Resorters Golf Tournament: Vangsness hopes to join elite company in Men's Division
Alexandria's Ben Vangsness is one step closer to becoming the first back-to-back champion in the Men's Regular Division since 2002-2003.
Mark Lindberg of Coppell, Texas was the last one to accomplish that feat. Today, Vangsness will try to become just the sixth player in Resorters history to ever win consecutive titles in the Men's Division. Pat Sawyer has a record five straight titles from 1947-1951.
That would put Vangsness in some pretty elite company if he is able to pull off a couple more wins today. He will be joined on the 1st tee box at 7:06 this morning by three-time champion Jerry Rose of Sarasota, Florida and a couple of competitors searching for their first Resorters championship in Dylan Gergen of Mendota Heights and Collin Witiak of Columbia, South Carolina.
The two who advance to the championship will tee off with the Men's Executive finalists at approximately 1 this afternoon.
def. Meyer, 2-1
It didn't come easy for Vangsness but he got the job done against West Fargo's Grady Meyer in a 2-1 match.
Vangsness overcame a slow start by winning a stretch of five out of six holes in the middle of his round. Meyer led by two after a birdie win on the par-5 sixth.
That's when Vangsness began to make his charge. He answered back with a couple of par wins on Nos. 7 and 8 to get back to even.
That's how they went into the turn before Vangsness went par, birdie on Nos. 10 and 11 to take his first lead of the afternoon. He never beat himself from there on out.
Vangsness' steady play forced Meyer to try and make birdies down the stretch. Both players did that on No. 12 before a stretch of five straight pars by both golfers ended things after 17 holes.
C. Vangsness, 1-up
Alexandria's Casey Vangsness almost earned the right to play his older brother in the semifinals today, but it was Gergen who persevered for a 1-up win.
The biggest lead for either player in this match was just one hole as things went back-and-forth all afternoon. The two were even through five straight holes after a birdie win on 8 erased what had been a one-hole deficit for Vangsness.
On the 14th, Gergen finally took advantage of a rare bogey by Vangsness with a par that gave him the 1-up lead. Gergen never let go of the lead after that as both players parred the final four holes.
Witiak def. Lervick, 2-up
Close matches were a theme throughout the day in the Men's Division and the battle between Witiak and Chanhassen's Collin Lervick was no exception.
Witiak broke what had been an even match after 15 by winning two of the final three holes. His par win on 16 put him in the driver's seat and a par win on 18 ended it to secure his spot in the semifinals.
Witiak was able to take a sigh of relief after watching a three-hole lead on the front disappear. Lervick chipped away at him with a birdie win on 6 and a par win on 7 to make things close going into the turn. He then evened it back up on 11 with a birdie.
Rose needed a little magic in a playoff to keep his chances of earning a fourth Resorters title alive against Alexandria's Nick Brundell.
Neither player was able to gain much separation throughout the afternoon as Brundell took a 1-up lead into the turn. That's how they stood four holes later after they split birdie wins at Nos. 12 and 13.
Rose was finally able to pull even with a par win on the 16th. Both players then went bogey, par on the final two holes to set the stage for a playoff.
On the first extra hole, Rose walloped his drive almost past the green, landing off to the left of it. Brundell used an iron, was a little short and chipped to within about 30 feet.
Rose was looking at a very dicey shot. He had to contend with a low-hanging tree branch, a looming sand trap and a hill sloping down from the green. He worked his magic though, hitting the ball into the hill where it bounced beautifully toward the hole, landing about 15 feet away.
Brundell left his birdie putt well short. Rose also missed but left himself an easy tap in. Brundell ran his par putt beyond the hole and he conceded the match.
MEN'S REGULAR DIVISION
Ben Vangsness def. Grady Meyer, 2-1
Dylan Gergen def. Casey Vangsness, 1-up
Collin Witiak def. Collin Lervick, 2-up
Jerry Rose def. Nick Brundell, 19-holes
7:06 a.m. - B. Vangsness vs. Gergen; Witiak vs. Rose