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Resorters Golf Tournament: Vangsness topples friend to take Men's crown

Al Edenloff, Echo Press Alexandria's Tyler Whiting (left) congratulated Ben Vangsness after his victory over Whiting in the Men's_Division championship in the Resorters Golf Tournament Saturday.

Three years ago, Tyler Whiting knocked Ben Vangsness out of the Resorters Golf Tournament in the semifinals on his way to winning the championship.

This year, it was Vangsness' turn.

In a battle between friends, both from Alexandria, Vangsness defeated Whiting 5-4 in Saturday's final match at the Alexandria Golf Club to become the 2011 Men's Division champion.

Vangsness, who was in Whiting's wedding a year and a half ago, said that playing against his friend was fun - even with a championship on the line.

"We always joke around that out of all of our friends, the two of us play the least amount of golf," Vangsness said. "But we do OK in this tourney."

It was a little better than OK.

The 22-year-old Vangsness, who qualified for the match play tournament with the fourth-best round of 71, mowed through four other opponents before tangling with Whiting. He defeated C.J. Haukom of Marshall, 3-2; Tyler Monda of Brainerd, 3-2; Dan Klein of Phoenix, Arizona in 19 holes; and defending champion Don Constable of Deep Haven 2-1 in the semifinals.

Whiting, who advanced into the final match with a 2-1 win over Sam Peterson of Benson, wasn't all that upset after losing to his friend. "He had seven birdies," Whiting said to friends after the match ended on the 14th green. "What could I do against that?"

The start of the match was delayed about a half an hour because of a short but heavy downpour. There were a few puddles on the course and in the sand traps. But that didn't seem to faze Vangsness.

MEN'S REGULAR DIVISION QUALIFIERS

Donald Constable DC

Mark Giorgi 68

Tyler Whiting 69

Gordy Diekman 70

Ben Vangsness 71

Thomas Strandemo 72

Paul Webskowski 72

Sam Peterson 72

Jesse Hafdal 72

Alec Heinen 72

Austin Fowler 73

Grady Meyer 73

Geoff Klein 73

Joey Shroyer 73

John Hafdal 74

Bennett Black 74

Chris Sholts 74

Tyler Monda 74

Bryant Black 74

Luke Johnson 74

Nick Paulson 74

Jack Thiel 74

Nick Brundell 74

Aaron Duncan 74

Erik Peterson 75

Jacob Montplaisir 75

Dan Klein 75

C.J. Haukom 75

Sean Halverson 75

Derek Swedberg 76

Mike Rose 76

Jack Dressen 76

WEDNESDAY OPENING ROUND

UPPER BRACKET

Donald Constable def. Jack Dressen, 1-up

John Hafdal def. Bennett Black, 1-up

Thomas Strandemo def. Eric Peterson, 2-1

Jacob Montplaisir def. Paul Webskowski 4-3

Dan Klein def. Gordy Diekman, 1-up

Austin Fowler def. Chris Sholts 3-2

Ben Vangsness def. C.J. Haukom 3-2

Tyler Monda def. Grady Meyers, 22 holes

LOWER BRACKET

Mark Giorgi def. Derek Swedberg, 1-up

Luke Johnson def. Bryant Black 5-4

Alec Heinen def. Nick Paulsen 5-4

Sam Peterson def. Jack Teal 3-2

Tyler Whiting def. Mike Rose 5-4

Geoff Klein def. Nick Brundell 5-4

Jesse Hafdal def. Sean Halverson 1-up

Joey Shroyer def. Aaron Duncan 2-1

THURSDAY RESULTS

UPPER BRACKET

Constable def. Hafdal 7-6

Montplaisir def. Strandemo 4-3

Klein def. Fowler 1-up

Vangsness def. Monda 3-2

LOWER BRACKET

Johnson def. Giorgi, 25 holes

S. Peterson def. Heinen, 19 holes

Whitind def. Klein 2-1

Shroyer def. Hafdal 4-2

FRIDAY RESULTS

UPPER BRACKET

Constable def. Montplaisir 1-up

Vangsness def. Klein 19 holes

LOWER BRACKET

Peterson def. Johnson 5-3

Whiting def. Shroyer 2-up

SATURDAY RESULTS

SEMIFINALS

UPPER BRACKET

Vangsness def. Constable 2-1

LOWER BRACKET

Whiting def. S. Peterson 2-1

CHAMPIONSHIP

Vangsness def. Whiting 5-4

Whiting took the first lead with a birdie on No. 1 but Vangsness answered with a birdie on the next hole.

