BREEZY POINT - Tyler Monda's fifth win of the season helped the Brainerd Warriors claim its first victory Wednesday.
For the fourth straight season the Warriors captured the Ranger/Patriot Invite held at Deacon's Lodge. Brainerd shot a 331 to top second-place Bemidji by four strokes.
Monda shot nines of 39-38 on a near perfect spring day. Class 3A's fifth-ranked player said Deacon's was still playing tough.
"I hit the ball really well which is good on this course," said Monda. "This course, if you're not hitting the ball really well, can kill you. I was finding the fairway and I was doing fine on my approach shots. I just couldn't read the greens.
"I lipped out six or seven times for birdie and it just kind of got to me."
Team winner: Brainerd wins 4th straight year
Individual winner: Brainerd's Tyler Monda
Next: Brainerd at Crosby-Ironton
The victory was Monda's second straight. His 77, coupled with 82s from Sean Halverson and Michael Foley an Ethan Sweet's 88, accounted for Brainerd's score.
"As a team they're really coming along," said Warrior head coach Brian Wallace. "They scored second in the conference Monday. They pull out a win here. I think they're gaining confidence. They're starting to believe in themselves a little bit and I hear a number of golfers say, 'I'm so close.' Let's just hope it all comes together down the stretch."
Monda topped Staples-Motley's Nick Forsberg by two strokes. The Cardinal eighth-grader shot 40-39 for a 79. Teammate Zach Israelson tied for third with an 81 to help S-M to third.
"I drove the ball well," said Forsberg. "I chipped the ball well. I had a bad second hole, but I came back with a bunch of pars. I just had a couple of bad holes.
"I was trying to play smart. I was trying to keep the ball in play and make pars when I could."
Drake Beyer and Charlie Hollinbeck each shot 81s landing the Pequot Lakes Patriots in fourth place. An elbow injury forced junior Jonas Dale out of the event.
Ryan Donovan's 86 and Eric Steuck's 87 placed the Crosby-Ironton Rangers sixth with a 362.
An 86 from Ben Kline led the ninth-place Pine River-Backus Tigers.
The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines finished 10th and were led by Paul Kern's 98.
Monda is the fourth different Warrior to win medalist honors.
"On the back nine I started out with a couple of pars and then I birdied hole 12," said Monda. "Then I followed it with a bogey. I had a stretch where I went birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey. That was tough."
The victory is Brainerd's sixth in the tournament's nine years, but is the second highest score to win the event. The Warriors 306 score last year was the lowest.
Still Wallace is excited about the direction his team is headed, especially with the improved play of Halverson and Foley, who tied for sixth.
"There is a lot of pressure on their shoulders right now," said Wallace. "They know that they are the ones that really need to step up. That puts a lot of pressure on you individually and an 82 out here is a really good score. That confidence is really going to help them down the stretch."
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 331, 2-Bemidji 335, 3-Staples-Motley 339, 4-Pequot Lakes 340, 5-Esko-Carlton 345, 6-Crosby-Ironton 362, 7-Detroit Lakes 371, 8-Park Rapids 402, 9-Pine River-Backus 424, 10-Wadena-Deer Creek 460
Medalist: Tyler Monda (Brd) 77
Top 10: 2-Nick Forsberg (SM) 77, 3t-Drake Beyer (PL) 81, 3t-Charlie Hollinbeck 81, 3t-Zach Israelson (SM), 6t-Sean Halverson (Brd) 82, 6t-Michael Foley (Brd) 82, 8-Ben Moen (Bem) 83, 9t-Joe Welle (Bem) 84, 9t-Kevin Larson (Bem) 84
Brainerd results: Ethan Sweet 88, Jackson Ronnei 93
Crosby-Ironton results: Tyler Snook 100 , Ryan Donovan 86, Eric Steuck 87, Johnny Severson 89, Johnny Melenich 103
Pequot Lakes results: Cole Howard 92, Michael Eck 88, Peter Beltz 90
Pine River-Backus results: Ben Kline 86, Greg Nagel 99, Brady Korwin 127, Cody Mager 112, Parker Williams 128
Staples-Motley results: Michael Strain 89, Travis Myers 90, Tanner Roberts 90
Wadena-Deer Creek results: Paul Kern 98, Duke Harrison 137, Brandon Kramer 104, Ryan Smith 134, Evan Van Erp 124
2008: Brainerd 331
2007: Brainerd 306
2006: Brainerd 308
2005: Brainerd 318
2004: Fergus Falls 320
2003: Staples-Motley 320
2002: Shattuck-St. Mary's 335
2001: Brainerd 45-over par for 15 holes
2000: Brainerd 325
2008: Tyler Monda, Brd 77
2007: Dan Bidle, Virginia 73
2006: Sam Holland, Brd 75
2005: Tom Boyer, Brd 73
2004: Tom Boyer, Brd 74
2003: Pat Helling, SM 76
2002: Lucas Brick, Brd 79
2001: Michael Grieme, WDC 4-over par for 15 holes
2000: Ben Barr, Shattuck St. Mary's 77
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