Boys Golf: Medal winner Odland leads Alex to first place at home
Alexandria senior Will Odland made the most out of a dreary day on the golf course Thursday, earning medalist honors and leading the Cardinals to a first-place tournament finish at the Alexandria Golf Club.
Odland carded a 73 on the day, contributing the smallest number to the team score of 307.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “My first two rounds (of the year) didn’t go quite as well as I wanted them to. I made a few little tweaks on the swing and just went out there with a good attitude and got a good score in pretty bad weather, so I was happy with it.”
Senior Blake Bloedorn and sophomores Noah Boraas and Hunter Rebrovich all tied for fourth place with 78s, while Ben Dirck carded an 80 and Nic VanOrsdel finished at 81 to round out the lineup.
Alexandria’s second team – made up of Grant Rebrovich (81), Zac Nelson (82), Joe Bigger (84), Ben Jenson (87), Connor Bowen (87), Elliot Amundson (89) and Cam Birkeland (91) – tied for fourth place with a 334.
“Considering the conditions with the rain, a little bit of wind, cold – golf is a lot tougher when you get conditions like this,” Cards head coach Brady Swedberg said. “To have four guys break 80 and our last two scores on the team were 80 and 81, the team scoring a 307, that’s pretty good. I’m super proud of how they grinded. They understood that they were going to hit some bad shots today and make some bogeys, but they didn’t let it rattle them, and they just kept grinding and they got the results because of it.”
Odland started the round on hole two and said he was satisfied with his play on the front nine (39), but when he hit the back (34), he realized he was in for a good score.
“I played fine on the front nine, but I wasn’t really rolling in the putts,” he said. “I made a couple bad swings. Then on the back nine, I started to hit a lot of good tee shots and approach shots, and the putts started rolling in. I birdied back-to-back on 12 and 13, so right about then I started to feel like it was going pretty well.”
He went into 17 two-under par, but that’s where he made his most costly mistake as he settled for double bogey.
But ultimately, Odland easily secured the top spot on the leaderboard, beating runners-up John Swenson (Owatonna) and Austin Pietrowski (Sartell) by four strokes.
Bloedorn shot 39s on both the front and back, and he said things could have gone better with the short game.
“Given the weather, I feel like I did OK,” he said. “Not my best, but I was making a lot of pars. I couldn’t roll in a birdie and lipped out a couple times. I just had a couple bad stretches on the front and back where I just bogeyed three or four in a row.”
The sophomores Boraas and Rebrovich are no strangers to varsity play, and they pressure the older players to perform at a higher level.
“They’ll be good in years to come, and they push me and Will to play better to keep our seniority,” said Bloedorn.
As a team, one of Alexandria’s strength comes in depth and internal competition for spots on the eventual section team.
“I’m kind of treating this tournament and this Saturday at Perham as a qualifier,” Swedberg said. “My top six on the first team happened to be my six best scores, but I have a couple guys on the second team who are right on their heels. It’s going to be a competition within the team all year to play in that top six.”
Down the stretch, the two captains and Swedberg all agree that the Cardinals have a good chance at making the state tournament as a team.
“We definitely have the talent on the team to do good things towards the end of the season if everyone can be playing well at the right time,” Odland said. “That’s what really matters.”
This is Swedberg’s first year at the helm of the boys golf team, but he’s known most of his players for years and says they have the talent and work ethic needed to advance to the state tournament.
“This team is so fun to be around," he said. "They know when it’s time to relax and have some fun, but they really do work hard and they want to get better. As a coach, you can’t really ask for anything more than a fun group of guys that wants to compete and get better, so they’re making my job pretty easy.
“We’ve got to stick to our game plan, we’ve got to work hard, try to get better every day. If they do that, the results will take care of themselves. I’m not going to say it’s an expectation, but it’s definitely a very realistic goal for us to go to the state tournament this year and compete.”TEAM RESULTS – 1, Alexandria (1) 307; 2, Sartell 327; 3, Owatonna 332; T-4, Alexandria (2) 334; T-4, St. Cloud Tech 334; 6, Moorhead 342; 7, Fargo South 350; 8, St. Cloud Apollo-Sauk Centre 354