It’s a week three area golfers won’t forget.
Brainerd’s Erik Stoxen, Brainerd’s Izzy Olson and Pequot Lakes’ Tyler Seeling all played in the 2020 National High School Golf Invitational at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
The courses they played were Pinehurst No. 6, Pinehurst No. 8 and Pinehurst No. 9.
Stoxen finished the three rounds 9-over shooting 75, 72 and 78 and finished tied for 36th.
“When I first got there and went to the main clubhouse it was unbelievable,” Stoxen said.
Stoxen said he played two practice rounds with his dad prior to the tournament. One of the practice rounds he played was on Pinehurst No. 2, which has hosted multiple PGA majors.
“That was awesome,” Stoxen said. “Especially to play with my dad. Just the experience was unbelievable.”
Stoxen said he did not hit the driver much during the 54 holes of competition, which helped his success. He really excelled hitting his irons.
“My irons were the best part of my game,” Stoxen said. “I felt comfortable with every iron I had in hand. The first two days, getting off the tee helped me, too. Three-wood was my go-to club all 54 holes just to stay in play.”
Stoxen’s favorite course out of the three he played during the tournament was Pinehurst No. 8.
“It’s a hard, very challenging golf course, but if you stay in play and hit greens it was a fun golf course,” Stoxen said.
Stoxen’s favorite hole was hole seven on Pinehurst No. 6. It’s a 170 yard par 3 with water all along the right side. He birdied it.
Seeling finished the tournament tied for 111th at 24-over with rounds of 78, 79 and 83.
Olson finished tied for 68th in the girls leaderboard with rounds of 92, 86 and 84 for a total of 46-over.
One of the things Olson and Stoxen both noticed was putting and chipping on the bermuda grass at Pinehurst was more challenging than the courses in the Brainerd lakes area.
“The courses play so much different than the courses back at home,” Olson said. “All around it was a great experience.”
Olson’s game plan was just to have fun.
“I just wanted to enjoy the experience of being down here,” Olson said.
Olson’s favorite course was Pinehurst No. 6 and her favorite hole was hole three on Pinehurst No. 6.
“I liked how it layed out and there were houses on every single hole. It was really pretty,” Olson said.
A takeaway for Olson playing in the tournament was to play stress free.
“I just need to let everything flow and let it go and just hit the ball, don’t overthink it,” Olson said. “I definitely learned more about myself than just golf.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.