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Stage is set for Resorters Golf Tournament in Alexandria

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The pressure, excitement and drama of the Resorters Golf Tournament at the Alexandria Golf Course is building.

Qualifying rounds wrapped up Tuesday in most divisions and two brackets have already started match play.

Here's a summary of the action:


Dan Klein shot the lowest qualifying score in the Men’s Division on Tuesday as the 32-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona took advance of some perfect conditions in the morning.

Klein bested the rest of the field by three strokes as Shay Conder of Lehi, Utah and Dylan Gergen of Mendota Heights each shot 70s to position themselves well in the championship flight.

Klein’s 67 tied last year’s medalist round. He got on a roll in the back nine after shooting a 35 on the front. He went four-under after the turn with birdies on 11, 12, 17 and 18. He also birdied Nos. 6, 7 and 9 on the front as Klein continued to play steady golf all morning long to secure his spot as the second seed in the tournament.

Casey Vangsness is back as the defending champion and the top seed trying to make it two in a row and a fourth straight for his family. Ben Vangsness also qualified for the championship flight after shooting a 74 on Tuesday morning.

The final five spots into the championship flight came down to a playoff between seven golfers who shot 75. Matt Bennett, Jerry Rose, Tony Gergen, Michael Oberg, Geoff Klein, Jaques Wilson and Collin Witiak all battled for those final spots as they went off the first tee for the playoff.

The 55-year-old Rose, a three time champion in the division (2000, 1983 and 1979), survived the playoff, along with Oberg of Lakeville, Klein of St. Peter, Bennett of Marshall, and Wilson of Victoria.

The 75 cut mark was one stroke better than last year’s 76.

In addition to the Vangsness brothers and Rose, the division boasts one other Resorters champion – Nick Heinen of Edmond, OK, who won the Junior Division (13 to 15) in 2009 and 2011. He was also last year’s medalist.

This year’s starting field of 32 hopefuls includes 20 returnees from last year’s championship bracket. Three of them made it to the final four last year – Casey Vangsness, Jeremy Decko of Carlos and runner-up, Heinen.


NOON – C. Vangsness vs. Klein; Decko vs. B. Hafdal

12:09 – Bahe vs. Peterson; Meyer vs. Jarrett

12:18 – Gergen vs. Bennett; A. Heinen vs. Farley

12:27 – Lehman vs. Wilson; Lervick vs. Be. Black

12:36 – Klein vs. Rose; Swedberg vs. Winge

12:45 – Montplaisir vs. Herdine; J. Hafdal vs. Greenberg

12:54 – Conder vs. Oberg; Lindberg vs. McCulloch

1:03 – Br. Black vs. B. Vangsness; N. Heinen vs. Anderson


Half of the competitors in the Resorters Women’s Division championship flight from last summer are back.

The field includes two former champions – defending champ Samantha Falk of Glenwood and the 2008 and 2013 titlist, Betsy Aldrich of St. Louis Park, who qualified with a round of 82.

Also in the hunt is a semifinalist from last year, Andrea Dwyer of Elk River, who shot an 84 during qualifying.

Brianna Janu of Glenwood led the pack with a sizzling medalist round of 71, two strokes better than last year’s best of 73 carded by Sarah Roering of Glenwood.

If you like pulling for local golfers, the Women’s Division gives you plenty of options. Six hale from Alexandria – Amanda Bigger, Emily Thul, Nancy Syverson, Natalie Amundson, Jen Cavers and Veronica Kingson.

Nearby Glenwood is also well represented with four golfers making the cut – Falk, Janu, Jenna Janu and Alexis Guggisberg. Alayna Eldred of Osakis is also in the running.

But don’t rule out the five “out-of-towners,” who include Aldrich; Dwyer; Amanda Woodhull of Durham, NC (a qualifying round of 77); Kelly Westerham of St. Louis Park (84); and Pam Marlow of Wichita, KA (89).

The cut to make the championship flight was 93, seven strokes off last year’s mark of 86.

First round matches in the Women’s Division start at 1:48 p.m. today from the No. 1 tee.


