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Hegland rallies in Monday's final round to capture second title

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Hegland rallies in Monday's final round to capture second title
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

About 10 years ago Bruce Hegland's niece decided to attend Bemidji State University. During one of the parental visits Hegland's brother learned about the Bemidji Town and Country Club and the annual Vandersluis tournament during Labor Day Weekend.

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"My brother played in the Vandersluis and he told us how much he enjoyed the tournament," Hegland said. "He talked us into coming."

Hegland and a group of about 10 friends and relatives now make the Vandersluis an annual event and Monday the golfer from Apple Valley capped his 2011 visit with his second Men's Division championship by shooting rounds of 73-68-70-211. Placing second one shot behind was Tom Jenkins of Plymouth who finished 72-72-68-212. Johnny Larson of Springfield was third at 71-70-773-214.

In 2007 Hegland shot 216 over the course of three days and tied Neil Rude of White Bear Lake for the title. The two went to extra holes where Hegland chipped in on No. 1 for a birdie and the championship.

On Monday he trailed defending champion Chris Curb of Bemidji by two shots. Curb entered the final day with a 36-hole score of 139 but he was unable to maintain that pace and struggled to a 78 on Monday.

That opened the door for the other contenders and Hegland, Jenkins and Larson were among the first to stake their claims. All three are familiar with winning tournaments at the BTCC as Jenkins captured Vandersluis titles in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 while Larson has a pair of Birchmont championships to his credit, claiming the crown in 2007 and this past summer.

Jenkins had the day's low round with a 68 and finished at 212. Hegland and Larson played in the final group but Larson played himself out of the title chase with bogeys on No. 16 and No. 17.

Hegland was the steadiest golfer in the final foursome. On the front side he countered a bogey on the first hole with birdies on No. 4 and No. 9. The back side began with a birdie on No. 10 and concluded with eight consecutive pars.

His tap-in par on No. 18 sealed the deal.

"If I shoot around par I'm happy," Hegland, who is 48 years old, said. "Occasionally I can throw a round in the 60s but I also can shoot in the 80s. This weekend I made my putts. It seems that every time I hit a poor chip I made the putt."

Hegland's plan was simple: keep it in the fairway.

"I just play the course," he said. "I don't necessarily hit it close all of the time. I just try to make pars and once in awhile I'll throw in a birdie."

Curb finished fourth at 217 while Brandon Myers of Motley was fifth with 218.

Completing the top 10 were Nick Forsberg of Staples (220), Clint Cornell of Grand Rapids (222), Josh Bergrud of Grand Forks (227), Derek Hasselberg of Staples (22) and Neil Rude of Carbondale, Ill. (227).

In the Senior Championship division Ray Sauer of St. Cloud claimed the title with rounds of 75-75-73-223.

Brent Armstrong of Winnipeg was second at 225 while Bill Freeman of Alexandria and John Hagge of Fergus Falls tied for third at 228.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

About 10 years ago Bruce Hegland's niece decided to attend Bemidji State University. During one of the parental visits Hegland's brother learned about the Bemidji Town and Country Club and the annual Vandersluis tournament during Labor Day Weekend.

"My brother played in the Vandersluis and he told us how much he enjoyed the tournament," Hegland said. "He talked us into coming."

Hegland and a group of about 10 friends and relatives now make the Vandersluis an annual event and Monday the golfer from Apple Valley capped his 2011 visit with his second Men's Division championship by shooting rounds of 73-68-70-211. Placing second one shot behind was Tom Jenkins of Plymouth who finished 72-72-68-212. Johnny Larson of Springfield was third at 71-70-773-214.

In 2007 Hegland shot 216 over the course of three days and tied Neil Rude of White Bear Lake for the title. The two went to extra holes where Hegland chipped in on No. 1 for a birdie and the championship.

On Monday he trailed defending champion Chris Curb of Bemidji by two shots. Curb entered the final day with a 36-hole score of 139 but he was unable to maintain that pace and struggled to a 78 on Monday.

That opened the door for the other contenders and Hegland, Jenkins and Larson were among the first to stake their claims. All three are familiar with winning tournaments at the BTCC as Jenkins captured Vandersluis titles in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 while Larson has a pair of Birchmont championships to his credit, claiming the crown in 2007 and this past summer.

Jenkins had the day's low round with a 68 and finished at 212. Hegland and Larson played in the final group but Larson played himself out of the title chase with bogeys on No. 16 and No. 17.

Hegland was the steadiest golfer in the final foursome. On the front side he countered a bogey on the first hole with birdies on No. 4 and No. 9. The back side began with a birdie on No. 10 and concluded with eight consecutive pars.

His tap-in par on No. 18 sealed the deal.

"If I shoot around par I'm happy," Hegland, who is 48 years old, said. "Occasionally I can throw a round in the 60s but I also can shoot in the 80s. This weekend I made my putts. It seems that every time I hit a poor chip I made the putt."

Hegland's plan was simple: keep it in the fairway.

"I just play the course," he said. "I don't necessarily hit it close all of the time. I just try to make pars and once in awhile I'll throw in a birdie."

Curb finished fourth at 217 while Brandon Myers of Motley was fifth with 218.

Completing the top 10 were Nick Forsberg of Staples (220), Clint Cornell of Grand Rapids (222), Josh Bergrud of Grand Forks (227), Derek Hasselberg of Staples (22) and Neil Rude of Carbondale, Ill. (227).

In the Senior Championship division Ray Sauer of St. Cloud claimed the title with rounds of 75-75-73-223.

Brent Armstrong of Winnipeg was second at 225 while Bill Freeman of Alexandria and John Hagge of Fergus Falls tied for third at 228.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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