East Ridge boys golf: Hanson finishes second at state
Four years ago, Brady Hanson and his golf coach Bret Brookins talked about trying to win a state championship someday. Last week, he nearly made it happen.
Hanson, a senior at East Ridge, finished in a tie for second place at the Class AAA state tournament, shooting a two-day 146 at Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.
"We made it our goal to win state," Hanson said. "Even though I didn't do that, it feels good to come really close. I knew if I worked hard and put in the effort I could possibly do it. But, I feel like this is a big accomplishment."
Hanson shot a 2-over par 74 on the first day and an even-par 72 on the second day for his 146. Chanhassen senior Cody Seal won the state title with a 143. Seal shot a 73 on the first day and a 70 on day two. Four other players shot 146 to tie Hanson for second.
"Only one kid in the field played better the second day than Brady did and that kid won," Brookins said. "I think he's a little heartbroken that he didn't win, because he's just so competitive. But, I think he should be happy with how he played."
Eden Prairie won the team championship with a 609 four-person total, edging Wayzata (610) and Forest Lake (618).
Brookins has known Hanson, a team-captain and all-conference award winner, since he was an eighth-grader at Woodbury Middle School. Brookins said Hanson was the "most consistent golfer" he saw play this year.
"He definitely has matured into not only an outstanding golfer, but a leader and a fine young man," Brookins said. "It was a fun year and his finish at state was well-deserved. He's worked really hard."
Hanson earned all-state honors this season for the Raptors.
"He's played really well," Brookins said. "It's a good testament to how hard work and dedication pays off. A lot of these kids get done with practice by six or seven o'clock and they're chipping and putting for two more hours on their own. That's what he did."
At the state tournament, played on June 10 and 11, Hanson drove the ball well on the first day, but on the second day, it was his chipping and putting that stood out.
Hanson had 35 putts over the first 18 holes of the tournament, but only 25 on the second day, including just 10 putts on the last nine holes.
"The first day I played well," Hanson said. "That's probably the best I've hit the ball all year. The second day was the exact opposite. I hit the ball terrible, but chipped and putted probably the best I have all year."
Brookins said, because of his determination and focus, scrambling is one of Hanson's strengths.
"He hits a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, but he's really good at scrambling," Brookins said. "That's just the type of player he is."
Hanson said he's played golf for most of his life. However, he began taking it seriously in ninth grade, after switching from playing baseball in the spring. Next year, Hanson will play college golf for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
"I'm really excited," Hanson said. "Hopefully I have the game to play. It's going to be fun traveling all over the country."
Hanson won the Section 3AAA individual championship title this year to qualify for the state tournament - his second straight - while East Ridge finished second as a team. At the section tourney, Hanson shot a two-day 144, including a 1-over par 71 on the first day at Goodrich Golf Course and a 1-over par 73 at Bunker Hills. At last year's state tournament Hanson finished in a seven-way tie for 48th place with a 159.
Hanson said ending his high school career at the state meet was about the best way he could have imagined doing so.
"It was bittersweet, but it was probably the most fun I've had on the golf course," Hanson said. "There were a bunch of people following me and walking the course with Brookins - it was a great way to end it."