Vangsness had a rare miscue on No. 3, putting too much mustard on a chip and lost the hole with a bogey.

Vangsness made another nice birdie putt on No. 5 to draw even and took the lead for the first time with a birdie on No. 7, drilling his drive to within six feet of the cup.

After halving No. 8 with pars, Vangsness' putter came through again with another birdie and he held a 2-up lead at the turn.

Vangsness didn't give an inch on the back nine. He took advantage when Whiting hit a tree branch on No. 10 to win with a par to go 3-up.

Both golfers made nifty birdies on No. 11. Whiting's chip for a possible eagle wowed the crowd by just missing the cup and Vangsness, playing from a familiar spot in the trees to the left of the green, made a nice shot onto the green and again drained the birdie putt.

Vangsness found himself in a rain-soaked sand trap on No. 12 but he was able to get up and down for a birdie to take the hole.

After they both settled for par on No. 13, Vangsness knew he could nail down the victory on the next hole and his putting delivered it. He calmly dropped in his seventh birdie to end it, 5-4.

The victory was Vangsness' first title at the Resorters. His reaction?

"It's surreal," he said minutes before Saturday's awards ceremony. "I didn't realize it until it was over and it still hasn't sunk in."

For the round, Vangsness was 5-under par.

"Tyler played solid. Except for the hole that we both bogeyed [No. 4], he was 2-under," Whiting said. "That's just how it goes some days."

Vangsness is the first Alexandrian to win the Men's Championship since Whiting did it in 2008.

Vangsness recently graduated from St. John's University with an accounting degree and landed a job with LarsonAllen in Alexandria.

He said he plans to return to defend his title next year, if the company, as it did this year, gives him time off - perhaps to once again enjoy some champion-style golf between friends.

MEN'S REGULAR DIVISION QUALIFIERS

Donald Constable DC

Mark Giorgi 68

Tyler Whiting 69

Gordy Diekman 70

Ben Vangsness 71

Thomas Strandemo 72

Paul Webskowski 72

Sam Peterson 72

Jesse Hafdal 72

Alec Heinen 72

Austin Fowler 73

Grady Meyer 73

Geoff Klein 73

Joey Shroyer 73

John Hafdal 74

Bennett Black 74

Chris Sholts 74

Tyler Monda 74

Bryant Black 74

Luke Johnson 74

Nick Paulson 74

Jack Thiel 74

Nick Brundell 74

Aaron Duncan 74

Erik Peterson 75

Jacob Montplaisir 75

Dan Klein 75

C.J. Haukom 75

Sean Halverson 75

Derek Swedberg 76

Mike Rose 76

Jack Dressen 76

WEDNESDAY OPENING ROUND

UPPER BRACKET

Donald Constable def. Jack Dressen, 1-up

John Hafdal def. Bennett Black, 1-up

Thomas Strandemo def. Eric Peterson, 2-1

Jacob Montplaisir def. Paul Webskowski 4-3

Dan Klein def. Gordy Diekman, 1-up

Austin Fowler def. Chris Sholts 3-2

Ben Vangsness def. C.J. Haukom 3-2

Tyler Monda def. Grady Meyers, 22 holes

LOWER BRACKET

Mark Giorgi def. Derek Swedberg, 1-up

Luke Johnson def. Bryant Black 5-4

Alec Heinen def. Nick Paulsen 5-4

Sam Peterson def. Jack Teal 3-2

Tyler Whiting def. Mike Rose 5-4

Geoff Klein def. Nick Brundell 5-4

Jesse Hafdal def. Sean Halverson 1-up

Joey Shroyer def. Aaron Duncan 2-1

THURSDAY RESULTS

UPPER BRACKET

Constable def. Hafdal 7-6

Montplaisir def. Strandemo 4-3

Klein def. Fowler 1-up

Vangsness def. Monda 3-2

LOWER BRACKET

Johnson def. Giorgi, 25 holes

S. Peterson def. Heinen, 19 holes

Whitind def. Klein 2-1

Shroyer def. Hafdal 4-2

FRIDAY RESULTS

UPPER BRACKET

Constable def. Montplaisir 1-up

Vangsness def. Klein 19 holes

LOWER BRACKET

Peterson def. Johnson 5-3

Whiting def. Shroyer 2-up

SATURDAY RESULTS

SEMIFINALS

UPPER BRACKET

Vangsness def. Constable 2-1

LOWER BRACKET

Whiting def. S. Peterson 2-1

CHAMPIONSHIP

Vangsness def. Whiting 5-4

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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