JORDAN — Cecil Belisle thought about the 2018 Class AA golf state meet every day for the past year.

"He talked about it every day," Belisle's coach, Nate Gale, said. "He was not happy with taking third place."

Belisle confirmed his coach's thoughts, with a smile.

"Every day I'd wake up and think about it," he said. "Even in the winter time, I'd wake up every day and think about how bad I wanted it."

The Red Wing senior can push that meet to the back of his mind. He found his redemption on Wednesday.

Belisle fired the low round of the 2019 Class AA state meet, a final-round 3-under par 69 at The Ridges at Sand Creek.

That gave him a two-round total of 1-under 143 and made him a state champion once again.

“He wanted to win again," Gale said. "That's been the mission the whole last year, just find a way to get back (to state). And the goal was to win, it wasn't to take second, it wasn't top five, it was to win."

It’s the second state championship for Belisle, who will play college golf at Minnesota State University, Mankato beginning in the fall.

Belisle, a finalist this spring for the Minnesota Mr. Golf Award, was also the state medalist in 2017.

Last year, he entered the final nine holes of the state meet trailing leader Nate Deziel by six shots. Belisle turned up his intensity and his game, shooting 4-under par 32 on the last nine holes and nearly overcame that deficit. But Deziel did just enough, shooting a 36 on his final nine to edge Belisle by just two shots.

"This is all he cared about," Gale said. "The Mr. Golf award would have been cool, but this is what he wanted, this tournament.

"This year he was a little freer. Last year he was figuring out where he was going to go to college and (the recruiting) process. ... This year he's been able to just focus on golf and doing well in the classroom. Once he decided he's going to Mankato, it was one less thing he had to think about."

Belisle opened his final high school meet with a 2-over par 74 on Tuesday. He remained steady in conditions that were windy, but warmer, on Wednesday.

Starting on the 10th hole — a par-5, 535-yard hole — Belisle recorded a birdie right out of the gate. That eased his mind; he made a triple-bogey 8 on the 10th hole during his first round, on Tuesday.

"Just maturity," he said of being able to shake off the bad hole Tuesday. "I've matured so much over the past year, in just a year. Yeah, over my five, six years of high school golf I've matured every year, but this year was the best one.

"I had that 8, a lot of people might (give up), but there were still 35 holes of golf left."

Belisle was tied for the lead with Hill Murray's Ben Warian after nine holes Wednesday, both at 109 for the meet through 27 holes. Belisle calmly made three birdies and five pars over his final nine holes to hold off Warian and become a state medalist for the second time.

"I didn't know where I (was on the leaderboard) until I made the turn," he said. "Then I knew I was tied for the lead. I just stayed patient. Me and coach had a game plan. I tried to stay aggressive on (the last nine holes), but not like last year when I had six shots to make up and fired at everything.

"I stayed patient, played my game and enjoyed it."

Belisle's state championship helped the Wingers finish fourth as a team with a two-day total of 653. Holy Family Catholic won the team title (620), followed by Detroit Lakes in second (640) and Cloquet (641) in third.

Two Rochester Lourdes golfers finished in the top 25 individually. Senior Kyle Hickey placed 11th. Hickey was the only golfer to shoot even-par on Tuesday and led the meet after the first round. He shot 82 Wednesday to finish at 154. His teammate and classmate Luke Alexander placed 23rd (76-82—158).

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Sports Reporter

Jason has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter and columnist since 2004 and covers high school football, volleyball, softball, golf, hockey, junior hockey and auto racing. He is a 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota.