Lewis-Clark State golfer Bryden Brown is hitting his stride

Apr. 11—Before arriving at Lewis-Clark State, Bryden Brown's family was always involved in his golf career. The Moscow High School graduate's father, Trent Brown was his coach for most of his life. His uncle, Corey Brown, golfed for the Warriors.

Bryden Brown was a district champion and won several events in his prep career. When he signed with LCSC, there was hope that he would flourish. But it would be the first time he was coached by someone other than his father. Now, the former Bear is starting to hit his stride.

Bryden Brown tied for first with a 3-over 145 in the Logger Invitational on March 10 and tied for first in the Willamette Valley Cup on March 17 with a 5-under 139. The Warriors' team captain won a playoff to claim both individual titles — the first two of his college career.

"To get that first win was big," Bryden Brown said. "And that just led into the next week. Just gave me more confidence and trust in myself. (I) know I can do it again and I trust the work I've been putting in."

Brown has been steadily progressing since he joined the team. His first college tournament, he tied for 13th. By the time the Cascade Conference tournament rolled around in 2023, he finished sixth.

Brown's freshman campaign was also coach Zach Anderson's first year at the helm.

Accepting coaching outside of family was a new experience for Brown, but he's taken Anderson's tutelage and ran with it. With the team being so young, Brown was almost instantly looked at as a leader, a role he's admirably filled.

Since Anderson took over as coach, there's been parallels between Brown's growth and the program's development.

"It was fun to transition into having a different coach and different perspectives," Brown said. "(I've) been learning from Zach to grow at the college level and I've started to see success. It's been fun and I've been learning a lot. And growing as a player — that's my goal every day."

The Warriors have won four events and have 10 top-three finishes in two seasons under Anderson.

Which made the start of the year all the more disappointing.

Lewis-Clark State, fraught with expectations, had a poor showing in the first event of the spring.

At the RMC Intercollegiate on March 5-6, the Warriors placed seventh out of nine teams.

Brown finished the event tied for 12th. He shot a 7-over 79 in the first round but bounced back with par 72s in the second and third rounds.

It was a disappointing outing for the program as a whole (the women finished seventh out of eight teams). A familiar foe also won the event, which twisted the knife even further.

Defending national champion British Columbia finished first at the RMC Intercollegiate and outshot LCSC by 52 strokes.

"We're really young," Anderson said. "So any time we get into a tournament we're going to have an experience. Whether it ends up being a good or bad one, it's just about putting the new players into pressure situations. It's allowed them to grow a little bit. So I think our trend for this year, our theme for this year, has been inconsistency in a way. ... We struggled (at the RMC) but we saw a lot of national teams. So it gave us a chance to see some of the teams we'd see in the postseason."

Early disappointment bred future success.

Since finishing seventh at the RMC, the team placed fourth at the Logger Invaitational and won the Williamette Valley Cup at the Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore.

Now, the stage is set for LCSC and Brown to maintain momentum.

The Warriors will compete in the Warrior Invitational on Monday and Tuesday. The event will be in their own backyard at the Lewiston Golf & Country Club.

The Warrior Invitational is the last event on the schedule before the Cascade Conference tournament. A win in the Invitational would give LCSC some equity in the top-25 poll. A spot in the poll or a decent number of votes would help the Warriors in their goal to get to the NAIA national tournament May 21-24 in Dalton, Ga.

"The players that are new, and even Bryden in a sense, haven't been in these situations a lot," Anderson said. "So when you're making that transition from junior college golf and high school golf to college events — now everyone's good at this level. I've seen a lot of players have that realization. ... It's all about putting everything together. And I think it starts with what we do here and creating situations that let us handle those scenarios better. And I think each day that goes by, it shows us what a good practice looks like."

LCSC has a high bar to clear in its own conference with British Columbia. To get to nationals, a win in the Cascade tournament, or a spot somewhere in the top 25, would be a necessity.

Brown and the Warriors have already competed against many good teams and top NAIA golfers. They know what it takes to win and they've been steadily improving since the initial disappointment of the RMC Intercollegiate.

And there's no sign of that trend ending.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.