Justin Heitkamp's game was up to par even though he hadn't played in a match yet this spring.
In the opening golf meet of the season for the Brainerd High School boys' team, Heitkamp shot 1-over-par-73 to garner medalist honors in the Warriors' Central Lakes Conference event conducted in 70-degree temperatures at the Legacy courses at Cragun's.
Heitkamp shot 39 on course No. 1 and 34 on course No. 3 for the Warriors, who had their first three meets postponed by unplayable conditions.
"I played pretty consistent," Heitkamp said. "I had four bogeys, one birdie and an eagle.
"I'm looking forward to the rest of the season now. I putted very well, hit a lot of solid shots close to the pin. That gave me a chance to make pars."
Warriors coach Tom Younghans said Heitkamp's short game enables him to shoot a low score.
"When Justin misses a green, or hits a ball in a trap, or for some reason a shot goes wrong, he's able to recover," Younghans said. "His big strength is his ability to get up and down. He makes pars anyway."
Heitkamp's round helped the Warriors place second in the meet with 322 strokes, seven behind first-place St. Cloud Tech.
"It was good and bad," Younghans said. "The bad thing is it was our home meet. We felt like we should have won because it's our home meet. Our scores, except for Justin, weren't acceptable to any of our kids. I don't think they felt they played well at all.
"The good part is we didn't play well and still finished second. If we can play better I think we will compete for the first spot."
Heitkamp, who had played several practice rounds before Thursday's meet, said waiting for the weather to be favorable "has been frustrating, but it's also something to look forward to, knowing that the first meet will come. We were all looking forward to this day."
Tom Kientzle, director of golf at Cragun's, said the Legacy courses survived the severe winter and are in good shape.
"We're having a lot of people out here already, with the weather coming around," Kientzle said. "We're happy with how the course came through the winter."
Heitkamp said the course conditions were first-class considering the less than desirable conditions this month.
"It was gorgeous out," he said. "The greens were a little aerated, otherwise it was great."
Cragun's, as well as other resort courses, have made their facilities available to area high school programs for meets and practices.
Team scores -- St. Cloud Tech 315, Brainerd 322, Willmar 326, Alexandria 332, St. Cloud Apollo 333, Little Falls 342, Sartell 351, Rocori 354
Individual medalist -- Justin Heitkamp (B) 73
Other Brainerd results -- Jonathan Larson 83, Ben House 83, Joe Morgan 86, Jim Bender 86, Erick Holland 99
Little Falls -- Chris Dobis 81, George Fortier 85, Nick Calhoun 86, John Smieja 90, John Patterson 90, Kendall Feia 94
Conference standings -- Tech 8, Brainerd 7, Willmar 6, Alexandria 5, Apollo 4, Little Falls 3, Sartell 2, Rocori 1
Next meet -- Brainerd, Little Falls in CLC meet at Alexandria 9:30 a.m. today.
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