NISSWA — Michael Foley wanted to return with flair.
The senior didn’t shoot the score he wanted Wednesday, nor did he win the Pines Invite at Grand View Lodge as he had hoped, but his presence did bring back a little swagger to his Brained Warriors teammates.
Foley, who moved back to Brainerd from South Carolina this spring, carded a 76 in his first competitive round this season to lead the Warriors to 10th at their own tournament.
With Foley in the lineup and warmer weather, Brainerd shaved 23 strokes from a disappointing showing in the Pequot Lakes Invite April 19 at the Pines.
“I think Michael’s return is going to go a long way,” said Warriors head coach Brian Wallace. “We have this tournament under our belt and we go into (Thursday) with a lot more confidence. I think they’ll all have a lot better round on Thursday.”
Foley’s first nine was an admitted struggle as he carded a 40 on the Woods course. He did birdie the ninth hole to give him momentum heading into his back nine — the Marsh. A birdie on the third hole helped the varsity veteran to a 36.
“I struggled from the beginning and I had a couple of three-putts,” said Foley. “It’s always tough to come back and play in the first meet of the season, especially after sitting around waiting to play. I didn’t feel like I prepared all that well for this, but I pulled it together and shot 36 on the back nine. It could have been a little bit lower on the back, but 36 was OK.
“It was tough, because I think that’s the most nervous I’ve been for a long time, especially coming back to the Pines and playing for Brainerd again. It feels great to be back playing for the Warriors.”
Brainerd’s Tommy Olson shaved five strokes off his score from last week to shoot an 81 Wednesday. The senior birdied his first hole on the Woods, but finished with two doubles to go out in 42. He brought it back with a 39 on the Marsh.
“Last week was a long week,” said Olson. “Just getting back into the competitive swing is going to be important for us. Competitive golf is definitely different than going out and playing for fun. We just have to get used to that more and just keep getting better.”
Olson said he putted better than last week, but he’s still not happy with his ball striking. As for the team, he said it’s all mental.
“We need a good mindset,” Olson said. “That’s definitely the problem with us right now. I think we’re thinking too much and putting too much pressure on ourselves. We’re all capable of shooting good scores so we just have to go out there and do that.”
T.J. Perpich shot an 80 and Thomas Stoxen an 83 for the Warriors’ 420, which was 16 shots behind first-place Minnetonka.
Rogers’ Corey Muenzhuber tied a tournament record with his 4-under-par 68 for individual honors.
Staples-Motley’s Nick Forsberg fired nines of 34-37 for a 1-over 71 to place in the top 10 individually and lead the Cardinals to 11th at 322
Forsberg started birdie, birdie on the Woods and added a birdie 3 on the sixth hole for his 34. He tallied another birdie on the par 5 first of the Marsh, but dropped three shots on his next four holes. He birdied the ninth for his 37.
Andrew Israelson fired a 79 for S-M. Michael Strain faltered from his score of 76 last week with an 85 Wednesday and Trent Hagenson’s 87 produced S-M’s team score.
Pequot Lakes finished 17th and was led by 86s from Alex Goerges and Cole Bliss.
Team scores: 1-Minnetonka 304, 2t-Robbinsdale-Armstrong 308, 2t-Chaska 308, 2t-Rogers 308, 5-Edina 310, 6t-Mounds View 313, 6t-Fergus Falls 313, 8-Alexandria 316, 9-Bemidji 318, 10-Brainerd 320, 11-Staples-Motley 322, 12-Willmar 332, 13-St. Cloud Tech 333, 14-Sartell 340, 15-Becker 344, 16-Sauk Rapids 347, 17-Pequot Lakes 349, 18-Rocori 359, 19-St. Cloud Apollo 394
Individual medalist: Corey Muenzhuber (Rogers) 68
Brainerd results: Michael Foley 76, Tommy Olson 81, Aaron Rich 84, Thomas Stoxen 83, T.J. Perpich 80, Nik Helland 85
Pequot Lakes results: Nevin Greer 89, Alex Goerges 86, Cole Bliss 86, Kevin Beltz 88, Nic Olmscheid 95, Joe Bocklund 121
Staples-Motley results: Nick Forsberg 70, Michael Strain 85, Mitch Hagenson 89, Trent Hagenson 87, Andrew Israelson 79, Kyle Quast 95
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.