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Wiltse heads Senior Championship field

MONTE DRAPER | BEMIDJI PIONEER Jeff Wiltse captured medalist honors in the Birchmont Senior Championship division as he finished his 36 holes of qualifying at 148.

BEMIDJI -- Jeff Wiltse of Bemidji shot 78 during Tuesday's second day of the Senior Championship qualifying and his 36-hole total of 148 was rewarded with the medalist honor.

Finishing a shot back at 149 were Rob Noren of Bemidji, Jeff Tweeton of Perham and Dan Gilman of Centennial, Colo.

Wiltse's first-round opponent in match-play will be Charlie Peterka of Little Falls who shot 160 in qualifying. Noren drew Todd Schaefer of Grand Forks (158) while Gilman will open against Curt Howard of Sapupla, Okla. (158).

Noren wasn't surprised to see who was on the Senior Championship leaderboard and he believes that the survivors will shoot low numbers the rest of the week.

"I thought Monday's scores were higher than I expected but today most of the people I thought would go low did go low," Noren said. "I was happy with my 76 Tuesday, especially because it included a double-bogey on No. 18. I hit it into the bunker and tried to get cute instead of just getting it onto the green. But I wasn't too worried because I figured I was already in the match-play field."

Noren is playing in his 28th Birchmont and admits that no two days are the same.

"I don't know if I've learned that much through the years but I know that I have made a bunch of good friends," he said. "In qualifying I shot 73 and 76 but tomorrow I could go out and shoot 84.

"Whatever happens, the fun part starts on Wednesday," Noren continued. "I'm on vacation, I like to golf and I'll see many good friends. There is no reason not to come back to the Birchmont each year."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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