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85th Birchmont set to start

The 85th Birchmont is setting up to be an interesting tournament with only three defending champions returning to the field.

Jack Seiberlich and Todd Schaefer will be shooting for their third straight titles.

Seiberlich is the two-time defending senior men's champion and Schaefer is the two-time defending executive champion.

It's rare to have a three-time champ at The Birchmont. There have been five three-time champs in the history of the tournament.

Jeff Wiltse was the last to accomplish the feat, capping off a three-year executive championship run in 2004. Prior to that, Russ Simenson was a three-time men's champion from 1987-89.

Both Seiberlich and Schaefer will have tough tasks ahead of them.

Seiberlich fended off Birchmont regular Glen Hasselberg ('87 executive champ, '75 men's champ) in the championship last season in a 21-hole marathon match. Hasselberg will be back once again.

Also in the senior division this time around is Joe Mayer, last year's winner of the super senior championship.

In the executive championship, Rick Passolt and Steve Passolt will return. Rick is the 2006 men's champion and Pete is the 1995 champion.

Bemidji's Bob Kobilka, the 2006 executive champ, is also entered in the executive championship.

Back to defend this season is 2008 junior champion Bill Carlson of Fargo. He edged 2007 junior champ Sam Mathews in the championship match last season. Mathews will return to compete in the junior division this year.

Locally the Bemidji High School girls golf team will be represented with Emily Frosacker, Meg Phelps and Shelby Sauer.

Matt Serratore, the son of Bemidji State men's hockey coach Tom Serratore, is entered in the junior division.

There will be new men's and ladies champions.

Last year's sibling champions, Nathan and Amy Anderson, will not return to defend their titles.

There are plenty of contenders who could emerge.

In the ladies field, Alyssa Williamson and Mary Hasselberg may be in line for a return to Birchmont glory. Williamson is the 2006 champ and Hasselberg was the 2005 champ.

The young gun in the women's division is Cydney Hasselberg of Staples, who won the Class 2A state tournament in last spring and is headed to North Dakota State University.

She's the youngest of Glen Hasselberg's five children to play Division I golf.

It's anyone's guess in the men's championship as often times winning the Birchmont comes down to skill and a little bit of luck.

In last year's Birchmont, Jake Sanders and Duane Wages III played excellent tournaments only to lose on the first playoff hole in the championship semifinals. They are back again this summer.

Johnny Larson, the 2007 champion, is back for another shot.

Wiltse had a strong tournament last season and was the 36-hole medalist. He is back in the men's championship field.

Chad Skarperud, the 1993 men's champ and 1987 junior champ, will return and is always a threat.


- Dick Robbins will replace Keith Mooney as the tournament starter this season. Mooney died at age 82 on March 21 after a battle with cancer.

Mooney held the position for 29 years, taking over in 1979 for ex- Pioneer sports writer and brother-in-law Cliff Morlan when he died.

- There are 179 confirmed entrants in The Birchmont.

- The Birchmont's Web site is accessible online at The Birchmont has also ventured into the micro-blogging service Twitter. It can be accessed at

- Tournament committee members are Sylvia Wildgen (Chair), Rick Grand, Evonne McKinzie, Marilyn Miller and Russ Moen.