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Rick Passolt (left) and Curt Howard salute each other after Passolt claimed the Birchmont Executive title with a 2-up victory Saturday. Pioneer Photo/Pat Miller
Rick Passolt (left) and Curt Howard salute each other after Passolt claimed the Birchmont Executive title with a 2-up victory Saturday. Pioneer Photo/Pat Miller

Birchmont Executive Championship: Passolt discards ball, goes on to repeat win

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sports Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

There is a new Titleist golf ball in the pond to the right of the 15th green courtesy of Rick Passolt.

After an adventuresome journey from the tee to the green, Passolt decided that the ball was the culprit. He also determined that the best spot for the ball would be under water, where no one would be tempted to use it again.

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"It was a bad ball. I had to get rid of it," Passolt said.

As soon as he made the toss Passolt's fortunes began to change during Saturday's Executive Championship match against Curt Howard.

On No. 16 Passolt took a 1-up lead with a conceded par and one hole later he successfully defended his title with another conceded par.

"It was a dogfight and I knew it would be," Passolt said of Saturday's victory. "I made a lot of putts and I needed to make every one of them."

Not even the putter could save him on No. 15. His drive found the trees lining the right side of the fairway and dropped beside a pine tree.

With no other option, Passolt hit the ball left-handed and it rolled to the left side of the fairway.

His third shot went even further left and nestled at the base of another tree. Once again, his only option was to punch out left-handed.

His chip stopped nine feet from the cup and, after he missed the bogey putt, he conceded and bid the ball a suitable farewell.

"I've never hit two shots left-handed in a round, much less on the same hole," Passolt said.

Other than that one hiccup Passolt had a steady round.

"I made three putts over 20 feet on Saturday and without those there would have been a different result," he said. "But, overall, I had a solid tournament.

"It feels good to successfully defend," Passolt continued. "During my Birchmont career I've been beat up by the best of them. Pat Herzog beat me up. Rick Grand beat me up. Russ Simenson beat me up. I've taken my lumps but it feels good to win two in a row."

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