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Raider golfers off to good start

Ben Lewis, shown in a photo taken earlier in the season, leads the BRC individual point standings. Bob Burrows photo

The Raider boys' golf team has withstood the elements and the competition to get off to a fast start to the 2012 season.

After opening the season with a fifth-place finish at the blustery Hudson Invitational at Troy Burne Golf Course April 9, the Raiders squared off against 13 other teams on another cold, windy day last Monday, April 19, at the Tartan Invitational. The team rallied for a better result, finishing second to Big Rivers Conference rival River Falls with a team score of 320, four strokes behind the Wildcats.

"We played much better today but had several tough holes down the stretch that cost us the victory," head coach Bill Schaub said.

Ben Lewis led the team with a score of 78 while Jordan DeLao was right behind with a 79. Freshman Joey Griese helped out with an 81, followed by Pat Bowers at 82. Brody Belland shot 86 and Mitch Simonet finished at 91.

Last Tuesday the team traveled to Eau Claire for the first conference match of the season, hosted by Eau Claire Memorial at Wild Ridge Golf Course.

"The weather finally cleared for a nice golf day," Schaub said. "The team was excited to begin conference play and it showed in the beginning."

Schaub said all five players started out well, playing even through the first few holes. Holes No. 3 through 6 also went well, but as several players reached the seventh hole, they began to struggle.

"Brody Belland played real well through six holes but played the last three holes at five over," Schaub said. "Brody has been hitting the ball well so far this year, but his putting has kept him from scoring well."

Belland finished with a 43 while Bowers carded 42. Griese posted a nice score of 38 and DeLao had a 39.

The Raiders trailed River Falls by five strokes as Lewis approached the last hole. He shot the best round of the year, carding a 2-under-par 34 to earn medalist honors and give the Raiders a team score of 153 and a tie for first with the Wildcats.

"What a finish for Ben and the team in the first conference match," Schaub said.

The Raiders traveled to River Falls last Thursday for another seven-team conference match on a cold, rainy afternoon at Clifton Hollow Golf Course.

Lewis got the team going with an eagle on No. 12 and finished with a 38 while Belland got his putter going and carded a 40. Griese battled the conditions and finished with a 41 while Bowers finished with 42 and DeLao 46.

The Raiders' team score of 161 was good enough to tie River Falls for first place again.

After two conference matches, Lewis is the top individual in the conference with 19 points.

Hudson tied Superior, New Richmond and Eau Claire North for second place Saturday at the 12-team Chippewa Falls Invitational at Lake Wissota Country Club with a score of 326. River Falls took first with 318.

"On a course that generally yields good scores, the boys did not fare very well," Schaub said. "We had too many big scores today. When you have 7's, 8's and a 10 on your score cards you can't expect to win. I was frustrated with the amount of big numbers, so we have some work to do for next week."

The Raiders travel to Rice Lake for a BRC meet Thursday, April 26, and will play in the 16-team Onalaska Invitational Friday. Monday, April 30, they host a BRC meet at the Hudson Golf Course.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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