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Brian Wierima / Forum Communications Co., Published August 11 2010

Walters withstands rain at Pine to Palm

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Even a deluge of rain Tuesday during the first day of qualifying for the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament at the Detroit Country Club, couldn’t cool off Wade Walters’ game.

After a heavy downpour late in the first round caused about an hour delay, Walters restarted his game by making eagle on hole six on a five-foot putt and finished on top of the field of 178 golfers with a five-under par 66.

“The greens were soft (with the rain) and I was able to attack the pins,” Walters said of his game.

The 27-year-old St. Paul Como High School graduate shot 33 on each nine, while making four birdies and the eagle.

“I putted well,” Walters included.

Walters’ group was the very last one in, with twilight descending on the Detroit Country Club.

Before Walters came in with his 66, Sean Barrett and Andy Stahlman held the lead at three-under par.

Barrett – who will be a senior on St. Thomas’ men’s golf team – almost wasn’t able to compete in his second Pine to Palm Tournament.

After getting lost on the way to the DCC, Barrett just made his tee time by 15 minutes and was able to shake off any nerves early with a birdie on the first hole.

“I had just enough time to take five practice putts and then tee off,” Barrett said. “But I put the ball in play off the tee and hit a lot of greens to have a lot of good birdie putt looks.”

Barrett is a co-state champion from the 2006 Minnesota Class 2A state high school meet.

Stahlman, who is a freshman at St. John’s, shares second-place honors with Barrett after he fired a 68.

There is a five-golfer pileup for third place, as Kenny Rucker (Eau Claire, Wis.), Matt Rubis (Fargo), Pat Deitz (Fargo), Rick Kuhn (Bismarck, N.D.) and Detroit Lakes’ Ben Bergquist all carded a two-under par 69.

Kuhn is a two-time Pine to Palm champion in 1991 and 2005, while Bergquist has played all his life on the DCC links.

Bergquist was shooting even par before the rain hit, but finished with two birdies to score his two-under par round.

The DL native isn’t a stranger to Pine to Palm Tournament play and is now in a very comfortable position for making the field of 64 match-play cut.

“I’m not going to do anything new (Wednesday), just go out and play golf on this course like I know how to,” Bergquist said. “I like my position I’m in. You just go out the first day of qualifying not trying to shoot yourself in the foot.”

Defending champion Tom Hoge used his practice round to perfection by shooting a six-under par 65.

But Hoge’s score will not count, since he gets the automatic No. 1 seed in match play, which begins Thursday.

The second day of qualifying takes the lowest 148 scores and ties and will be trimmed down to the final field of 64 after today’s second round.

Concordia’s Siverson is Mid-Am medalist

Concordia College men’s and women’s golf coach Duane Siverson is practicing what he preaches.

Siverson did what he always does when out on the links during the two qualifying rounds for the Mid-Amateur Division in the Pine to Palm Tournament Monday and Tuesday at the Detroit Country Club – he made pars.

Siverson – who also was Concordia’s men’s basketball coach for 17 years – played for par and it was more than good enough to earn Mid-Am medalist honors with a final two-under par 140, after shooting an even 71 Monday and two-under 69 Tuesday.

“When I play, I’m a grinder, par is my goal,” said Siverson. “I’ve had rounds with 18 pars. They call me a conservative player, but I just want to stay away from trouble.”

Siverson didn’t find much trouble during Tuesday’s two-under par round – and when he did find it, he got out of it.