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Brian Wierima / Forum News Service, Published August 08 2013

Four former champs advance at Pine to Palm

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – With the look of the Pine to Palm golf tournament getting younger and younger each year, there still is a good balance of age and wisdom scattered throughout the field of 64.

That was very evident Thursday during the first round of the 81st Pine to Palm match play at the Detroit Country Club, as all four former champions claimed victory over their much younger counterparts.

It started with the return of the 2000 champion Chad Skarperud, who hasn’t played in the Pine to Palm in at least seven to eight years. It continued with victories by 2010 champ Todd Hillier, two-time winner Rick Kuhn and 2003 champion Greg Melhus.

All four are past the age of 35 and all have been tough outs during match play, no matter how good or young their opponents have been.

“I think with the older guys, we have an easier time brushing off a bad shot. We don’t let one bad hole bug us,” Melhus said. “I just think we are more patient and never take anything for granted.”

For Skarperud, his 2000 championship match win over Tony Vincelli 2-up ranks right with his 1993 Birchmont title.

His run that year was marked by how he wore his tennis shoes during play, which were both untied. He also was 28 years old when he won the Pine to Palm.

Things have changed.

“I tie my shoes now,” Skarperud laughed. “But going back to 2000, I remember just taking it one shot at a time and one day at a time. I learned you can’t worry about who you play. You just need to stay in the moment.”

Skarperud used that formula to top 2011 champion Connor Holland 3 and 2 Thursday in the first round of match play.

Holland became the youngest Pine to Palm champion at the age of 17 when he scored the silver trophy in 2011.

The duo exchanged birdies through hole three, where Skarperud eventually took a 1-up lead at the turn.

An eagle on 12 upped the lead to 2-up, which came on a 220-yard punch-draw shot out of the rough. It landed within two feet of the cup.

Skarperud extended his lead to 3-up, this time sinking a 35-to-40 foot putt on the 14th green.

“It was a real nice match today,” Skarperud said. “I’m very good friends with Connor’s dad, Paul, and this was the first time I played golf with Connor. So it was a fun day.”

Thursday’s results

Round of 64

Jon Trasamar def. Austin Rusness 3 and 2

Teddy Cox def. Michael Melhus in 20 holes

Ryan Vincelli def. Hunter Thorsen 1 up

Tyler Lowenstein def. Nathanial Varty 4 and 2

Max Rosenthal def. Sarah Storandt 8 and 6

Coy Papachek def. Matt Rachey 3 and 2

Lukas Davidson def. Matt Rubis in 19 holes

Taylor Cavanagh def. Nick Olsgaard 1 up

Rick Kuhn def. Nick Myhre 1 up

Marc Redman def. Alex Kline 1 up

Jack Holmgren def. Michael Greenberg 4 and 3

Nick Schaefer def. Tanner Lane 3 and 2

Dominic Kieffer def. Kyle Scanlon 7 and 6

Marc Vincelli def. Robbie Foster 1 up

Zach Kappes def. Matthew Berntson 3 and 2

Nathan Anderson def. Sam Palmisano 3 and 2

Bill Carlson def. Alex Case 3 and 2

Pat Deitz def. Jacob Montplaisir 5 and 3

Greg Melhus def. Brock Ellingson 2 up

Trenton Olson def. Alexander McElhaney 7 and 5

Alex Gaugert def. Mason Kennedy 5 and 4

Todd Hillier def. Michael Kosiek 3 and 2

Jon Dutoit def. Jake Miller 4 and 3

Larry Montplaisir def. Grady Meyer 4 and 3

Robert F. Wagner def. Caleb Ketterling 1 up

Chris Swenson def. Will Holmgren 5 and 4

Thomas Strandemo def. Charlie Braniff 3 and 2

Bobby Reuter def. Lucas Gervais 1 up

Bryant Buckellew def. Sean Krall 3 and 2

Chad Skarperud def. Connor Holland 3 and 2

Adam Gronaas def. Trevor Swangler 6 and 5

Jim Lehman def. Philip Haug 1 up

Today’s matchups

Round of 32

1:28 p.m.: Zach Kappes vs. Nathan Anderson; Bill Carlson vs. Pat Deitz

1:37 p.m.: Dominic Kieffer vs. Marc Vincelli; Greg Melhus vs. Trenton Olson

1:46 p.m.: Jack Holmgren vs. Nick Schaefer; Alex Gaugert vs. Todd Hillier

1:55 p.m.: Rick Kuhn vs. Marc Redman; Jon Dutoit vs. Larry Montplaisir

2:04 p.m.: Lukas Davidson vs. Taylor Cavanagh; Thomas Strandemo vs. Bobby Reuter

2:13 p.m.: Max Rosenthal vs. Coy Papachek; Robert F. Wagner vs. Chris Swenson

2:22 p.m.: Bryant Buckellew vs. Chad Skarperud; Ryan Vincelli vs. Tyler Lowenstein

2:31 p.m.: Adam Gronaas vs. Jim Lehman; Jon Trasamar vs. Teddy Cox


Wierima is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune