Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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Alexandria's Dave Harris set himself up to grab his fourth-career Resorters title on Saturday, but there was one big obstacle left in his way in Moorhead's Dan Elton. Elton hadn't played in the Resorters Tournament in almost 25 years. In his return, he left no doubt that his game was the top in the Masters field after securing a 6-5 win to grab his first Resorters title over Harris on Saturday at the Alexandria Golf Club.
Detroit Lakes' Kate Smith says she had no expectations entering her first Resorters golf tournament in Alexandria, but others in the field likely knew it could turn out exactly as it did. Smith, a five-time Minnesota State High School League Class AA state champion, won the Women's Division title on Saturday afternoon after qualifying as the second seed in the field with a 75 earlier in the week.
A year after making it to the Junior 10-12 Division semifinals, Alexandria's Bennett Olsen took it a step further by grabbing his first Resorters title this past Saturday. Olsen, 10, went through Minnetonka's Zach Stennes, 10, to get the job done. It took eight of a possible nine holes to accomplish the feat. Olsen never trailed after two pars and a birdie on No. 12 gave him a 3-up advantage through three holes. Olsen didn't take another hole, but the damage had already been done.
Dave Carothers had the taste of finishing as the runner-up in his mouth for two years before returning for his second Resorters Tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club this past week. He made good on a second chance with two solid rounds on Saturday to secure his first-ever Executive Division title. Carothers, 47-years-old from Buffalo, went through Chad Bisson in a 5-4 match in the semifinals. Then in the afternoon, he outlasted JT Johnson in a 5-3 match for the title.
Fans got what they wanted from the Men's Division in the quarterfinals on Friday. That's the way it should be this late in the tournament. There were big comebacks on the back nine and a battle between two champions in Jim Lehman and Nick Heinen that lived up to the billing and then some. In the end, it's Heinen, Geoff Klein, Andrew Lindberg and Lincoln Johnson that will square off from the first tee at 7:06 on Saturday morning to see who will play for a championship in the afternoon. Here's a closer look at how they got here. HEINEN DEF. LEHMAN, 2-1
Nick Heinen has long since earned the respect of the Resorters field. The Oklahoma State University product had two junior titles and two runner-up finishes in the Men's Division before taking home the men's title a year ago — all by the age of 20. Players know it will take a great round of their own to beat him, even for 2009 men's champ and a great amateur golfer himself in veteran Jim Lehman. That's who will get the next chance at Heinen when the men tee off from the first box at 1:24 p.m. Friday.
There will be no first meetings or forced small talk in the women's semifinals when they tee off from the first tee at 12:36 this afternoon. The final four players left standing know each other really well. Three are from Minnewaska in Alexis Guggisberg and the Janu sisters, Brianna and Jenna. The other knows plenty about them after crossing paths many times over a storied high school career in Detroit Lakes' Kate Smith.
The Junior 13-15 Division is ready to get going again after a day off from match play on Thursday. The division is down to the final four as 15-year-old Cecil Belisle looks to continue to live up to his billing as the number one seed. Belisle shot a 74 in qualifying and followed it up with a 7-6 win over Alexandria's Wyatt Cavers in the first round of match play. The Red Wing native then took care of Jack Dierks in equally as impressive fashion with a 5-4 win.
The Men's Division always features 32 tightly contested golfers, and that proved true again on Wednesday as 31st-seeded Andrew Lindberg knocked off second-seeded Ryan Gallagher for the first big upset in the division. Lindberg, from Coppell, Texas, did so in rather convincing fashion too with a 5-4 win. His reward is a match up with Nick Jarrett of Rochester. Here's a look at how all 16 players in the Men's Division got to this point. N. HEINEN DEF. LIND, 7-6
The top four seeds in the Women's Division lived up to their billing on Wednesday as Brianna Janu, Kate Smith, Ale Arellano and Jenna Janu all punched their ticket to Thursday's quarterfinals. Some matches were closer than others among those top four seeds. Here's a look at how all eight of the women left standing got to this point. B. JANU DEF. SYVERSON, 5-4 Glenwood Brianna Janu pulled away on the back nine against Alexandria's Nancy Syverson as the defending champ cruised to a 5-4 win.