By his own admission, the way Clayton Rask played the back nine in the final round of the Minnesota State Open on Sunday at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids was uninspiring.
"Nine straight pars is pretty boring," he said. "But the up-and-downs I needed to make I did."
The combined 9 under par he shot on the 10 par-5 holes the over the previous 2 1/2 rounds weren't too shabby, either.
On the heels of those birdies, Rask, a former Gophers standout who has made 21 starts on the Canadian Tour since 2008, finished the tournament at 11 under, good for a three-stroke cushion over Bryce Hanstad. He soared into the runner-up position with a blistering 8-under 64 on Sunday, the low round of the tournament by a shot.
Rask's 65 on Saturday included birdies on all four of the par 5s for a second consecutive day before his wave of consistency, a final-round 2-under 70.
"He played great," said Mario Tiziani, who was paired with Rask on Sunday and finished third at 7 under for the tournament. "He didn't let any openings. He was in a position where he just had to hit fairways and not do anything crazy, and he did that."
Following a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole Sunday, a solid chip from the left side of the green on the 560-yard par-5 ninth left Rask with a 10-footer for his final birdie of the tournament. Then came his par-fest.
"All I could do was think of the shot at hand," Rask said. "I'm not going to lie; I kind of peeked at some of the scoreboards [on the back nine]. But I had to go out there and go as low as I could."
Although he didn't make as many birdies as he would have liked Sunday, Rask rarely was in trouble. His smart play and cool demeanor paid off. About the only emotion -- good or bad -- he showed at all Sunday was after his second shot on the par-4 13th hole clanked off the flagstick and rolled to the fringe.
"It wasn't defensive," he said of his play. "It was the same gameplan as [Saturday]: don't get carried away with anything and [avoid] the big number that brings everyone back to you."
Rask, 25, bogeyed three holes in Friday's opening round and did not card another until the sixth hole Sunday. But the birdies were there to round out the front nine to get to 11 under, and he was well on his way to victory, his first as a professional.
"I've always come out here and never really gotten the job done," said Rask, whose Elk River teams finished third at state in 2001 and 2003 at Bunker Hills. "It feels great to finally get the 'W' under the belt out here."
The victory earned him a $9,000 check, which will help pay for gas the next few weeks. Rask planned to leave Monday morning for a pair of Hooters Tour events in Alabama and Georgia before heading back out on the Canadian Tour late next month in Ontario.