Tyler Monda played on one of the most successful teams in Brainerd Warrior boys' golf history.
In 2007, Brainerd won its first Central Lakes Conference championship, won 10 regular-season meets and was ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. Warrior individuals were medalists 10 times, including Monda twice. Unfortunately, the Warriors didn't advance to the state tournament.
Considering last year's experience it's not shocking that Monda is off to a phenomenal start in a spring punctuated by unpredictable weather. He was medalist in the season's first three meets, shooting 2-under-par 70 at Alexandria Country Club and 2-over-par 74s at Territory Golf Club in St. Cloud and at The Pines at Grand View Lodge.
"Last year everyone on the team had a lot of confidence going into the latter part of the season, even though we didn't play as well as we could (in the section)," Monda said. "As one of the ones returning I still have that confidence, that maybe we can bring this team around and do as well as we did last year."
At Alexandria, Monda had six birdies, eight pars and four bogeys.
"I was really happy with the way I played," he said. "I had a lot of birdies, which was nice for a change. That was my first time going under par in a meet."
Driving, irons, chipping, putting - you name it - Monda has flourished. After six meets his average was 74.8.
Other sports: Hockey
Memorable sports achievement: Repeating as medalist at the Pines
Grade-point average: 3.79
Favorite subject: Outdoor Adventure
Favorite food: Fettucini alfredo
Favorite movie: "Tin Cup"
Hobbies: Golf, playing on the water
Future plans: Attend University of North Dakota, major in business, play golf
Athlete he admires: Adam Scott
Parents: Steve and Erin Monda
"I started off the year hitting the ball really well, that gave me some confidence getting off the tee," Monda said. "My whole game was in tune. The driver has hurt me here and there. But I'm at a point now where it's coming back around and the short game is keeping me in it."
Warriors coach Brian Wallace said all the golf Monda plays in the offseason is paying off.
"He put in the time the last several summers and has become a really good golfer because of that time," Wallace said. "I think he also goes about it mentally a little bit different now. He has control over that more than he has in the past.
"He hits the ball well off the tee. If he's not hitting the green or getting it close he's able to get up and down, and he's had some great putts. It's really all come together for him this year."
Wallace said Monda's personality is one of his most important traits.
"He's the kind of person everyone wants to be around," Wallace said. "When I'm out on the course, talking to different groups over the last several meets, they know I'm the Brainerd coach, and a lot of other kids ask me, 'How's Tyler playing?' He's that kind of kid. Other players want him to do well because of the person he is, and I think that's pretty cool."
A cool spring postponed the season's first three meets, the fourth was postponed by lightning. Monda said the conditions have "affected and bothered me" but one would never know it, based on the way he has scored.
"It's tough to golf when you can't see the grass, especially when you're trying to gear up for the season," he said. "You can't hit range balls into the snow. I've had to take a different approach to golf.
"In past years, before our first meet, you were able to hit balls and feel your swing. This year we jumped with both feet right in. We had a couple days of practice, then it snowed again and it was like that until our first meet."
Next fall Monda will attend the University of North Dakota where he has received a golf scholarship. The Sioux are making the transition to Division I, which will prevent them from playing in NCAA tournaments.
"Other than that it will be a full-fledged Division-I school," Monda said. "It's going to be pretty fun."
Other notable efforts:
Karlie Manton, softball, shut out Apollo on three hits.
Tom Lyscio, track and field, won the shot put and discus at the Hamline Relays.
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