Wednesday after shooting 78 and 75. The 75 was during the Mid-State Conference tournament, which Finnerty helped C-I claim a share of the title.
"I'm happy," Finnerty said. "After the first hole, I doubled, I just tried to get back to even. I clawed back and tried to birdie every hole I could. I was looking for pars on the par holes and to attack the birdie holes.
"I'm really happy. I've been practicing a lot and it was good to put it to the test."
Cayden Turk and Frank Meyer each shot 83s and Colton Turk fired an 84 for the Rangers, who have now won two straight.
"Obviously the goal is to go to state," Finnerty said. "That's the goal. That's the ultimate goal. I'm happy with how my teammates are playing. I have to rely on them. I'm trying to make them better every day."
Pine River-Backus' Keenan Dahl fired a personal best 75 to finish second individually and lead the Tigers to eighth.
Staples-Motley's Beck Erholtz tied for third with a 76 to lead the Cardinals to sixth place.
Erholtz tied with Brainerd's Gavin Metz. The Warriors were coming off a season-low score of 299 at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Fergus Falls. Brainerd, which was missing Cody Evans because of a church obligation, struggled early said Warrior head coach Brian Wallace.
"The greens were very different from Monday," Wallace said. "We went from putting on shag carpet to putting on linoleum. That's not easy for anyone. But, with that said, we need to hit the ball a lot better than we did today. But it's just like golf. You think you have it all figured out and it will just body slam you. That's what happened today. There is no way around it. You just have to hit the reset button."
Cole Proctor shot 81 followed by Danny Olson's 83 and Evan Quinn's 84.
Pequot Lakes finished fifth as a team and was led by Tyler Seeling's fifth-place 78. Henry Neva placed eighth with his 80 as did Aitkin's Sam Sadlowsky, who led the Gobblers to ninth place.
Team scores: 1-Crosby-Ironton 323, 2-Brainerd 324, 3-Armstrong 324, 4-St. Cloud Tech 332, 5-Pequot Lakes 334, 6-Staples-Motley 339, 7-Moorhead 342, 8-Pine River-Backus 439, 9-Aitkin 432, 10-Wadena-Deer Creek Inc.
Individual medalist: Casey Finnerty (CI) 73
Aitkin results: 8-Sam Sadlowsky 80, Tyler Brill 106, Nathan Stifter 130, Jacob Espeseth 116, Thomas Gustin 134
Brainerd results: 3t-Gavin Metz 76, Erik Stoxen 89, Danny Olson 83, Evan Quinn 84, Cole Proctor 81, Mason Trott 95
Crosby-Ironton results: Cayden Turk 83, Casey Finnerty 73, Colton Turk 84, Joe Stockman 89, Frank Meyer 83, Will Meyer 96
Pequot Lakes results: 5-Tyler Seeling 78, 8-Henry Neva 80, Luke Tangen 92, Brodie Olson 97, Hunter Nybakken 104, Quady Bernu 84
Pine River-Backus results: Brady Raph 81, 2-Keenan Dahl 75, Tyler DeGrote 95, Brady Bristow 98, Joe Zaczkowski 115
Staples-Motley results: 3t-Beck Erholtz 76, Finn Erholtz 85, Jack Benson 89, Adam Oberlander 109, Alex Rosenthal 89, Alex Giza 95
Wadena-Deer Creek results: Kade Woods 98, Cole Woods 99
Deacon's Lodge Invite
Next: Brainerd in Central Lakes Conference meet at Alexandria Golf Club 4 p.m. Monday, May 20; Pequot Lakes at Bemidji Invite 1 p.m. Friday, May 17; Aitkin, Crosby-Ironton, Staples-Motley, Pine River-Backus, Wadena-Deer Creek in Pillager Invite at Cragun's Legacy Courses noon Monday, May 20
2018: Brainerd 305
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
2018: Tommy Buck, Armstrong 71
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