EAST GULL LAKE — He wasn’t wearing ruby slippers, but Turner Person was glad to be home.
Thanks to an even-par front nine, the Brainerd Warriors senior shot a 3-over 73 in gusty conditions to clear the Central Lakes Conference meet field by two strokes and secure his first individual medalist honor Monday, May 9, at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.
“It was pretty difficult, but I was just trying to play everything into effects,” Person said. “Like if you were into the wind it was 20 mph into it so it played like 20 yards more. It was definitely hard. We’ve played this course in practice a couple of times and it’s new from last summer, but I really just wanted to go out there and play like I have in practice.”
Person’s break-out round helped Brainerd to second place with a team score of 312. Alexandria shot a first-place score of 308.
Person birdied the second, his first hole of the day, and fourth holes to counter two bogeys on the front. The second-year varsity player then opened the back nine with a bogey before collecting six pars and two more bogeys.
“It’s so fun to see,” Brainerd head coach Brian Wallace said. “What I saw in him today was that you could see that joy of playing golf again. Obviously things are going well and that helps your demeanor, but to battle the elements like he did and keep that positive attitude going the whole time was really fun to see.”
The wind was a two- to three-club factor. It even affected the short game. Person said he had a few birdie putts that broke uphill because of the wind. Despite the conditions, Person said his driver and long irons were the key to his victory. That and not knowing what the leaderboard said. Following a par on the 18th hole, his second to last, Person had a two-shot cushion going into his final hole. He didn’t know that, however.
“On the last green was when I found out I won,” Person said. “I didn’t look. A kid in my group said I had won it after the putt. It’s fun after sinking a 10-footer for par.
“It was just a fun time. It’s our home course. I’m here a bunch. I don’t know. I just had a good time.”
Dawson Ringer finished in a tie for third with his six-over 76. A birdie on the par 5 18th hole helped make that happen.
Ringler opened with a double bogey, but posted 11 pars and five bogeys for his round. He shot nines of 41 and 35.
Ryan Kennedy fired a 79 after opening birdie-birdie. The sophomore also birdied the par 4 16th hole to shoot nines of 39 and 40.
Sophomore Alex Asche and junior Keegan Davidge both shot 84s helping Brainerd to its 312 score. Davidge tossed in a birdie two on the 107-yard ninth hole which was playing with a cross breeze.
Junior Max Holmstrom was a shot behind with an 85. He birdied the 16th hole, too.
“I think I said to somebody on Sunday after not having such a great tournament Friday and Saturday that it will be nice to come home and get healthy,” Wallace said. “This is what I was really hoping for. I couldn't be happier with the outcome. That’s just going to help us gain confidence for the rest of the season.
“The kids that didn’t play well today, I know are going to come around as well. I think we’re going to be very competitive. It was great to come home.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.