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Area golfers in hunt after opening round of State Amateur

The Minnesota State Amateur golf tournament began Monday and golfers with Bemidji connections did well in the opening round of the 54-hole event.

Donald Constable of Spring Hill Golf Club was the leader after Monday's action on the par-71 White Bear Yacht Club course as he shot a 5-under 66.

Johnny Larson of the New Ulm Country Club and the 2007 Birchmont Men's champion is tied for second heading into today's round as he was 3-under Monday with a 68.

Larson's card included five birdies and two bogeys.

Sam Matthew of Midland Hills Country Club, the 2007 and 2009 Birchmont Junior champion, is tied for fourth at 2-under par 69. Matthew had six birdies Monday but also was bitten by two bogeys and a double-bogey on the final hole.

Tom Jenkins, who is originally from Bemidji but now plays at Wild Marsh Golf Club, is tied for 11th at even par 71. Jenkins is the 2009 Birchmont Men's king and also played at Bemidji State, graduating in 1998. His Monday card included three birdies and three bogeys.

Chris Curb and Eric Carlson of Bemidji are among a large group tied for 44th at 3-over par 74.

Curb, who currently is on the BSU golf team, had four birdies, three bogeys and two double-bogeys.

Carlson, a volunteer golf coach at BSU, also played for the Beavers, graduating in 2002. In Monday's action he had four birdies, two bogeys, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey.

Jim Strandemo of The Wilds Golf Club and Seth Heppner of Crookston Area Golf Club both struggled Monday as each shot 78.

Strandemo is a three-time Birchmont Men's champion, claiming the title in 1983, 1990 and 1996. Heppner is veteran of the Birchmont but is yet to win.

Monday's field included 156 players and after today the field will be reduced to the low 60 and ties. Those who make the cut will play 18 holes during Wednesday's final round.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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