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2012 Birchmont: McEnroe tops field in Senior qualifying rounds; Palmiscno , Storandt share women's prize

BEMIDJI - John McEnroe of Woodbury followed Monday's 75 with an even-par-72 Tuesday and finished as medalist in the Senior Championship division of the Birchmont.

McEnroe's Birchmont resume includes Executive titles in 1995 and 1999 and last year he advanced to the second round of match-play where he lost 2-up to eventual champion Bruce Nord of Grand Forks.

If the two square off again this week it will happen in the championship match. Because of his defending champion status, Nord is the top seed while McEnroe will be the second seed.

Nord will open against Duane Wages Sr. of Grand Forks who outlasted Rob Noren of Bemidji and Peter Bridson ot St. Louis Park in a playoff for the final match-play spot.

McEnroe will open against Jim Kennelly of Bemidji who qualified at 81-78-160.

The Senior Championship qualifiers will hit the first tee at 1:18 p.m. today.

Among the group will be Jeff Hendrickson of Thief River Falls who finished third in the medalist chase with rounds of 76-75-151.

"I haven't played at the Birchmont in eight years and this is my first time in the Seniors," Hendrickson said. "When I looked at the entrants I saw many of the names that I recognized from the Executive division playing in the Seniors so I thought it was time for me to move up."

Prompting Hendrickson to return to the tournament after eight years away were his enjoyment of the course and the men he will compete against.

"I'm looking forward to teeing it up with a bunch of good guys," Hendrickson said about the week ahead. "I don't hit the ball far so I just try to keep it in play and make a few putts. If you do that, you usually will stay in your matches.

"The hard part of the tournament (qualifying) is done," Hendrickson continued. "I've played enough match-play to know that anything can happen and you hope that you don't play against the guy who can't miss a putt that day."

Women's Championship

Jenna Palmiscno of Bemidji and Sarah Storandt of Moorhead shared the medalist prize as each shot a 77 during Tuesday's qualifying round.

Laura Cahill of Grand Rapids carded a 78 and Elizabeth Strom of Fargo finished at 79.

Palmiscno, who has finished second to Rachael Roller of Grand Forks in the past three Birchmont Women's Championship tournaments, will be the top seed for the match-play and will face Hannah Shafer of Brooklyn Park in today's opening round.

Storandt will battle JoDee Wheeler of Grand Forks in her opener.

Roller did not return this week.

Masters Championship

Jack Seiberlich of Rush City returns to defend his title but Joe Mayer of Bemidji showed that he is ready to make a strong challenge as the veteran Birchmonter shot 73.

Also carding a round in the 70s was Bob Ostlund of Walker who shot 78.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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