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Century's Zach Johnson follows through on a shot during the CHS-LHS Invitational at Tom O'Leary Golf Course on Saturday.

 With the Class A boys golf season two days old, St. Mary's sophomore Cole Herbel has two medalist plaques in his possession.

 However, Herbel says his Friday win at Prairie West and Saturday's victory at Tom O'Leary were quite different achievements.

 "(O'Leary) is a different course. It demands a little more precision. ... There are pretty tight fairways wedged in between the trees," he said.

 Minot moved up from fourth place at Mandan to win by three strokes on Saturday.

 Saturday's conditions were similar to Friday's -- temperatures in the lower 60s and mostly sunny. Wind speeds were higher, but manageable.

 "The weather was just nice," said Herbel who, at 16, is in his third season of varsity golf.

 Herbel carded a consistent round with five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey for an even-par 69. He had three birdies on the back nine, including two of the final three holes.

 As was the case on Friday, Herbel said he played well on the greens. 

 "I got a few weird bounces, but I putted pretty well today," he said.

 Herbel said his two first-place finishes didn't exceed expectations because he kept his expectations under control.

 "Honestly, my goal was to come out here and just have fun, and not worry about the score. I tend to overthink things, so I came out here to have fun and let the score take care of itself," he said. 

 Herbel finished two strokes ahead of Jackson Davis of Turtle Mountain, who carded a 35-36 -- 71. Ryan Clancy of Bismarck posted a 40-33 -- 73 for third place and Jackson Ward of Century placed fourth with a 40-34 -- 74. Fourteen golfers broke 80.

 Herbel said golf isn't as much an individual sport as it appears to be.

 "I need to thank my coach and parents for their awesome support," he observed.

 Minot, last year's West Region champion and a third-place state tournament finisher, improved markedly from Friday's 331 at Prairie West. The Magicians were 43 strokes over par as a team in Mandan. On Saturday their 304 was 28 over par.

 Shane Hannegrefs, the Minot coach, said the Magicians actually had 27 holes of good golf over the two days in the wake of their first nine holes, which were somewhat out of character.

 "We had a very bad start (on Friday). We had to calm down. We had a number of big mistakes, especially early in the round. We had a lot of triples and some eights," Hannegrefs said. "Today it was pars and bogeys with a few birdies mixed in."

  Prairie West in Mandan played about 1,000 yards longer than O'Leary, but Hannegrefs said the courses weren't what made the difference.

 "We have five or six guys who have played in the state tournament, some of them in multiple state tournaments," the coach observed. "We had a really good season last year and I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves (Friday) to be really good. Today we relaxed and played within ourselves."

 Saturday's 304 at O'Leary gave Minot a three-stroke advantage on runner-up Century. St. Mary's and Turtle Mountain shared third with 309s and Bismarck shot a 314 for fifth.

 Next on the schedule for the West Region teams is the East-West Classic Friday and Saturday at Jamestown. The East-West event, which will draw most or all of the state's Class A teams, is the only crossover tournament on the schedule prior to the state tournament.


Sports Reporter