Ben Vangsness eyes third straight Men's title
The 92nd Resorters Golf Tournament will once again bring plenty of familiar faces back to the Alexandria Golf Club this coming week. They are looking to capture their first title or add to an already impressive resume by the time all is said and done next Saturday.
Five of the 2012 champions are back to defend their titles this summer. Alexandria's Ben Vangsness headlines that list as he tries to become the first Men's Division player to win three consecutive championships since Pat Sawyer of Minneapolis won five straight from 1947 through 1951.
Alexandria's Tom Eidsvold and Steve Herzog are back in the Masters and Senior Divisions, respectively, trying to capture a second straight title. St. Cloud's Daryl Schomer will try to do the same in the Men's Executive Division, while Nathaniel Adams returns, looking to recapture the Junior 10-12 Division. Alexandria's Maggie Leland and Peter Dierks of Leawood, Kansas are not back to defend their 2012 titles.
"I think we should have a really competitive field again in all our divisions," AGC head professional Ron Rebrovich said.
It's a field that Rebrovich said could include almost 320 golfers by the time the tournament kicks off on Monday. Almost 310 were already registered by the time this issue went to print.
"We'll be up about 16 from last year," Rebrovich said. "That's kind of our benchmark or our capacity. Anything above and beyond that, we start running into pace of play issues where we're trying to get too many players on the golf course. Then you start detracting from the quality of the event."
The number of teams in the Pro-Am, which kicks off Resorters week on Sunday is also expected to be up around 35 teams this year. That will get going at 2 p.m. with qualifying rounds for Resorters starting at 7 a.m. on Monday.
Vangsness will have to defend his title against more than 100 competitors in this year's field.
Included in that is Jerry Rose, the three-time champion who Vangsness beat last year in the title match. Other past champions in this year's tournament include Mark Lindberg (2002, 2003) of Coppell, Texas, and 2008 champion Tyler Whiting. Ben's brother, Casey Vangsness, is also playing after qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship on July 22.
"It's such a strong field," Rebrovich said. "There's a lot of people who can win. Jerry Rose is playing well. He's won multiple times. Jeremy Decko got his amateur status back. He'll be a strong contender for the first time in a long time because he was a pro for many years. It's going to be a strong field."
Schomer became a first-time Resorters winner last year. To get his second, he'll have to go through another talented field that includes 2011 champion Tim Peterson of Lino Lakes.
Stefan Freeman, a 2009 Men's Executive champion, is also back in search of another title. Last year's runner-up, Kevin Farley of Lakeville, will try to get back in a title match this summer after falling in a 1-up match to Schomer in 2012.
Leland is disappointed that she wasn't able to return and try to capture a fourth Women's Division title.
She stayed in Sioux Falls this summer as her work at an internship for the South Dakota Golf Association did not allow her to return. That opens the field for a group of more than 30 golfers, including former champs Connie Sornsin (2002, 2004) of Goodyear, Arizona and Betsy Aldrich (2008, 2003) of St. Louis Park.
It's a young field, with 22 of the registered golfers being 24 years of age or younger. Included in that are three players from the Alexandria Cardinals second-place state tournament team from this past spring in Amanda Bigger, Brynn Novotny and Emily Thul.
A talented field of Resorters veterans are back to challenge Eidsvold as he tries to repeat in the Masters Division.
Perennial power Ron Clayton of Sarasota, Florida headlines that list as the eight-time Resorters champion goes for title number nine. Six-time winner George Cliff (Senior Division - 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007; Executive Division - 1988, 1989) of Mankato also looks to add to his resume.
Alexandria's Dave Harris is looking to do the same after winning the Senior Division titles in 1998 and 2006, while 2000 Masters Division champion, Jim Fitzgerald of Montgomery, Texas, will also fight for another title.
Herzog is looking for his fifth Resorters title this week after outlasting Plymouth's Jim Arnold for his fourth in a 6-5 match in 2012.
Arnold is hoping to get another shot at his first championship as he returns from a group of almost 40 competitors in the Senior Men's field. Eight-time champion Jon Empanger of Chaska is not playing this summer.
JUNIOR 13-15 DIVISION
A couple former Junior 10-12 Division champs will be vying for their first 13-15 Division titles this summer with 2012 winner Peter Dierks surpassing this age group.
Christopher Adam of Maple Grove will be going up against more than 35 competitors after winning the 2011 10-12 championship. Chaska's Lincoln Johnson will be doing the same after taking that division in 2010.
JUNIOR 10-12 DIVISION
Nathaniel Adams, the younger brother of Christopher Adams, will try to hold off the rest of more than 20 players in the Junior 10-12 Division.
Thirteen of those come from Alexandria as a lot of local youngsters will try to capture their first Resorters title on their home course.