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Brian Wierima / Forum News Service, Published August 11 2013

Minnesota golfer wins Pine to Palm

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – It was a rare sweep for University of Minnesota senior Jon Trasamar, as he joined some elite company after winning both the 81st Pine to Palm Golf Tournament’s medalist honors and the championship, something which was only done three previous times since 1985.

The Gophers golfer topped Detroit Lakes’ native Robert Wagner in the finals 2 and 1 to seal the deal Sunday on his Pine to Palm sweep.

The only other golfers to pull off the medalist-championship sweep, are Andy Doeden (2001), Mike Podolak (1993) and Jim Sorenson (1985).

Trasamar put on one of the most consistently dominating performances in recent Pine to Palm history by steamrolling over his match-play competition after earning medalist laurels by shooting a nine-under par 133.

The Gopher senior captain felt a run like he put on this past week at the Detroit Country was coming.

“My golf game has been getting better and better all year, and instead of playing a bunch, I instead was focusing on being a smarter golfer and working on my course management,” Trasamar said. “It was trending to this tournament, and this past week, I was hitting the ball so well.”

Trasamar’s toughest outing of the tournament came in the finals, where he met 1998 Detroit Lakes graduate Wagner, who put on an exciting run through match play.

Wagner had a third-best qualifying score, with a seven-under par 135, while winning close matches all the way through and highlighted by his 5 and 4 win over Greg Melhus, who was making his fifth appearance in the tournament’s final four.

“I’ve been playing my best golf of my life this week,” Wagner said. “I play a pretty hard course in the Cities (Minneapolis Golf Club) and never score under par. I was 26-under par total this week.”

Wagner made his statement early that he belonged in the Pine to Palm finals, after he chipped in a 45-foot eagle on the first green.

It was a hole Trasamar was accustomed to winning, since he made birdie every time he played it in his eight tries, but once.

“After I saw him sink his eagle, things changed and I knew birdie wasn’t good enough,” Trasamar said.

That didn’t occur, as Wagner had an early 1-up lead.

“I had about a 45-foot putt and there was a piece of dirt on my ball, which of course I couldn’t remove, so I just tried to put it next to the cup,” Wagner said. “I hit it perfectly and it rolled in. To hear the roar from the gallery was just sweet.”

After being out-driven off the second tee, Trasamar forced to half the hole, then made his own statement on the third green.

On his birdie putt, Trasamar sunk his 20-footer to bring the match back to even.

The duo also halved No. 5, a hole Trasamar birdied every time he played it.

Wagner went back 1-up by winning six with his own 18-20 foot putt before Trasamar nailed a 15-foot birdie on the Par 3 eighth hole.

That started a string of crucial wins by Trasamar, as both golfers threw darts on the ninth green, but Wagner two-putted and the Gopher made birdie for a 1-up advantage.

“I had a great wedge shot up to the green, probably one of the best I had all week,” Trasamar said of his approach shot. “That one was big for me.”

Wierima is the Sports Editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune