Area Golf: Israelson up to the Grand View Challenge
NISSWA--In a field of younger, longer hitters carrying only his "B" swing, Bill Israelson managed his way to a two-day 145 to finish in a three-way tie for first place at the Grand View Challenge Monday.
NISSWA-In a field of younger, longer hitters carrying only his "B" swing, Bill Israelson managed his way to a two-day 145 to finish in a three-way tie for first place at the Grand View Challenge Monday.
The head PGA golf professional at The Vintage at Staples shot an opening 72 Sunday at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge. He followed with a 73 Monday at The Pines to tie with Scott McDonald, of the Minnewaska Golf Club, and Ben Meyers of Medina Golf and Country Club.
Israelson, who has played well at The Pines before, said he would have prefered to have his draw working better, but went to a more consistent fade Monday.
"I got the most I could out of my round the way I was swinging the club," said Israelson. "I wasn't playing very aggressively. I was very conservative. I actually hit a couple of rescue clubs and 7-woods off of par 5s just because I was struggling to keep the ball in play. I was just trying to rely on hitting some greens. I'm a good long putter so anything on the surface I can usually get down in two. That strategy worked well for me."
The Grand View Challenge used to be two separate pro-ams, but the demand for two-day events and the ability to play on two different courses made the merger perfect. Jack Wawro, head professional at the Pines, has been running and playing in the event for all eight seasons. He entered Sunday fresh off a first-place 67 Friday at LeSueur Country Club and was hoping to defend his home track. But his first priority was a successful event.
"My biggest thought coming in is I want a successful tournament," Wawro said. "I want it to run well. I was flying high after LeSueur, so I was thinking big things. But, and you notice it on tour, there is a let down. Yesterday was tough. Today I kind of got it back a little bit. I'm happy placing."
Wawro finished eighth out of 29 Minnesota PGA Club Professionals. He shot 76 at The Preserve and followed it with a 73 at The Pines. He's finished second in the tournament twice.
But he can take solace in the fact the Challenge is one of the most popular events during the golf season. The field was full at 29 teams with many other on the waiting list.
"Anytime you're playing a two-day pro-am you want to get a different look each day," Wawro said. "It gets kind of boring playing the same course. The Preserve is completely different than the Pines. I think people really enjoy, especially the amateurs, really enjoy playing two different style golf courses. It makes it really interesting for scoring. It's fun to see who can play well at both the Preserve and the Pines. You truly get a champion, someone who can play well at both courses. It separates the field."
Julian Ramirez of Riverwood National in Otsego found The Preserve to his liking. He opened the tournament with a 70, but fell to fifth after shooting a 78 at The Pines.
Rounding out the top 10 with 150s were Brandon Meyers (Former Staples-Motley graduate and current head superintendent at Olivia Golf Course), Adam Haugen (new head professional at The Preserve), Jesse Nelson (assistant head professional at The Pines) and Tim Johnson (head professional at Cragun's Legacy Courses)
"The biggest reason for so much play from the Twin Cities is you're coming up here kind of on a semi-vacation," Wawro. "You stay overnight and it's a good chance to get away from work and a good chance to get away from the busy city. Plus, you get to come up North and play around a little bit.
"They also enjoy the lodging and the food. It's kind of the full package. Some events you go to you have to pay for the range. You have to pay for a cart. Everything is separate. This is just one lump sum. We give you everything you need and you can just enjoy it after you pay."
Former Ruttger's head professional and current head at Olivia, Greg Snow, has been coming to the tournament every year. He said the biggest problem with this event, and the two-day event at Cragun's Legacy Courses in August, is he has to turn members away because so many want to play.
"I have to turn people away," Snow said. "This event, and a lot of the two-day events, is something the amateurs really look forward to because then they can kind of make it into a vacation. Brainerd itself just has the appeal and the pull. So with that, you combine what the price is with the courses, with the how you're treated and it adds up to me turning people away. I've never heard a negative thing. Once we leave the course all I hear is 'Are we doing it again next year?'"
Top 10 Pros: 1t-Bill Israelson 72-73 - 145, 1t-Scott McDonald 71-74 - 145, 1t-Ben Meyers 74-71 - 145, 4-Chris Borgen 72-74 - 146, 5t-Julian Ramierz 70-78 - 148, 5t-Jon Registad 72-76 - 148, 5t-Eric Chiles 73-75 - 148, 8-Jack Wawro 76-73 - 149, 9t-Braodn Meyers 74-76 - 150, 9t-Adam Haugen 75-75 - 150, 9t-Jesse Nelson 76-74 - 150, 9t-Tim Johnson 78-72 - 150
Top net: 1-Roger Archer 136, 2-Joe Petrich 138, 3-Jason Hinz 138, 4-Dave Sufka 139, 5-Travis Myers 139, 6-Woody Ahlborn 140, 7-Gordon Reigstad 140, 8-Matt Duevel 140, 9-Joe Griesgraber 140
Top gross: 1-Alex Robb 148, 2-Jake Erickson 151, 3t-Tyler Glynn 152, 3t-Roger Archer 152, 3t-Marc Badiner 152, 6t-Drew Massey 153, 6t-Ethan Wies 153, 6t-Greg Olson 153, 9-Tracey Ahlborn
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .