Boys golf: Alexandria aims for more consistency after winning home meet at AGC – Alexandria Echo Press

by | May 17, 2022 | Golf Balls

The Alexandria boys golf team is in a position that many programs would like to be in by racking up wins at plenty of meets this spring, but the Cardinals are not a group that is easily satisfied.

Alexandria is the favorite to win the 36-hole Central Lakes Conference championship tournament May 20 and 23 in Willmar and Sartell. The Cardinals

just won the pre-section meet

by nine strokes in near 30-mile-per-hour winds in Park Rapids on May 13.

They are a team that is still well positioned to make a Class AAA state tournament. But to accomplish their goal of

winning a title at state

, players and head coach Brady Swedberg know they need to improve.

“We need to get hot at the right time, and we need to just keep grinding,” Alexandria sophomore Bennett Olsen said on Monday after the Cardinals won a CLC meet at the Alexandria Golf Club. “We couldn’t even break 300 on our home course. That’s not going to cut it at Bunker Hills.”

Alexandria shot a 301 at AGC on Monday. That was 13 shots lower than second-place Sartell, while Brainerd finished off the top three with a 319.

Alexandria sophomore Bennett Olsen hits his tee shot on the fifth hole at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

Olsen joined teammates Andrew Swedberg and Braeden Sladek in tying for first place as all three shot a 74. All three felt they hit the ball well for the most part, but that there were also some missed opportunities to go even lower in what was one of the best weather days the team has played in all season.

“We all left some out there,” Olsen said. “We just proved to ourselves that we have work to do.”

Alexandria sophomore Jack Holtz and freshman Ashton Sladek each shot a 79 to tie for ninth place individually. Freshman Carver Larson carded an 81 to round out the Cardinals’ top six.

“We didn’t get off to a great start,” Brady Swedberg said. “I was more proud of how they fought through the round, because as a whole, our team was off to a very rough start. They hung in there and 301 is still a good score, but there’s lots and lots of work to be done. They all want it, and they all want to work.”

Andrew Swedberg

Alexandria senior Andrew Swedberg lines up his putt on the fourth green at the Alexandria Golf Club during the Cardinals’ home meet on May 16, 2022. Swedberg shot a 74 at AGC to tie his personal-low round in a varsity meet.

Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

Andrew Swedberg’s 74 tied his personal-low round for the Cardinals. Brady Swedberg said the team has done a good job of posting two or three low scores almost every meet. What they need to compete with the best teams in state is to have a consistent fourth score in the low-to-mid 70s.

“We’re just kind of evening out, and that’s not good for us,” Andrew Swedberg said. “We need to keep playing well. Braeden needs to keep showing up, but we need to show up as well. We can’t just have one player showing up. We’ll get it rolling soon.”

Braeden Sladek won the pre-section meet at the Headwaters Golf Course on May 13 by being the only player to shoot an even-par 72. Coach Swedberg said that score was even more impressive due to the gusting winds that players golfed through that day.

Braeden Sladek

Alexandria junior Braeden Sladek hits his approach shot close to the pin on the fifth hole at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press


who will play his college golf at the University of Kansas

, has the ability to post really low scores. He missed a few putts on Monday that had him frustrated, and said that’s where he needs to get rolling down the stretch.

“I’ve been hitting the ball great. Giving myself a lot of opportunities. My putter’s got to get hot,” Sladek said. “I just got to keep hitting the ball the way I am, play more aggressively. I’ve been playing a bit conservative this year, so I’m going to start playing a little bit more aggressive, give myself some more looks and hopefully my putter will get hot.”

Sladek has shown an ability during his young career to

not get too high or too low

, and he believes in this group’s ability to go even lower than they have shown so far while playing through some difficult weather conditions.

“We’re going to keep looking forward and the best is yet to come,” Sladek said.

Trying to find consistency from top to bottom will be a focus in the final weeks of the season.

“And to be honest, we just need to drive the ball better,” Brady Swedberg said. “We don’t hit enough fairways, and we don’t give ourselves enough birdie looks because of it. When you’re trying to punch out and get back in play, it’s just tough to get a lot of birdie looks. As a whole, we need to drive it better so we can give ourselves more wedges from the fairways, more birdie looks.”

1.DSC_7689.Carver Larson.JPG

Alexandria freshman Carver Larson follows through on his swing from the fairway during the Cardinals’ home Central Lakes Conference meet at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The Cardinals returned five of their six players from last year’s state tournament team. That makes it easy to forget that this is still a young group around Braeden Sladek, a junior, and Andrew Swedberg, a senior.

“Some of our younger players have a lot of summer tournament experience, but that’s just a whole lot different than spring golf,” Brady Swedberg said. “Some of our guys don’t have that much tournament experience at all, so we just need to keep getting after it. It’s controlling our emotions. That’s where inconsistency really comes from is how do we handle our emotions, and can we make good decisions on the golf course? We can take care of a few things we need to work on physically like driving the golf ball and working on our short game, but if we can take care of our emotions as a young golf team and our decision making, we’ll be just fine.”

Both Olsen and coach Swedberg said they are confident that they will put themselves in position to accomplish all of their goals by season’s end.

Alexandria is at Fergus Falls on Wednesday for the final regular-season meet before the CLC championship starts in Willmar on May 20 at 9 a.m. The final round of the CLC tournament starts at 4 p.m. on May 23 at Blackberry Ridge before the 36-hole Section 8-3A tournament June 2 and 3 in Park Rapids.

1/8: Alexandria sophomore Jack Holtz eyes his putting line on the fourth green during the Cardinals’ home meet at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

2/8: Alexandria freshman Ashton Sladek tees on from the fifth hole at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

3/8: Alexandria freshman Ashton Sladek chips to within a couple inches for a tap-in par on the fourth green during the Cardinals’ home meet at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

4/8: Alexandria freshman Carver Larson hits from just off the fourth green at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

5/8: Alexandria sophomore Jack Holtz putts on the fourth hole at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

6/8: Alexandria sophomore Bennett Olsen watches his putt during the Cardinals’ home meet on May 16, 2022.

7/8: Alexandria senior Peter Sansted rolls his putt toward the cup on the 18th hole at the Alexandria Golf Club during the Cardinals’ home meet on May 16, 2022.

8/8: Alexandria senior Andrew Johnson rolls a long putt toward the pin on the third hole at the Alexandria Golf Club on May 16, 2022.

The Cardinals are hopeful that with better weather will come a little better play throughout the lineup as they try to show they can compete with the best big-school programs in the state in the next few weeks.

“I’m 100% confident that these guys are going to put themselves in a good spot to accomplish all of those goals,” Brady Swedberg said. “The scores haven’t been great this year because the conditions have been really tough. We can’t let some of these numbers rattle our confidence. We’re playing good golf. At the same time, we have a long way to go, and it’s a balance. Let’s keep the confidence high, but understand we’re nowhere near where we want to be.”


TEAM SCORES – Alexandria – 301; Sartell – 314; Brainerd – 319; Willmar – 323; Fergus Falls – 330; Sauk Rapids-Rice – 366; St. Cloud Crush – 373; Rocori – 387

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