Jenkins, Sauer win Vandy titles
It's been quite a summer of golfing for Tom Jenkins.
The former Bemidji resident erased a two-stroke deficit with a final-round five-under 67 to win the men's championship of the 2009 Vanderluis Memorial Golf Tournament Monday at Bemidji Town and Country Club.
The win completed a rare double for Jenkins, who also won the 2009 Birchmont one month ago. The Vandy title was Jenkins' fifth of his career.
On the senior men's side, Ray Sauer of St. Cloud became a three-time division champion with a final-round 72 to claim the Vandy crown. He entered the final round in the three- way for first along with Bemidji's Jeff Wiltse and Bruce Armstrong of Winnipeg.
Jenkins ended with rounds of 74-68-67 -- 209 (7-under) to claim the title. St. Cloud's Sauer looked to be in a commanding position holding a two-shot lead entering the final day of play. Also in contention was Bemidji's Chris Curb, who trailed by four shots.
But Jenkins threw down a bogey free birdie barrage on the front nine Monday to quickly erase the deficit. Jenkins posted birdies on 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 to post a 5-under 31 on the front side.
At the same time, Sauer played steadily and shot a 1-under 35 on the front, but still found himself trailing by two shots
Another birdie on 10 gave Jenkins a three-shot lead as Sauer parred.
The next four holes saw both Sauer and Curb cut into Jenkins' lead. Starting the 15th hole, Jenkins held a one-shot lead over Sauer and a two-shot advantage over Curb.
Jenkins played the par-5 15th hole to perfection and posted an eagle. Sauer and Curb both had par and suddenly Jenkins was three shots up on Sauer and four on Curb.
The title wasn't decided yet, however.
All three leaders parred the 16th hole as Jenkins maintained his nice lead. But a miscue on 17 cost him as Jenkins bogeyed, with Curb getting a birdie and Sauer a par.
Jenkins then had a two-shot lead on both entering the final hole.
Jenkins hit his final drive into the right rough and faced a bit of tree trouble -- having to carve a little cut shot to get the ball to the green.
"I pulled it a little and ended up to the left of the green," Jenkins said. "But I was able to make a pretty good chip that stopped about six feet from the hole."
Sauer also hit his drive in the rough, but put his second shot on the green -- facing about a 25-footer for birdie. His attempt to really put the pressure on Jenkins didn't fall, however.
Jenkins then stepped up and coolly made the six-footer to win the title.
"It's been a great summer and a lot of fun," he said. "But now I guess it's time to get back to work."
Jenkins now lives in Maple Grove and recently changed jobs, working for Wells Fargo in the insurance division.
Sauer ended in second at 72-68-71--211 with Curb in third following a fine final-round 68 (71-73-68--212).
Ray Sauer, Jon's dad, added his third Vandersluis Memorial Senior Championship by shooting an even-par 72 Monday to win going away.
Ray Sauer entered the final day of play in a three-way tie for first at 148, along with Wiltse and Armstrong. Former champ Tom Peterka of St. Cloud was also in the hunt sitting five shots back.
Things didn't look good for Ray Sauer early Monday as he fell two shots behind Wiltse and Armstrong after the first eight holes. Peterka was also moving up with finer play as he was 2-under at that point.
However, Ray Sauer was about to go on a four-hole run that all but sealed the title.
"The meat of my round was holes nine through 12," he said. "Those four holes really turned things around for me."
Ray Sauer made birdie on the par-5, ninth hole to pick up a shot on Wiltse and draw even with Armstrong. After a par on 10, Ray Sauer made birdie from the fringe on the par-3 11th hole and drained a 40-footer from the back fringe on 12 for birdie.
Suddenly, Ray Sauer had gone from trailing by two to leading by four over the span of four holes. It was a decisive six-shot turnaround.
Ray Sauer said he concentrated on just hitting fairways and greens for the rest of the round. He did just that with two-putt pars on the next five holes top maintain his lead.
Ray Sauer bogeyed the 18th hole, but by then the title had been decided. He ended up with a four-shot margin over Wiltse (76) and seven-shot margin over Armstrong (79). Peterka moved up to third with a final-round 73.
"I really struck the ball well," Ray Sauer reported. "I bogeyed 1 and 5, and then didn't have another until 18. On the back, I was able to hit every green in regulation.
"If I could have gotten a couple more putts to fall, it could have been a pretty low round."
Ray Sauer previously won the Vandy senior title in 2003 and 2005, plus the men's championship in 1977 and 1980.