« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Brian Wierima / Forum Communications Co., Published August 12 2010

Walters, Freeman share medalist honors at Pine to Palm

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – For the 17th time in the 78 years of the Pine to Palm Tournament, the two-day qualifier ended with multiple medalists at the Detroit Country Club.

After St. Paul’s Wade Walters shot a 66 Tuesday, thus winning lowman honors after the first day of qualifying, he shot one-under par 70 for a final score of 136.

Fargo’s Ben Freeman played the opposite, after he carded an even-par 71 the first day, he came with his best game Wednesday with a six-under par 65 to earn co-medalist laurels with Walters.

For Walters, his third try in the Pine to Palm, inking his name in the tournament’s storied history is an honor.

“I came into it looking at it as two tournaments, one stroke play and the other as match play,” he said.

Freeman already knows the feeling of seeing his name on the Pine to Palm boards, after he won the championship in 2008 when he beat Brandon Hartzell 4 and 2.

“It feels good finishing on top of qualifying, but that’s done now, it doesn’t matter much for match play,” Freeman said. “I’d love to win it again, I know I have to just keep plugging away.”

Ironically, one of the main reasons the 27-year-old Walters is playing in the Pine to Palm is Hartzell – his cousin, who happens to be the player Freeman beat for his championship in 2008

“Brandon told me I have more game here at the Pine to Palm than he had when he made the championship in 2008,” Walters said.

That showed at least in the qualifying rounds, as Walters shot for a field-low 66 Tuesday and basically had only one bad hole Wednesday.

Walters had the opportunity to play with defending champion Tom Hoge, who shot a rousing 65-66 for a terrific 10-under par 131 in his practice rounds.

“His resume speaks for itself,” Walters said of Hoge. “It was fun playing in the same group with him and it was a chance to see him play for the first time, just in case we have to play each other in match play.”

Travis Ross, who is a junior on the New Mexico State men’s golf team and hails from Crookston, came in with a 139 after he carded a 3-under par 69 Wednesday.

Needless to say, all the other 63 golfers are well aware of No. 1 seed Hoge, who has been playing lights out as of late.

Bismarck golfer sets Senior medalist record

The Pine to Palm has a new Senior’s medalist record after Bismarck’s John Stromstad shattered the old mark with his 6-under par 65.

And he credits his strong play to the shiny part of his golf ball.

Stromstad’s 65 eclipsed Robert Wernick’s three-over par 68, which he set in 1999, and it’s all due to a little tip former University of Minnesota golfer and instructor Perry Andrisen gave him this summer.

“This July 1, Perry gave me the best tip I ever received in my 50 years of playing golf,” Stromstad said. “He told me to see the shiny part of the golf ball and keep my eye on it. It sounds easy, but it has helped me keep my eye on the ball and really helps me keep my focus.”

In Stromstad’s case, proof is in the pudding.

After taking Andrisen’s tip to heart, Stromstad went on to win the All-State Tournament in Bismarck and the North Dakota Seniors Championship.

He then decided to take his game east on the road to a golf tournament – the Pine to Palm – he has admired since his younger years.

Wierima writes for the Detroit Lakes Tribune