If the start to Saturday’s home invitational had occurred last season, Beaver Dam’s Tanner Brandsma admitted the wheels might have come off his round.

Instead, the senior recovered from back-to-back triple bogeys early in his round to card an 81 and finish sixth in a formidable field on a day more suited to the British Isles than a high school tournament.

“I just worked on maintaining my cool,” said Brandsma after his triples on No. 5 and 6 at Old Hickory Golf Club, par 72. “I worked on hitting fairways and greens and not focusing on a score.”

The strategy showed a new-found maturity to Brandsma’s game. Last season, as BD’s No. 3 golfer behind Ben Brooks and Jon Wise, Brandsma was capable of shooting low scores but could not find consistency at times.

This year, Brandsma has taken on the leadership role that Brooks and Wise had the previous two campaigns resulting in Little Ten titles.

“Where he went after his tough start speaks volumes about the growth in his game,” BD coach Bob McIntyre said. “He’s playing the game rather than the playing the score.”

Despite a blustery northern wind that made Old Hickory play even tougher than usual, Brandsma settled down after his tough start. After pars on No. 8 and 9, his back nine was stellar with a 39 that included a well-executed birdie on No. 12.

Taking a 6-iron, Brandsma placed the ball 5 feet away from the hole with an uphill putt left.

“We practiced (on Friday) and I hit a 5-iron to the back of the green,” Brandsma said. “I didn’t want to be above the hole again.”

Then on No. 1 – Brandsma began his round on No. 3 – he snaked in a 45-foot putt for another birdie.

“I was just hoping to two-putt from there but I got a great read from two other putts in my group,” Brandsma said.

Brandsma’s effort helped place BD ninth with a 359 total. Jack Nortman came through with a solid 87. Aaron Ehlenfeldt (95) and Mike Neuman (96) rounded out the scoring for the Golden Beavers. Jacob Elegreet’s 98 was scratched.

“I thought we’d be around 350 for a total at the beginning of the day,” McIntyre said. “As I look back given the conditions, I go ‘That’s not a bad round.’

“It’s a humbling experience for a lot of these guys. It was a very tough day out there.”

Hartland Arrowhead captured the team title (330) for the fourth straight year, edging out Kettle Moraine by one stroke.

Mequon Homestead’s Jordan Niebrugge and Waukesha North’s Shawn Foley tied for medalist honors with a 78.

By comparison, under ideal conditions, last year’s winning team score was 307 and low individual (Whitefish Bay’s Jack Schultz) carded a 70.

“What a tough day out there,” McIntyre said. “It played like a British Open course out there.”

Waupun was paced by Justin Pusateri’s 93. Zak Disbrow fired a 97 with Adam VandeZande and Casey Johnston each shooting 103. Chase VandeZande’s 109 was scratched.

Wayland’s top golfer was David Mosley with a 94. Oliver Ptaschinski carded a 114 followed by Jamie Zangwill (122), Andrew Scheuer (125) and Laudyn Heimerl (125).

BD heads to Watertown for a Little Ten match on Thursday.

Beaver Dam Invitational

 At Old Hickory GC, par 72

Team scores: 330, Kettle Moraine 331, Homestead 348, Appleton East 349, Sun Prairie 349, Milwaukee Marquette 350, Waukesha North 350, West Bend West 354, Beaver Dam 359, Hamilton 360, Nicolet 362, Cedarburg 367, Onalaska 367, Brookfield Central 368, Whitefish Bay 371, Oconomowoc 380, Wisconsin Lutheran 381, Waukesha West 384, Menomonee Falls 385, Watertown 396, Waupun 396, Hartford 398, West Bend East 408, DeForest 425, Milwaukee Pius XI 432, Wayland 455.

Beaver Dam: Brandsma 81, Nortman 87, Ehlenfeldt 95, Neuman 96, Elegreet 98 (scratch).

Waupun: Pusateri 93, Disbrow 97, A. VandeZande 103, Johnston 103, C. VandeZande 109 (scratch).

Wayland: Mosely 94, Ptaschinski 114, Zangwill 122, Scheuer 125, Heimerl 125 (scratch).

Medalists: Niebrugge (HO) and Foley (WN) 78.

Top 10: Niebrugge (HO) 78, Foley (WN) 78, Ross (AR) 79, Franklin (KM) 80, Kannenberg (WBW) 80, Brandsma (BD) 81, Cabush (KM) 81, Christian (MM) 81, Sorenson (AR) 81, Johnson (KM) 83.

Thursday’s late result

Watertown Invitational

Team scores: Milwaukee Marquette 323, Arrowhead 337, Beaver Dam 341, Homestead 342, Waukesha North 342, Brookfield Central 345, Slinger 356, West Bend West 356, Hartford 363, Menomonee Falls 373, West Bend East 380, Watertown 390.

Beaver Dam: Brandsma 84, Neuman 85, Ehlenfeldt 86, Nortman 86, Larson 89 (scratch).

Medalist: Foley (WN) 74.

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