MANCHESTER — Brandon Larsen is excited to return to the state golf tournament.
The West Delaware junior can’t help but think he would be a bit happier with company.
“It’s definitely good to get back there,” Larsen said. “I kind of wish the team would have gone this year and last year. It would have been a lot more fun. For me, to be able to go back again is truly a pleasure.”
Larsen carded a 76 for a third-place finish at a Class 3A district golf meet Friday at Pin Oaks Links. He earned the final individual berth for a second straight trip to the state golf meet May 23-24 at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
“I think it’s great that he’s been playing well leading up to this event and he’s been pretty consistent with his rounds,” West Delaware Coach Christie Imsland said. “Definitely, glad to see he is able to make it back to state again and see what he can accomplish now that he’s had one under his belt. It should help out.”
Larsen tied for 14th individually last season. He learned from the experience, sharpening his mental approach during rounds. Larsen realized the importance of shot selection, identifying which shots he should and shouldn’t have hit.
“It makes you think harder about each golf shot,” Larsen said. “You learn a lot of (mental toughness and focus).”
Imsland said she has seen the difference in Larsen’s approach.
“This year, he’s gotten a lot more comfortable, shooting around that even-par range,” Imsland said. “He feels more comfortable, so it makes it easier to go out and shoot the scores he wants to shoot and that he is capable of shooting.”
Waverly-Shell Rock freshman Hogan Hansen earned medalist honors with a 1-over 72. Clear Lake’s Tate Storbeck was runner-up with 75. Hansen and Larsen grabbed the two individual qualifying spots.
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Larsen said he has improved his iron play, hitting about eight more greens per round. He is more confident with approaches from 120 yards and closer now. This round was marked by strong play off the tee.
“The key for me today is I was able to hit the driver in play and have a short distance left,” said Larsen, who had a blip with a double bogey on the par-4 No. 10 hole. “The driver was on, as far as I wanted to hit it dead straight. I couldn’t complain with it at all.”
Two-time 3A state champion DeWitt Central claimed the team title with 324. Clear Lake, the 2017 2A state champion and the third-place finisher in 3A a year ago, was runner-up at 326. West Delaware and Benton Community tied for third with 330, just missing a qualifying spot.
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