EAST GULL LAKE-A round of 78 seemed like a good number so four of the six Brainerd Warriors went out and shot that Wednesday, May 22, during the Legacy Invite at Cragun's Legacy Courses.
Danny Olson, Cody Evans, Erik Stoxen and Evan Quinn all fired 78s in different ways to give Brainerd a third-place 312.
Alexandria won with a 304.
The Warriors tied with Woodbury, but the tie went to Woodbury. After both No. 5 players shot 83s, the tiebreaker went to the sixth scorer, which happened to be Tyler Jordan who doesn't normally play varsity golf. The junior was filling in for a sick Gavin Metz.
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- Warrior highlight: Cody Evans, Danny Olson, Evan Quinn and Erik Stoxen all shot 78
- Area highlight: Tyler Seeling shot ninth-place 77
- Team finishes: Warriors finish third with a 312
- Next: Brainerd, Pequot Lakes in Brainerd Invite at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge in Pequot Lakes 9 a.m. Thursday, May 23.
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"Without our No. 1 player we were still only a few shots off the lead," Warrior head coach Brian Wallace said. "The guys should feel good about that and we're looking forward to next week."
Evans opened with a front nine 40. A double bogey on the third hole put the junior in the hole early. He added two more bogeys before making the turn.
"I started off with a nice par save on one and then when I got to three, I flew the green deep, which is definitely not the play," Evans said. "Then I shanked a chip. It hasn't happened yet this year, but it has to happen some time. Then I had a couple bogeys down the stretch because I was missing greens and couldn't get up and down."
He grabbed a shot back with a birdie on the par 3 12th, but rattled off three straight bogeys before finishing with a par for a 38 on the back.
"I just looked at the back nine as I hit the ball well, but I just made some dumb mistakes so I knew I could go low on the back," Evans said. "I started out well. I missed about a 3 footer for birdie on 11. I birdied 12 and made back-to-back pars. On 15, I three putted from about 20 feet so once again, just a dumb mistake."
Evans summed up his round to poor course management, but a fixable issue. That has him feeling good heading into next week's sections.
"I did recently go through a swing change with my dad and I was just trying to feel that," Evans said. "My misses didn't get me into a ton of trouble, which is nice. I'm going to play a lot. I'll mainly focus on trusting my putting stroke. My swing has always kind of been there."
Stoxen's swing hasn't been there this season. The defending Central Lakes Conference Player of the Year admitted his game has not been up to his standards, but he felt good about his round Wednesday.
The sophomore started on hole 2. He doubled the fifth hole and added consecutive bogeys before an eagle three on the par 5 ninth hole.
"At that moment I had just three putted eight so I was not in a good mood at that time," Stoxen said. "I just hit driver as hard as I could and it went down the middle. I had about 220-(yards) out and I hit a 4-iron. I figured if it draws, it draws. If it stays straight, it would still be fine. It stayed straight a little bit. I was fine with that. I know the green well so I just wanted to get my first putt close and get a tap in birdie and get out of there. It just happened to drop. It was a big confidence booster at that time."
Three bogeys and a double bogey proceeded a birdie 4 on the 18th hole for a 40 on the back nine for Stoxen.
"I'm very happy with my 78 actually," Stoxen said. "I hit the ball well, but not many putts dropped for me today. I have struggled this year. I struggled with my ball flight at the beginning of the year. I've gotten it back to normal so hopefully I can get some rounds in before sections.
"A big confidence booster for me would be hitting the fairways. I only hit two fairways today and not many putts dropped."
Olson carded matching 39s for his nines. But it didn't start great with an opening bogey. He was four over before a birdie on the ninth hole put him in the right direction.
"I did have to adjust my game because of the weather," Olson said. "I was trying to flight the ball a lot lower. The rain was killing the ball for sure. Things weren't rolling out on the green or the fairway so I had to adjust for that.
"The first nine was pretty tough, especially starting out with a bogey, par and another bogey. I've been starting a lot of my rounds kind of rough this year. In the past, I feel that has gotten in my head a little bit. Now, senior year, it's kind of like just go out there and do what you do best. I did that today and it turned out pretty well."
It was the same story on the back nine, however, as Olson bogeyed 10 and then added a double and another bogey to get to 4-over before hitting a beautiful approach shot to inches. The tap in birdie gave him his 39.
"For me, this year it's been all mental," Olson said. "I feel like my physical game has always been there, but I kind of approached this year with a new attitude. It's the last time doing this so I'm going to have fun and see what I can do."
Evan Quinn was the other 78. The sophomore opened with a 37 on the front thanks to birdies on the second and ninth hole. Quinn's back nine started with a double bogey and then three straight bogeys before he righted the ship and made par the rest of the nine for a 41.
Cole Proctor fired an 83 for the Warriors.
The area's best score came from Pequot Lakes' Tyler Seeling who finished ninth with a 77 and led the Patriots to 13th place. Seeling shot 76 in perfect conditions Monday on the Dutch Legacy.
Wednesday's Invite was also the final Central Lakes Conference meet. Alexandria captured the conference crown.
Sartell's Logan Hamak won the individual conference title.
All six Warriors landed all-conference honors. Metz finished fifth, Evans sixth, Stoxen ninth, Quinn 11th, Olson 12th and Proctor 14th.
Team scores: 1-Alexandria 304, 2-Woodbury 312, 3-Brainerd 312, 4-Chanhassen 316, 5-Chaska 319, 6-Sartell 320, 7-Moorhead 321, 8-Bemidji 327, 9-Elk River 330, 10-Rogers 335, 11-Fergus Falls 338, 12-St. Cloud Tech 339, 13-Pequot Lakes 339, 14-Rocori 346, 15-Brainerd White 357, 16-Osseo 369, 17-Willmar 377
Individual medalist: Ian Simonich (Moorhead) 72
Brainerd results: Cody Evans 78, Danny Olson 78, Erik Stoxen 78, Evan Quinn 78, Cole Proctor, Tyler Jordan 91
Pequot Lakes results: Tyler Seeling 77, Henry Neva 86, Luke Tangen 96, Brodie Olson 88, Hunter Nybakken 88, Quady Bernu 94
Brainerd white results: Daniel Johnson 89, Mason Trott 95, Dawson Ringler 86, Max Holmstrom 92, Luke Saiko 90
Final CLC standings:1-Alexandria 40, 2-Brainerd 34, 3-Sartell 31, 4-St. Cloud Tech 21.5, 5-Fergus Falls 20, 6-Rocori 18.5, 7-Willmar 10, 8-Sauk Rapids 5