Brock Gasow has a simple view of how to play the game of golf.
Grip it and rip it.
That philosophy worked wonders for the Central Lakes College Raiders freshman men's golfer when he won the season-opening meet Saturday at Meadowbrook Golf Club in Hopkins.
Gasow's round of 74 helped the Raiders win in convincing fashion, finishing with a team total of 306, 26 strokes better than second-place Rochester.
But it was Gasow's 280-yard drives that helped him mow down the competition and the course. Solid putting did wonders for his score as well.
"I was four under on the par 5s with two birdies and an eagle," Gasow said. "I was hitting it long. I hit three of the four par 5s in two so that's how I scored really well. Starting off on the first hole I birdied it so that was a big confidence booster. Twenty-five total putts helped too."
Raiders coach Jim Russell is looking at Gasow as an important part in CLC's quest to return to nationals as a team. Gasow will play primarily in the team's No. 3 spot and if he can score well, the Raiders should dominate.
"I told Brock before the season started that he was our wild card," Russell said. "He's got so much potential and hits the ball so stinking far. There's some courses we'll play that are short, then we'll see how his game is. But for the longer courses we know he'll be there."
Gasow, who drove a few of the par 4 holes at Meadowbrook, doesn't possess the stature or build of someone capable of driving the ball 300 yards. He is thin and lanky but, as a former hockey goalie, he possess a strong lower body.
Favorite club: Driver
Best score: 70 at Crow River Country Club, Hutchinson
Good luck charm: Gold dollar coin
"Brock's got broad shoulders but the biggest thing is that he's got great weight transition," said Russell. "He's got good rhythm and timing. Hitting the ball long is good but it can cause you trouble. Last Saturday he played smart."
Russell points out that Gasow will need to improve on his course management in order to be a factor on the national stage.
On the 17th hole at Meadowbrook, a par four that had a blind approach and water in play, Gasow took out his driver. Russell took him aside and talked to him about other options and taking trouble out of play.
"I just told him that if you take out an iron you'd still be left with a wedge," Russell said. "He took out of a 5-iron and hit it perfect and ended up paring the hole."
Along with Gasow's first-place finish, fellow freshman Travis Wilson tied for second with sophomore Jeff Grote. Gasow admits there's fierce competition on the course between freshmen and sophomores but it will only benefit the team.
"The younger guys will put pressure on the older guys to shoot well so I think that will benefit the team," said Gasow. "When we go out and play we want to beat each other. It's hard competition but in a good way."
The Raiders (5-2) open defense of their North Division title 6 p.m. Friday when they take on the Vermilion Ironwomen, who were 0-21 a year ago.
CLC will then play the Mesabi Range Lady Norse noon Saturday. The Raiders will again use a fast-paced attack, featuring the hitting of Lane tenCate and Courtney Stach and the blocking of Shannon McCarthy.
When the final buzzer sounds, either the Raiders or the Rainy River Voyageurs will have their first win of the season.
Both enter Saturday's 1:30 p.m. game at Paul C. Findorff Athletic Complex with 0-2 records. But the home field hasn't been kind to CLC, which hasn't won at home since Oct. 16, 2001.
The Raiders are averaging 178 total yards compared to Rainy River's 210. CLC has scored only six points while giving up 66. The Voyageurs have scored 19 points and yielded 54.
CLC does have the top two receivers in the South Division in Lynn Chheang (nine receptions for 84 yards) and LeRoy Howard (six catches, 138 yards).
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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