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Boys golf: Alex sixth in CLC after hosting championship meet

Alexandria's Cole Haugen watches his shot off the 11th tee box on Thursday evening at the Alexandria Golf Club. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria boys' golf team finished off the Central Lakes Conference season in beautiful conditions and on its home course, but it didn't result in the kind of scores that all the players were looking for.

The Cardinals finished fourth in the CLC championship meet today with a 327. That left them in sixth place in the final league standings. Fergus Falls was first coming into the day but fell all the way to fourth as St. Cloud Tech captured the league title on the final day.

"It's kind of the way our season has been going, where we can play well one meet and then down the next meet," head coach Rick Larson said. "We've been hoping to get some consistency and really haven't had any consistency yet this year. When you're playing on your home course, this is where you should be shooting your best scores, and it just didn't happen today."

One player who did get back on track with a nice round was Cole Haugen. The junior had been struggling a little bit but found his game on Thursday with a 75. He overcame a start where he went three over on his first three holes by shooting par over his final 15 holes.

"I started off kind of rough but after I got in a groove, I felt better about it," Haugen said. "It was our home course and it felt like I even could have done better, but I'm pretty happy with how I played."

Fellow junior Lukas Bigger was the second lowest scorer for Alexandria with an 81. He was a couple over through 11 holes before running into a rough stretch. Bigger said he couldn't find the fairways and it made it a constant battle to hit greens in regulation.

"I think I hit a total of about two or three fairways," Bigger said. "Didn't hit many greens so it's kind of hard to make birdies. You kind of need birdies to shoot well."

Brandon Bistodeau was the third scorer for the Cardinals with an 85. Dan Hennessey shot an 86 to round out the top four, while Aaron Johnson and Kagan Foster each shot 92s.

The Cardinals came into the season hoping to compete for a conference title but could never find the consistency necessary to position themselves near the top of the standings.

"I definitely thought we could do a lot better," Bigger said. "As a team, we didn't shoot very low scores. If we would have started out a little better, that might have boosted our confidence and pulled the team together and had more consistent rounds. That would have helped."

The Cardinals are ready to put that behind them and shift their focus toward the Section 8AAA meet next Tuesday and Wednesday at Greystone Golf Course in Sauk Centre. Alexandria won the pre-section meet earlier this year, but not every team was at full strength that day. Still, the Cardinals feel they are one of a handful of teams that have a chance of winning the 8AAA tournament and advancing to state. It's simply going to come down to who plays the best over those two days.

"I definitely believe we have the team," Haugen said. "We haven't been able to put it together. As you can see, we've had a bunch of up and down. A few in the 70s, a few in the 80s. I think if we put it together we can definitely make a run. We didn't even play that good today as a team, and I think we weren't too far away. I think we're definitely in play and we can definitely make a run at state again."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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