1:48 P.M. – S. Falk vs. Kingston; Eldred vs. Syverson

1:57 – Woodhull vs. Dwyer; Bigger vs. Westerham

2:06 – B. Janu vs. Cavers; Guggisberg vs. Aldrich

2:15 – J. Janu vs. Marlow; Thul vs. Amundson


The Men’s Executive Division is set with 48 golfers being dwindled to the top 32 players who are ready to compete for a championship flight title starting today.

Andy Petersen of Albert Lea is the medalist of the group after qualifying with a 72. He held off Nick Paulsen of Alexandria, who finished second in qualifying with a 73.

The top 16 Men’s Executive players all shot in the 70s. John Dolan of Shorewood was the last player to sneak into the championship field as he carded an 84 on Monday.

Last year’s runner-up in the division is back as the ninth seed this week. Tim Peterson of Circle Pines shot a 77 on Monday as he prepares to try and capture his second Resorters title and first since winning this division in 2011. His 77 on Monday tied fellow perennial Resorters competitor Al Hagen of Harrisburg, South Dakota. 

Peterson battled Daryl Schomer in the championship match last year. Schomer won the last two Executive titles, but his absence this year leaves the field open for the taking.

Another one of last year’s semifinalists is also back in the championship flight as Chaska’s Jeff Johnson shot an 80 during qualifying to make the field. He fell to Schomer in last year’s semifinals.

The eight foursomes from the Executive championship flight will tee off today, Wednesday, starting at noon from the 10th tee.


NOON – A. Petersen vs. Dolan; Gardiner vs. Grosman

12:09 – Hagen vs. Bennett; Tim. Peterson vs. Durkin

12:18 – E. Heimsness vs. Fingalsen; Harris vs. Hanson

12:27 – Lewis vs. D. Johnson; Marlow vs. J. Johnson

12:36 – Paulsen vs. Watson; Adams vs. Williams

12:45 – Rockers vs. C. Johnson; Lueck vs. Tony Peterson

12:54 – Carothers vs. Donley; T. Johnson vs. Wirth

1:03 – Bradford vs. Bigger; Wessel vs. Dilley


The Senior Division’s first day featured a couple perennial powers cruising to wins and a field cut in half as just 16 players remain in search of a title.

Jon Empanger and Steve Herzog have a combined 13 Resorters titles between them, and they both have a chance to add another after winning on Tuesday.

The Senior Division competitors will step back on the first tee starting at 1:12 p.m. today. First, here’s a look at how each of the final 16 got here.



The two-time defending champion in the Senior Division took his first step toward a three-peat on Tuesday afternoon as Steve Herzog downed Brad Hanson of Alexandria in a 4-3 match.

Herzog never trailed in this one after he took his first lead with a par win on the second hole. Hanson tied it up with a par win of his own on 3 before Herzog took No. 4 with another par.

The defending champ never trailed again after that. He used birdies on Nos. 6 and 9 to help him take a four-hole lead into the back. Hanson got it as close as two holes after a birdie win on the par-three 13th, but Herzog responded with par wins on 14 and 15 to secure the win with three holes to spare.



A battle between Burnsville’s Norty Blanchard and Alexandria’s A.J. Kluver came down to the 17th hole before Kluver put away the win with a par after leading for almost the entire day.

Blanchard’s only lead came after the first hole when he won with par. Kluver immediately answered back with a par win on 2 before adding a birdie win on 6. He stretched his lead out to 3-up by the time they made the turn after shooting 37 on the front.

Blanchard was able to cut it down to two with a par win on 11, but Kluver struck again on 13 and 14 with par wins of his own. Blanchard did the same with a par win on 15 and a birdie win on 16. By that time, it was a little too late as Kluver held on after both players halved 17.



Alexandria’s Bill Freeman didn’t have to worry much after a handful of holes on Tuesday as he built a big lead and never looked back against Tim Iverson of Carlos.

Freeman took his first lead on hole 2 and added another to that on the 3rd. He used a bogey win on 5 to start a stretch of four straight wins that turned the match entirely in his favor. Included in that was a couple birdie wins on Nos. 6 and 8.

