2013 BIRCHMONT PREVIEW: Leintz makes jump to Men's Championship division
BEMIDJI - Aaron Leintz of Bagley will be stepping into unchartered water Monday when he heads to the first tee for the start of his initial qualifying round of the Birchmont Men's Championship division.
A year ago Leintz captured the Junior Championship crown but this year represents his first time in the Men's division.
"I have played three years in the Junior division so there shouldn't be anything I see this week that will surprise me," Leintz said. "I know a couple of the golfers in the Men's Championship division but I really haven't played against many of the older guys.
"What I have learned from playing in the Junior division is that you have to be patient. You have a lot of holes to play," he added.
In his first year in the Junior division Leintz captured the consolation title. The next summer he lost to eventual champion Trey Dale in the semifinals but last year he defeated Elliot Leinen of Bemidji 4 and 2 in the title match.
"Last year I played well. I had a good week," Leintz said.
The recent Bagley High School graduate also is having a successful 2013. During the spring he finished fourth in the State High School Class 2A meet in Jordan and this summer he has fared well in the handful of tournaments he has entered.
The Class 2A state meet was shortened to 54 holes because of rain and Leintz finished at 109. Jordan Peters of Delano won with a 54-hole score of 104.
"I was happy with fourth at the state meet but I think I had a chance to win it," Leintz said. "It would have been nice to play the full 18 holes on the second day.
"The course in Jordan demands good approach shots. You have to pick your way around the course," Leintz continued. "During the state meet I hit good approaches and over the high school season my putting was pretty solid. Traditionally my strength is off the tee but this year that flip-flopped and that was just fine with me."
Leintz is happy with the current state of his game and he believes that he has an opportunity to do well this week.
"My game is solid right now," Leintz said. "I wouldn't say my game is great but I wouldn't say it is bad. I would like the short game to come around a little bit but I'm hitting it all right. I think if I play well I could win the Birchmont.
"But in the Men's Championship you play a lot of holes," Leintz continued. "When I play in the Birchmont I don't think about the other people or try to look too far ahead. I just think about myself and what I have to do. My first goal is to qualify and after I qualify I'll set new goals day by day."
In the fall Leintz will head east about 25 miles and play golf for Bemidji State. He is excited to join a program that he believes is headed in the right direction.
"I'm looking forward to attending Bemidji State. I think the golf program is a good one and the Bemidji Town and Country Club is a nice place to hone your skills."