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Glenn Pursley, Published July 14 2013

Buckellew tops Thorsen for F-M All-City title

MOORHEAD – It’s been six years in the making for Bryant Buckellew, but he can now call himself an All-City champion.

Buckellew defeated Hunter Thorsen 3 and 2 on Sunday to win the Fargo-Moorhead All-City golf tournament at The Meadows golf course in Moorhead.

He has participated in the All-City tournament since he was 14 years old. Last year, he lost to Dan Matheson in the semifinals.

“It’s what I’ve prepared for all summer,” Buckellew said. “It’s why I came back from Arizona.”

He moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., during the school year to try out for the Scottsdale Community College golf team.

“I went down to play golf for the Fighting Artichokes, but I could hardly break 80 during the qualifying, so I didn’t make the team,” Buckellew said. “It was a really good learning experience. I’m going to try out for the team again in August.”

After giving up hole No. 10 to Thorsen to even the match, Buckellew was able to hold on to the lead through the last six holes.

On No. 16, Buckellew’s tee shot hit the fairway and he chipped on in two.

Thorsen, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. His tee shot drew left and landed in a water hazard, already putting him a stroke behind on the hole.

“When I went into the water on 16, that was it,” Thorsen said. “Then my drop rolled back. It was right on the edge of the hazard, so I was standing in the hazard. I pretty much knew I was done at that point.”

Once Buckellew saw what happened, he knew what he had to do.

“I hit the fairway on my drive so after he went in (the water hazard) I figured if I made par, I could lock up the match,” Buckellew said.

And that’s exactly what he did. After reaching the green in two, Buckellew’s first putt got him in range to sink an easy par putt for the win.

Buckellew cruised through his semifinal match earlier Sunday, beating Brandon Sletmoen 6 and 4.

Thorsen had a tough semifinal match against Nathan Anderson, but was able to beat him 1-up to face Buckellew in the finals.

Although the victory over Anderson wasn’t in the championship, he was still excited about breaking new ground.

“It was the first time I’ve ever beat him, and I’ve played him three times so I was pretty happy,” said Thorsen, a senior at Minnesota State Moorhead. “This is my best finish. I feel good about making it as far as I have.”

In the consolation championship, Eric Aughinbaugh, a 2010 Fargo South graduate, was paired against Jon Miller.

Aughinbaugh and Miller were neck and neck, most of the match, but an impressive chip-in by Aughinbaugh on hole No. 16 paved the way to a 2-up win for third place.

“My chipping was really bad, but on 16 I chipped one in so it kind of turned the whole day around,” Aughinbaugh said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549