His lead was five holes heading to the back, where he continued to pile up wins. Freeman won Nos. 10 and 11 with pars before his birdie on the par-five 12th hole sealed the deal for him with an opening round win.



JT Johnson of Woodbury didn’t drop a hole on Tuesday as he ran away from Erik Hansen of Stowe, Vermont in a 7-6 match.

Johnson methodically made his move with birdie wins on 2 and 4 getting his round off on the right foot. He added a par win on 5, a birdie win on 6 and two more par wins on 8 and 9 to take a commanding lead onto the back.

His fourth birdie of the day on 10 moved him to 7-up. That’s exactly where he stayed as he advanced to take on Freeman in today’s match.


WHITE, 4-3

Perennial Resorters contender Greg Mattson of Becker took care of his first-round opponent in a 4-3 match on Tuesday with a flurry of wins on the back.

Mattson beat Michael White of Maple Grove by putting him away with a birdie win on 15. The two were all square after seven, but Mattson used par wins on 8 and 9 to take some momentum into the back with a 2-up advantage.

He added to that right away with a birdie win on 10 and a par win on 12. White got one back on 14, but it was too little, too late as Mattson put things away on 15.


Jeff Pederson of Haymarket, Virginia knocked out a quarterfinalist from a year ago as he beat St. Cloud’s Gary Rolfzen 3-2 on Tuesday.

This one was close through much of the day, but Pederson was able to create a little bit of distance on the front that he never gave away. He got a par win on 1 before birdies on Nos. 5 and 8 sandwiched around a par win on 6 left him 3-up. Rolfzen got a birdie win of his own on 9 but wasn’t able to get much any closer on the back.

Pederson used a par win on 10 to move to 3-up again. It was a two-hole lead entering the 14th when he used a par win to cushion his advantage. The two halved the next two holes with pars to end things after 16.



One of the closest matches of the day came down to the final hole before Roger Ledebuhr defeated Terry Brunken of Sioux Falls, South Dakota 1-up.

Brunken tried to give himself a chance with a birdie win on 17. That cut his deficit to one hole, but both players parred 18 to send Ledebuhr on to the next round.

A three-hole stretch on the back proved to be the difference in the match. Both players were even after 13 when Ledebuhr took 14 with a birdie. They halved No. 15 before another par win on 16 for Ledebuhr gave him all he needed to secure the win.



Alexandria’s Larry Novotny got his tournament off to a good start by grabbing an early lead over Mark Pokorney of Buffalo and never looking back in a 5-4 match.

Novotny trailed after one hole but used wins on Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 6 to take command. His wins on 3 and 6 came with birdies as he made the turn with a three-hole lead.

Novotny continued to roll from there. He used a par win on 10 and a birdie win on 12 to move to 5-up before Pokorney got his third hole of the day with a par win on 13. Novotny ended any chances of a comeback on the very next hole by taking 14 with a par and securing the match.


Jim Arnold of Plymouth began to stretch his lead out as he made the turn on Tuesday and didn’t look back in a 5-4 win over Duane Meagher of Hot Springs Village, Arizona.

Arnold led by just one before par wins on 7 and 9 and a birdie win on 8 moved him to 4-up in the blink of an eye. Meagher got one back with a birdie win of his own on 11, but Arnold’s par wins on 12 and 13 all but sealed it as he needed just one more hole before securing the win.



Alexandria’s Joel Hilagen eagled No. 18 to clinch a hard-fought 1-up victory over Tim Evon in a back-and-forth battle.

The match featured multiple lead changes in which neither golfer led by more than two holes.

Evon grabbed an early 2-up lead on the front nine before a par on No. 7 and a bogey on No. 8 by Hilagen erased the early advantage.

Hilagen shot pars on Nos. 10 and 12 to rebound for his own lead at 2-up. But Evon battled back with a bogey on No. 13 and pars on Nos. 14 and No. 15 to retake the lead at 1-up.

