Pine River-Backus' Brady Raph just keeps on getting better.
The Tiger sophomore finished his third-straight state appearance with a second-round 75 Wednesday, June 13, matching his opening day score for 150 total. The score earned him a fourth-place tie with one other golfer in the Class 1A state tournament at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.
"He had a great season," said PR-B head boys coach Steve Heslop. "He finished 16th last year and he improved to fourth this year and walked away with a medal. It doesn't get much better than that."
Raph's 16th place finish last year as a freshman came with a 165, after he tied for 39th as an eighth-grader with 171.
His 150 this year tied him with Tate Olson from North Woods, both six strokes behind medalist Ben Laffin who led Sleepy Eye United to a first-place tie with Mounds Park Academy for the team Class 1A team championship.
Raph's consistent rounds at state this year were not quite up to his performance in the Section 6-1A tournament, when he blew out the competition with a two-day 143 that gave him the section title by 15 strokes.
"He had a lot of confidence after the section coming into the tournament," said Heslop. "He's also played in a lot of summer tournaments and is familiar with a lot of the top players in his age bracket. He got into a little bit of trouble today, but was able to get out of it and he finished strong.
"He really is fun to coach. He's just a nice young man and appreciative of everything that happens around him. And he works hard, really hard. Golf is kind of lonely sport and you have to put in your time."
Perhaps the best thing about Raph according to Heslop-he's going to be around for a couple more years.
For more photos of Brady Raph go to https://bit.ly/2JGInAZ.
Class 1A Boys
Individual medalist: Ben Laffen 34-37-36-37--144
Pine River-Backus: Brady Raph 34-41-38-37--150
Stoxen 25th, Evans 38th, Metz 29th
Brainerd's Erik Stoxen and Jack Evans struggled during the second day of the Class 3A state tournament Wednesday while Gavin Metz bounced back from a disappointing first round to move up in the final standings at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.
Stoxen and Evans were tied for sixth with eight others following rounds of 75 on Tuesday.
In Wednesday's final round, Stoxen shot 79 (40-39) for a 151 total that tied him for 25th with six others. Evans came in with an 81 (42-39) for a 153 and 38th place.
Stoxen, a freshman, was making his first state tournament appearance while Evans, a senior, was in his second state tournament. Evans placed 67th as a freshman in 2015 when he fired rounds of 82-84 for a 166.
"If you are trying to make up a few strokes in a two-day event, you sometimes press a little bit and things just work out," said Brainerd boys head golf coach Brian Wallace. "That's just the way golf is. I think they were just trying to push a little too hard and sometimes that works against you.
"I'm really proud of fact that we had three kids down there. They represented Brainerd really well and I was very proud of how well they played."
Metz, a junior, was in his third state tournament, but had a disappointing first round Tuesday when he shot an 80 (38-42) that had him sitting 58th. He settled down for the final round shaving six strokes off his first day score coming in with a 74 (37-37) for a total 154. That moved him up 19 places in the final standings to a tie for 39th with four others.
"Yesterday was kind of a rough patch," said Metz. "I was off yesterday. I hit a lot more greens today than I did yesterday, and I thought I hit the ball better today."
"Gavin plays best when he's relaxed," said Wallace. "I think that after the first day when he knew he would have a tough time placing, he relaxed and played much better today."
Last year, Metz tied for seventh with a 146 and he was 77th in 2015 as a freshman with a 167.
"I want to go back next year and have a good solid first round," said Metz, "to try to get off to a good start.
"Being down there three times is amazing. I don't think anyone from Brainerd has done it before. That's what what my coach told me. I want to go back next year and have a good solid first round, to try to get off to a good start."
Wayzata's Tristan Neiko took medalist honors with a 139 and Maple Grove captured the team championship.
Class 3A Boys
Individual medalist: Tristan Neiko (Wayzata) 31-37-33-38--139
Brainerd results: 25(t)-Erik Stoxen 33-39-40-39-151, 38-Jack Evans 35-37-42-39--153, 39(t)- Gavin Metz 38-42-37-37--154
Erholtz improves to 14th
Staples-Motley's Beck Erholtz overcame his opening day jitters and shaved seven strokes off his first-day 78, finishing tied for 14th in the Class 2A state tournament Wednesday at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
The Cardinal ninth-grader turned in a 71 (35-36) final round to go with his first-day 78 (41-37) for a two-day total 149 in his first state tournament appearance. He was tied with three others, 12 strokes behind medalist Nate Diezel of East Grand Forks.
Following Tuesday's first round, he was tied for 31st with eight others.
Class 2A Boys
Individual medalist: Nate Deziel (EGF) 34-35-32-36--137
Staples-Motley: 14(t)-Beck Erholtz 41-37-35-36--149
S-M's Peterson finishes 31st
Alix Peterson of Staples-Motley moved up seven places on the leaderboard to finish 31st following the final round of the Class 2A state tournament Wednesday at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.
The Cardinal sophomore, playing in her first state tournament, fired a second-day 85 (44-41), two strokes better than her opening 87, that left her with a two-day total of 172. She was sitting 38th after the first day.
Her 87-85 rounds were consistent with her scores from the Section 6-2A tournament, where she placed third with matching rounds of 87.
Medalist honors went to Sophia Yoemans (63-66--129) from Red Wing, which as a team finished third behind Detroit Lakes and Marshall in the team standings.
Class 2A Girls
Individual medalist: Sophia Yoemans (Red Wing) 30-33-34-32--129
Staples-Motley: 31-Alix Peterson 42-45-44-41--172
PR-B's Felthous 56th, Netland 80th
Pine River-Backus sophomores Anna Felthous and Bella Netland finished 56th and 80th, respectively, in their first state appearances following the final round in the Class 1A state tournament Wednesday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.
Felthous, who is playing only her second year of competitive golf, carded a 105 (52-53) in the final round for a two-day 209 that left her 56th, the same position she was in after firing an opening round 52-52 Tuesday.
Netland dropped from 72nd to 80th place after coming in with a 118 (52-66) in the second round for a two-day total 227. She shot a 109 (60-49) in the opening round.
Rachel Halvorson took medalist honors with a 155 that led her Lac qui Parle Valley teammates to a one-stroke team championship over Fillmore Central.
Class 1A Girls
Individual medalist: Rachel Halvorson (Lac qui Parle Valley) 37-39-36-43--155
Pine River-Backus results: 56-Anna Felthous 52-52-52-53--209, 80-Bella Netland 60-49-52-66--227