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Brian Wierima / Forum Communications Co., Published August 13 2010

Hoge keeps dominating pace

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – There was a big carrot at the end of a stick for the Pine to Palm match play qualifiers to beat their opponents Thursday, besides the obvious reward of advancing in the bracket.

It was a chance to sleep in, while the others had to toil in the early-morning hours to finish off their matches.

After a bevy of storm delays throughout the first day of bracket play at the Detroit Country Club, the championship field wasn’t able to start until around 4:30 p.m.

The golfers had to use a shotgun start, with groups of four starting on a hole and all starting at once.

It was decided by Pine to Palm Committee Chairman Bob Gorden as dusk drew near, that the unfinished matches would resume where they left off today at 6:30 a.m.

So it will be an early riser for the championship field – all except for four golfers, that is.

Each of defending champion Tom Hoge, Pat Deitz, Todd Hillier and Mason Kennedy finished their opponents off in dominating fashion and more importantly, before the siren went off signifying the end of play for Thursday.

“It’s nice, now I’ll be able to get a little sleep when the others are playing,” Hoge said of the advantage of winning Thursday.

Hoge remained on his torrid pace in the first round of action, as he finished off Philip Haug 6 and 5.

Nothing was normal about Thursday’s schedule, as championship flight golfers had to wait around for about five hours for the string of storm cells to pass through.

But even a long layoff couldn’t curb Hoge’s momentum, as he promptly sunk two birdies on the two starting holes and went from there.

“Those two birdies really set the pace,” Hoge said. “I played pretty well, despite getting here at the golf course at 11 a.m. and waiting five hours to start.”

Deitz was also anxious to build an early lead and hopefully win before the night was called.

“I heard from a few guys that the matches were possibly going to resume early the next morning, so I was hoping to get the match over quickly,” Deitz said. “Now, I can sleep in.”

Deitz held true to his goal of a quick start, too, by winning the first four holes on Miller, then kept the pressure on by playing aggressive to the pin.

The Concordia College golfer chipped in on 12 to halve the hole, despite Miller sinking a 20-foot eagle putt, to keep the pressure fully on.

Championship flight

Todd Hillier def. Tanner Jones 7 and 6

Mason Kennedy def. Nick Olsgaard 6 and 5

Pat Deitz def. Jon Miller 8 and 7

Tom Hoge def. Philip Haug 6 and 5

Inforum searchword: Pine to Palm

Wierima writes for the Detroit Lakes Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.