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Burnside's ace on No. 2 highlights first day of Executive play

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BEMIDJI -- When the golfers reach the second hole at the Bemidji Town and Country Club they encounter a temporary green that is a few yards closer to the tee than the customary green.

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Still, it is 178 yards from the tee box and any shot that comes close to the hole is worthy of celebration.

During Monday's Birchmont action at the Bemidji Town and Country Club Jim Clark, Jeff Peltier, Scott Hinners and Aaron Burnside were grouped in the 9:36 a.m. pairing.

Clark was the first to hit his iron off the No. 2 tee box and the Bemidji native stuck his shot within two feet. Peltier followed with an approach that settled within five feet and Hinners' tee shot stopped about three feet from the pin.

"On all of those tee shots someone yelled 'Go in and they meant it,'" Burnside said. "When I got to the tee I was just trying to hit a good shot. I certainly didn't expect to get inside all of them."

Burnside, who has been playing in the Birchmont Executive Championship division for 16 summers, opted on a 6-iron. His shot was on line and landed on the front of the green. Once on the surface the ball continued to roll and, to his amazement, it eventually dropped into the cup for an ace.

The hole-in-one was the first of Burnside's career and helped the Detroit Lakes resident card a 74 during Monday's first round of the Executive division qualifying play.

"The first five holes on my card looked like a zip code. I shot 5-1-5-5-5," Burnside, whose best Executive finish was as runner-up to Todd Schaefer in the 2006 tournament, said. "It was an interesting round."

In a few years Burnside will turn 49 and that summer he will play in the Men's Championship. Until then, however, he is content to participate in the Birchmont as an Executive.

"I like the Executives because I can drive a cart and I don't have to worry about some kid shooting 67 and beating me," he said.

The timing of his first hole-in-one could not have been better. The clubhouse wasn't too crowded and most of the people at the tables were his golfing friends.

"I'm glad that I was able to get the ace on Monday when I was playing with my buddies instead of getting it later in the week with three guys I don't know," he added.

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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