Hilagen birdied the No. 17 par-three to tie the match heading into No. 18. Evon was able to par the final hole, but Hilagen’s eagle was more than enough to clinch the first-round victory.



Mark Redman of Eagan built a big lead on the front against St. Paul’s Joe LaFave on his way to a 5-4 win on Tuesday.

Redman got a couple birdie wins on Nos. 6 and 7 to move to 4-up before a par win on 8 gave him his biggest lead of the day at 5-up. LaFave was able to get it back within three holes, but two more par wins on 13 and 14 ended things early.


Tom Ryan of Edina kept things steady throughout his match against Thomas Dibble of Bloomington and that allowed him to take advantage of his opportunities in a 5-3 win.

Six of Ryan’s wins came on pars with a birdie win on 11 mixed in there. He trailed after one but wins on four, five, seven and nine left him 2-up heading to the back.

He added another par win on 12 to move to 4-up before his par win on 15 ended things.


Perennial power Jon Empanger of Chaska was up to his old tricks on Tuesday as he used an early lead to help secure a 5-4 win over Michael Flesch of Neenah, Wisconsin.

Empanger made his move on hole 4 with back-to-back par wins followed by consecutive birdie wins on 6 and 7 that turned an even match into a 4-up lead. Flesch got one back with a birdie win on No. 8, but Empanger’s par on 9 gave him some more momentum before crossing the road.

One more birdie for Empanger on 11 moved him to 5-up. That’s where things stood going into the 14th hole where both players shot par to help Empanger secure the win.



David Kjos clinched a 6-5 victory over Scott Marriott in a rematch of the Alexandria Golf Club’s senior championship that was played on July 27.

Kjos needed 19 holes to defeat Marriott in July, but on Tuesday he only needed 13 to advance in the Senior Division.

Kjos used a par on No. 5 and birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 to win three straight holes and grab a 4-up lead. A bogey on No. 9 improved the lead to 5-up after nine holes.

Marriott used a birdie on No. 10 to cut Kjos’ advantage to 4-up, but that would be his only win of the day. Kjos birdied both Nos. 11 and 12 to take a commanding 6-up lead.



A steady lead through the front nine for West St. Paul’s Steve Gergen continued to grow on the back holes until he clinched a 6-4 victory over Georgia’s Tom Vipond.

Gergen gained a solid 2-up lead in the front nine that he would not relinquish. Gergen birdied No. 11 and carded pars on the next three holes to grab the six-up lead and the match.



Florida’s Gene Seashore survived with a 1-up victory over Allen Strassburg after a back-and-forth battle that used all 18 holes of the Alexandria Golf Club.

Strassburg appeared to be in command of the match after he grabbed a 3-up lead after 10 holes. Strassburg gained this lead by shooting pars on Nos. 8, 9 and 10 to take advantage of bogeys carded by Seashore.

But Seashore began to chip away at the lead. He shot a par on No. 11, a birdie on No. 14 and a par on No. 15 to grab a share of the lead.

With both players heading into No. 18 all-square, Seashore carded a birdie to defeat Strassburg’s par for the 1-up victory.


The Junior 10-12 Division is set with eight golfers ready to battle for the top spot in the division after Tuesday’s qualifying round.

A total of 19 juniors took to the 10th tee starting at noon yesterday before the field was cut with a score of 47 being the final qualifier. Bennett and Lake Hagen and Joe Carothers all shot that as they snuck into the field in front of Blake Stedronsky, who just missed the cut with a 48.

Braeden Sladek of Alexandria stole the show with a solid nine of 38 to finish as the medalist and earn the top seed. The nine-year-old from Alexandria was on his game as he edged out Gabe McKeown of Lenexa, Kansas, who shot a 39. McKeown took second in the Junior 10-12 Division last year and figures to be right back in the hunt again this year.

Sladek bounced back from a couple bogeys on his first two holes on Tuesday to shoot par over the final seven. He birdied No. 16 around a stretch of pars before a bogey on 18.

