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Matching fun at BSU women's athletics golf tourney

Lois Anderson of Team Bud Light putts on the first green during Friday's First National Bank/BSU Women's Athletics Golf Classic. Watching their teammate putt were Tiffany Payne Baer, Pam Francisco and Chris Boe. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Matching outfits were on display at the Bemidji Town & Country Club Friday when more than 80 women participated in the 27th annual First National Bank/BSU Women's Athletics Golf Classic.

The fivesome heading up No. 13 fairway modeled blue tops and white shorts. On the No. 14 green the style was white tops and blue shorts.

The women ready to take their tee shots on No. 16 were adorned in pink while elsewhere around the course you could see groups wearing green, yellow and red outfits.

"This event is a good way for women to meet women who like to golf," said Ruth Howe, a former coach at BSU and one of the tournament's founders. Howe is one of a handful of women who has never missed this event and 27 years ago she helped kick-start the tournament.

"Dona Mae Naylor, Jeanette Welle and I believed in the concept of supporting women's athletics and that's why we started this event," Howe said. "It is great to see the fun competition that the tournament brings out."

Howe's tournament fivesome included Liz Neff, Shirley Froseth, Donette Swanson and Joyce Kleven. Froseth, Kleven and Howe still play golf together five days a week and Friday's event was a way for them to expand their group.

"I like being with my friends," Froseth said.

"And I like being around these older women because they are all young at heart and they make me feel younger," Neff said. "Our group spans four decades. We have golfers who are in their 50s, 60, 70s and 80s. And we all feel young today."

The tournament attracts golfers from far and near. Among the former was a fivesome which featured Danette Hedican from Hugo, Jamie Salvaag from Burnsville, Amber Stavseth from Schroeder, Leah Ekstrom from Lutsen and Tammie Peterson from Finland (Minnesota).

Schroeder, Lutsen and Finland are located along the North Shore and the group has been coming to Bemidji for this event for more than 10 years.

"My brother-in-law is Greg Salvaag and he was a BSU graduate," Hedican said. "My sister, Micki, died in 2003 and we keep coming here in her memory. We enjoy being together and playing in the tournament."

First National Bank has been the event underwriter for 12 years and has helped the tournament generate $107,500 during the past 11 summers.

All money raised will benefit the BSU women's athletics programs.

"This tournament is one of the ways women's athletic supporters can continue the work that Jeanette, Ruth, Dona Mae and others have started," said Sue Engel of First National Bank. "Because of their efforts women athletes at Bemidji State continue to have opportunity."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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