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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It was the talk of the day. Seventeenth-seeded Brian Choe, playing in his second Resorters tournament, knocked out defending champion Nick Heinen, 4-3. The 18-year-old from Coppell, Texas turned in a nearly flawless round — carding six birdies and nothing else but pars through 15 holes. "We were both playing really good golf," Choe said after the match. "I kept hitting solid shots to keep the lead." There was one other fairly big upset. Andrew Lindberg, also of Coppell, who was the number-two seed, was eliminated by the 18th-seeded Andrew Israelson of Staples.
Defending champion Dan Elton of Moorhead and medalist Norty Blanchard continue to dominate the Masters Division. Both of them were back in the clubhouse savoring their quarterfinal wins after just 14 holes yesterday. But two other dominating forces in the division were eliminated. Dave Harris of Alexandria, a two-time champion in the Senior Men's Division and the 2014 Masters Division champ, was ousted by the number four seed, David Lee of Waukegan, Illinois. And George Cliff, a six-time champion in two other divisions, was toppled by Blanchard.
Two former Resorters champions — and this year's co-medalists — will go head-to-head for all the marbles in the Women's Executive Division on Saturday. Betsy Aldrich of Minnetonka won the division in 2007 and is also a two-time champion in the Women's Division (2008 and 2003). Jodi (Krafka) Sullivan also won the Women's Division twice — 1985 and 1987.
The four golfers with the best qualifying rounds in the Men's Executive Division all survived the opening round of match play yesterday. Daryl Schomer of St. Cloud, a three-time champ in the division who had the second best qualifying round of 73, took just 10 holes to dispatch his opponent. Medalist Andy Petersen of Albert Lea, who qualified with a 68, rode to a 4-3 victory — as did Al Hagen of Harrisburg, South Dakota, who had a qualifying round of 73.
Bennett Olsen of Alexandria, the defending champion in the Junior 10-12 Division, kept his repeat chances alive with a 2-up win in the opening round Wednesday. This year's medalist, however, didn't fare as well. Colton Cavers of Alexandria, who carded a 38 during qualifying, ran into some bogey and double-bogey trouble and was defeated by Carver Larson, also of Alexandria. An odd stat from yesterday: All four golfers who took the first lead of the match ended up losing.
Carson Herron, the medalist in the Junior 13-15 Division, continues to swing a hot club. He breezed to an easy win Wednesday to advance into the semifinals. So did Davis Johnson of Chaska, who notched the third best round in qualifying. He needed only 14 holes to notch his win. The two others in the division's final four are Gabe McKeown of Lenexa, Kansas — the Junior 10-12 Division champion in 2014 — and Blake Stedronsky of Chaska. They will have a day off today before teeing it up on Friday from the No. 1 tee at noon.
Betsy Aldrich of Minnetonka is relishing the return of the Women's Executive Division. She won the division when it was last part of the Resorters Tournament 10 years ago and is off to a fast start this year, earning medalist honors in qualifying rounds and breezing to an 8-7 victory in yesterday's opening round.
Three strong favorites in the Senior Men's Division — the defending champion, the medalist and a five-time Resorters title holder — all advanced yesterday. They are, respectively, Greg Mattson of Becker, Jon Empanger of Chaska and Steve Herzog of Alexandria. None of their victories, however, were a walk in the park — all their matches lasted at least 16 holes. One former champion, Alexandria's A.J. Kluver, who won the division two years ago, was defeated by Herzog. The "elite eight" will tee it up from No. 1, starting at 12:18 p.m. today.
Three of the seven former champions in the Resorters Senior Men's Division were eliminated in first round matches Tuesday. Joe Klick of Albert Lea, a two-time champ in the Executive Men's Division, fell to Alexandria's A.J. Kluver, the 2015 Senior Men's title holder. Jeff Pederson, the division's champ in 2014, was defeated by Randy Yoder of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Tom Abrahamson of Wayzata, an Executive Men's champ in 1999, was knocked out of contention by Pete Rockers of Minneapolis. As for the remaining champs:
Jon Empanger of Chaska keeps adding to his collection of Resorters' awards. The three-time Senior Men's champion (2011, 2010 and 2009) and five-time Executive Men's titleist (2008, 2007, 2004, 1997 and 1993) can now lay claim to being the 2017 Senior Men's medalist. Empanger, who was knocked out of contention in the second round of last year's tournament, was on a tear during qualifying. He carded a round of 69, beating defending champion Greg Mattson's 70 and shaving a stroke off of last year's medalist pace of 70 shot by Alexandria's A.J. Kluver.