Alexandria’s Grant Rebrovich will head into match play as the third seed after shooting a 44 on Tuesday. Davis Johnson of Chaska is the fourth seed after a 45. Sean Lehman of Scottsdale, Arizona shot a 46 to take the fifth seed, while L. Hagen is seeded sixth, B. Hagen seventh and Carothers will battle Sladek as the eighth seed.

The Junior 10-12 Division will kick off the first round of match play today, Wednesday, at 7 a.m. off the 10th tee box.


7 a.m. – Sladek vs. Carothers; D. Johnson vs. Lehman

7:09 a.m. – Gabe McKeown vs. B. Hagen; Rebrovich vs. L. Hagen


The top three seeds in the Junior 13-15 Division advanced to the second round of match play after an eventful first day that featured some close contests and even a hole-in-one.

Two of those matches needed 18 holes before it was decided who would remain in the championship flight. Morris native Jacob Zosel won a 1-up match in 18 holes, as did Alexandria’s Hunter Rebrovich. The razor-thin victory for Rebrovich also included a rare hole-in-one on the Alexandria Golf Club’s par-three No. 17.

Rebrovich earned the ace after he pulled out a 6-iron and took aim at the 154-yard hole. The ball landed on the green and took one bounce before rolling into the back of the cup for an ace.

“I was shocked,” Rebrovich said.

The shot put him 1-up in his match at the time, but he said it had a negative affect because he was “getting way too many congratulations.”

The second round of Junior 13-15 Division championship play starts this morning with eight matches. The first group will tee off at 8:12 a.m. on No. 10 with the second group starting at 8:21 a.m.



Top-seeded Reece Sanders solidified his first-round 7-6 victory over Alexandria’s Bridget Amundson by winning the final four holes of the match.

Sanders grabbed an early 2-up lead after carding a bogey on No. 1 and a par on No. 2.

Amundson cut into the lead with a par on No. 3, but a birdie on No. 4 and a par on No. 5 gave Sanders a 3-up lead.

Sanders began making his move on No. 18, carding a par to take a 4-up lead after nine holes. Birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 and a par on No. 3 gave Sanders a seven-hole advantage and the match, as there were only six left to play.



PORTZ, 8-7

Will Odland held a 6-up advantage after nine holes in his match versus Nicholas Portz, and he continued to distance himself from there for an 8-7 victory.

After play on the back-nine was completed, Odland shot a par on No. 1 to grab a 7-up lead on Portz. He would put the finishing touches on the victory with a bogey on the very next hole.

Odland grabbed an early lead in the match as he shot a bogey on AGC’s No. 10 while Portz ended up carding a double-bogey. A bogey on the par-five No. 13 increased Odland’s advantage to 2-up.

Four straight victories on Nos. 14, 15, 16 and 17 helped give Odland the six-hole advantage and take control of the match.




Rebrovich survived a close, action packed match against Nick Sims that included numerous lead changes and a hole-in-one.

Rebrovich and Sims locked horns for 18 holes before Rebrovich shot a par on No. 9 to finish off a 1-up victory after neither golfer maintained more than a one-hole lead.

Rebrovich escaped the back nine with a 1-up lead after a round that included a hole-in-one. He earned the ace on the par-three No. 17 after his ball landed on the green and took one hop before rolling into the back of the cup. The shot put him 1-up at the time.

Sims later squared the match with a par on No. 3. The tie only lasted one hole, however, as Rebrovich bogeyed No. 4 to regain the lead.

Pars on Nos. 5 and 6 for Sims gave him a 1-up lead heading into the final three holes.

But Rebrovich responded with a double-bogey on No. 7 to tie the match, and the two remained deadlocked heading into the final hole. That is when Rebrovich’s par sealed a razor-thin victory.



Zosel was able to hold on to a 1-up lead over the final two holes against St. Cloud’s Will Freeman to survive a close first-round matchup.

Both Zosel and Freeman traded leads on the AGC back-nine before Freeman carded a par on No. 18 to take a 1-up advantage.

Zosel shot a par on No. 2 and a bogey on No. 3 to grab his own 1-up lead. This advantage grew to 2-up on No. 6 with a par, but Freeman cut that lead in half with a par on No. 7.

