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Warriors Athlete of Week: Fashionable Foley one of Brainerd's leaders

Joe Foley Sport: Golf Year: Senior Age: 18 Height: 5-foot-8 Career highlight: Spending a day in 2012 with Davis Love III at a charity golf event in South Carolina. Love was Ryder Cup captain that year Favorite class: Yoga Favorite food: Steak Fav...

Brainerd Warrior golfer Joe Foley studies the slope of a green during the Pequot Lakes Invite at Cragun's Legacy Courses last week. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)
Brainerd Warrior golfer Joe Foley studies the slope of a green during the Pequot Lakes Invite at Cragun's Legacy Courses last week. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)

Joe Foley

Sport: Golf

Year: Senior

Age: 18

Height: 5-foot-8

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Career highlight: Spending a day in 2012 with Davis Love III at a charity golf event in South Carolina. Love was Ryder Cup captain that year

Favorite class: Yoga

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite movie: "Caddyshack"

Favorite TV show: "The Office"

Favorite website: Twitter

Hobbies: Fly fishing

Future plans: Play golf at Grand View University, Des Moines, Iowa, major in business & sport management

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Favorite golfer: Billy Horschel

Parents: Chris and Amy Foley

His flashy attire often includes bow ties and bright colored shirts, slacks and jackets.

There's no question that Joe Foley is a snappy dresser. He takes after his father, Chris Foley, a PGA Master Professional and Director of Instruction at Cragun's Legacy Courses, as well as a few of his favorite pro golfers.

"Looking at the way my dad dresses, I've always kind of liked it," the Brainerd Warriors senior golfer said. "It was flashy but it wasn't too out there and I kind of liked that. Then I started looking on TV at guys like Davis Love III, Billy Horschel and Webb Simpson. They all kind of dress the same way. They all happen to be some of my favorite players so I thought why not try to pull that look off?"

Foley is pulling off that fashionable look while marking down some low rounds for the Warriors during a cold spring. The week of April 17-23, he was medalist with a 77 in a Central Lakes Conference meet at Wapicada Golf Club in Sauk Rapids and runner-up with a 73-76--149 in the Pequot Lakes Invite at Cragun's.

"He's just so consistent with his golf game right now," Warriors coach Brian Wallace said. "He doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low. He's able to recover from some adversity on the golf course. That's a testament to his mental control, and mental control in this game is what it's all about.

"They all have the physical skills to play that well. Joe's ability to keep it under control mentally is what makes the difference."

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Foley's showing at Wapicada was a bit surprising since he has struggled on that course.

"It's a course in the past that has really kicked my butt," he said. "It's had my number a few times, not the whole course, but a few specific holes. I played very conservatively on holes that have given me fits through the years.

"For the most part, I executed my game plan very well that day. I found myself driving the ball well, but I didn't hit a lot of greens. I think maybe I hit eight greens that day. My wedge play saved my butt."

Wallace said Foley turned in a good showing in the second CLC meet of the season.

"It was not the greatest score, but it was the lowest of the day, and that says something," Wallace said. "The weather conditions certainly were not real desirable for golf but shooting the low round for a group of people you've done something well.

"Joe played consistently. He didn't have any big holes. He didn't get too excited about anything and wound up shooting 5-over which was a great score for the day."

Two days after that CLC meet, Foley shot 73 on the first day of the Pequot Invite and added a 76 the second day.

"Other than being my home course, where I play and practice, probably the fact it was really windy the first day, and it was kind of cold, everyone started to complain about the weather," Foley said. "At that point, I told myself let's not complain, let's accept the conditions and move on, let everyone else suffer."

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Wallace said Foley's performance at the Legacy demonstrated his ability to remain in control of his emotions.

"He went on a string of four or five holes that he birdied in a row," Wallace said, "then it was just kind of a shrug of the shoulders and play on. There wasn't anything to get too excited about. He had a great string of holes, but it didn't affect the rest of his round. Later on, when he had a couple bogeys, it didn't bother him either.

"That's where he needs to be the rest of the season to make his future rounds as successful as these were."

Foley believes his putting stroke has improved dramatically since 2015 while he continues to work on his wedge play.

"I've hit probably close to 90,000 putts this year on my putting arc at home," he said. "I spend each day hitting close to 500 to 1,000 putts a night. We have a little flat green in our basement. I spend hour after hour working on putting.

"My wedge play from 50 to 100 yards needs the most work, which is what I've been working on since the ranges opened up (this spring)."

This spring's success doesn't revolve around Foley although he has been instrumental in Brainerd winning three of its first five meets including shooting 300 on the first day of the Legacy event.

"I'm really happy how the team's done so far," Foley said. "It's been cool to see, especially with how young we are. That being said, there's still a ton of work to do before the section starts. We want to make sure we're still grooming ourselves, hitting the ball well by that time.

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"I think the biggest thing is to stay positive, ride out the lows and highs and keep playing steady, stay level-headed, stay humble."

Foley's contributions haven't only been on the course. He and fellow senior Andrew Muesing are the team's captains.

"I hope personally I can set an example with the way I practice and work at practice so these younger guys know what the right thing to do is when they're at the course," Foley said. "I want to carry myself to a level that's a lot higher level than other players so the younger guys coming up know what's expected of them, like when we go to an away meet, or even at the Pines at the end of the season. Simple things like going in and thanking the guy in the golf shop make a world of difference."
Wallace said this season has not only been about Foley's scores.

"His senior leadership with the younger kids has been great as well," Wallace said. "He's helping them out. He knows a lot about the swing. He can teach others. That says a lot about who he is. That helps the team out as a whole."

Other notable efforts:

โ€ข Meritt Miller and Emma Smith, girls track, each won two events at the Brainerd Invite.

โ€ข Lexi Roby, softball, homered and doubled vs. Sartell.

โ€ข Chris Pederson, baseball, went 2-for-3 with two RBIs vs. Sartell.

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MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

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