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Lee Hetletved of Grand Forks successfully defended his Executive Championship title with a victory over Derek Hasselberg of Princeton. MATTHEW MCLAUGHLIN| SPECIAL TO THE PIONEER

BIRCHMONT: Hetletved successfully defends his title

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BEMIDJI -- If anyone can claim dominance over the field in the past two Birchmont tournaments it would be Lee Hetletved.

His resume during that span includes a runner-up finish in the 2012 Executive medalist chase and two straight tournament championships. The Grand Forks resident captured his second straight Executive title Saturday when he defeated Derek Hasselberg of Princeton 4 and 3.

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"In the past two years I've won eight matches in a row but this year I feel luckier than I did after last year," Hetletved said. "This year I could have lost my first match (to Rick Barrett of Red Lake) but somehow I found a way to win it. And Saturday I played better, shooting 2-over-par."

Hetletved never trailed in Saturday's title match as a birdie on No. 2 gave him a lead he would never relinquish. Wins at No. 5, No. 6 and No. 9 gave Hetletved a 3-up cushion at the turn and he extended the margin to 4-up when Hasselberg found trouble on No. 11.

Hetletved lost No. 12 and No. 13 but a winning par on No. 14 and his birdie on No. 15 closed the match and cemented his second Executive Championship title.

"I like this course. It's scenic and has different terrain than the courses in Grand Forks," Hetletved said. "I like courses where you have to shape shots. At this course you know where you can't hit the ball. The trees are not going anywhere. And on Saturday I stayed out of the trees on all but two holes and in those situations I had shots out of the trouble.

"It's been a good vacation," Hetletved added.

In Saturday's consolation final Dale Finck of Bertha defeated Matt Mayer of Fargo.

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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