Zosel carded bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9, and so did Freeman as he could not erase the 1-up deficit.



Ben Sigel won five straight holes against his opponent Blake Bloedorn to wrap up a 7-6 victory.

Sigel was 2-up heading into play on No. 17, which is where he began to make his move. Five straight pars gave Sigel the first-round victory.

Bloedorn actually started out leading in the match after shooting a par on No. 10. But Sigel rallied to take a 2-up lead with a birdie on No. 11 and pars on Nos. 12 and 13.

Bloedorn responded with a par on No. 14 to pull within one hole, but that would be his final victory of the match as Sigel regained his 2-up advantage on No. 15.



Maple Grove’s Nate Adams was only 1-up after play was completed on the back nine, but he continued to build his lead over the final six holes for a 4-3 victory over Alexandria’s Noah Boraas.

The golfers traded leads through the first eight holes before Adams shot a par on No. 18 to take a 1-up lead.

Another par on No. 1 gave Adams a 2-up lead that he would hold as both golfers shot pars on the next hole.

A birdie for Adams on No. 3 and a par on No. 4 gave him a 4-up lead. Boraas shot a par on No. 5 to slow the bleeding, but a par on No. 6 solidified the victory for Adams.



Tonka Bay resident Miles McCarthy picked up wins in five of the final six holes to defeat Alexandria’s Elliot Amundson 6-5 for an opening-round victory.

McCarthy picked up two quick victories on Nos. 10 and 12, but he was unable to add to this lead through the first seven holes. That would change in the final two holes of the back-nine as two pars gave McCarthy a 4-up lead.



Glenwood’s Ashlyn Guggisberg ran away with a match over Alexandria’s Ben Dirck. The score of the match was not available.


8:12 a.m. - Sanders vs. Odland; Rebrovich vs. Zosel

8:21 a.m. - Sigel vs. Adams; McCarthy vs. Guggisberg


Ten of the 16 golfers who qualified for this year’s Resorters Masters Division championship bracket were at this same spot last summer.

Two of them have won the division multiple times – Tom Eidsvold of Alexandria, the defending champion for the last two tournaments, and Ron Clayton of Sarasota, Florida, who won it all for six straight years (2004-2009) and had to settle for runner-up last year.

They both shot a 78 in qualifying, five strokes back of the medalist, Larry Peterson of Albert Lea. Peterson, another returnee from last year, shot a 73, four strokes better than last year’s medalist round of 77 carded by Clayton.

A couple of other qualifiers are back and they’ve advanced deep into the division before: Dave Harris of Alexandria, the 2009 runner-up, felt right at home, shooting a round of 75; and Dick Lasch of Circle Pines, runner-up in 2008 and 2012, easily qualified with a 77.

Other qualifiers from last year who are in the hunt again include Clayton Pike of Billings, MT; George Cliff of Mankato; Ken Riesberg of Mesa, AZ; Gary Obele of Becker; and Mike Golden of Alexandria.

Pike, Cliff and Riesberg all lost in the quarterfinals last year. Obele and Golden fell in the opening round.

Six other golfers made this year’s cut of 85 or better – Randy Johnson of Alexandria; Skip Madsen of Solana Beach, CA; Bruce Stueven of Alexandria; James Carlson of Chaska; Jim Howe of Houston, TX; and Bob Brabant of Maple Lake.

Four Masters qualifiers have won trophies in other Resorters’ divisions: Clayton (Senior Men’s 1994 and 2000), Cliff (Senior Men’s 2007, 2005, 2002, 2001 and Executive Men’s 1988 and 1989), Harris (Senior Men’s 2006 and 1998) and Lasch (Executive Men’s 1991).

Opening round action in the Masters Division begins at 1:12 p.m. this afternoon from No. 10.


1:12 P.M. – Eidsvold vs. Golden; Cliff vs. Riesberg

1:21 – Lasch vs. Howe; Clayton vs. Carlson

1:30 – L. Peterson vs. Brabant; Pike vs. Madsen

1:39 – Harris vs. Obele; R. Johnson vs. Stueven

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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