There were some struggles in his game and inclement weather to deal with, but Brady Raph found himself among the top 10 golfers in the state for the second year in a row.
The Pine River-Backus junior fought rainy conditions on the first day of the Class 1A State Tournament on Tuesday, June 12, shooting an 81, but bounced back the following day with a 79 to finish seventh in the state.
"He shot a little higher on the first day than he wanted to," Coach Steve Heslop said. "The greens were wet in the morning and then dried out, and his putting cost him a few more shots than he was expecting. Trying to figure the wind out was a real puzzle. Sometimes it really affected your shot, and sometimes it didn't when you would compensate for it.
"He's a pretty good putter, but he was leaving a lot on the lip or just missing by an inch or two. He knew in order to come back, he had to shoot low."
Shooting a 79 on day two is more noteworthy given just six golfers cracked the 80 mark that day.
"When he shot the 79, he was feeling better," Heslop said. "We knew everyone was struggling, and it was going to be who was struggling the least. Placing in the top 10 two years in a row is pretty darn good.
"Tee to green, Brady is awesome to watch. When he got on the green, his confidence was kind of flailing after the first day ... He did well, and I'm pretty proud of him."
Boys Team scores: 1-Community Christian 655, 2-Springfield 658, 3-Fertile-Beltrami 676, 4-Lac Qui Parle Valley 676, 5-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 692, 6-North Woods 699, 7-Bethlehem Academy 738, 8-Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 754
Individual champion: Brett Reid (Community Christian) 72-73-145
Pine River-Backus results: 7t-Brady Raph 81-79-160
Seeling 15th, Neva 57th at State
In the State Class 2A tournament in Jordan, Pequot Lakes freshman Tyler Seeling shot an 80 in the rain, then a 75 on the second day to finish 15th overall.
His teammate Henry Neva opened with an opening-day 81, but dropped a few places with an 87 on the second day to finish 57th.
"The first day was not the greatest weather," Coach Steve Stoxen said. "It rained the whole time. They both let a few shots slip away ... But they both held their composure pretty well in the conditions. To stay focused when it rains on you the whole day - dealing with wet grips and having to watch where the umbrella goes - it all compounds and makes it hard to stay in tune for 18 holes."
Seeling opened with a 37 on the front nine holes on day two. He was sitting at 3-over through four holes, but birdies on holes eight and nine got him back to 1-over.
"He made a big putt on No. 7, which I think was the turning point of the round," Stoxen said. "It was five-footer uphill to save par. Then he had birdies on the next two holes. He just hung in there until he had a few breaks. Finishing in the top 15 as a freshman is pretty impressive."
Neva had some miscues in the early holes on the second day, shooting five over par through 12 holes. Despite this, Stoxen said he was impressed with the poise the Patriot junior showed.
"(Henry) had a little misfortune coming in," Stoxen said. "One big hole kind of had him, but other than that he held his composure after a few bad breaks. It was a good experience for him.
"It was a great experience for both of them ... Hopefully they come back ready to go next year."
Boys Team scores: 1-Holy Family Catholic 620, 2-Detroit Lakes 640, 3-Cloquet 641, 4-Red Wing 653, 5-Blue Earth 654, 6-Hill Murray 658, 7-St. Cloud Cathedral 676, 8-Jackson County 684
Individual champion: Cecil Belisle (Red Wing) 74-69-143
Pequot Lakes results: 15-Tyler Seeling 80-75-155, 57-Henry Neva 81-87-168