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Leintz caps successful week with Junior championship

Aaron Leintz (right) of Bagley defeated Elliot Leinen of Bemidji to capture the Junior title. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - Aaron Leintz of Bagley was the most consistent golfer in the Birchmont Junior Championship division. On the strength of accurate drives and iron shots, proper course management and a steady putter Leintz took early leads in most of his matches and maintained the advantage the rest of the way.

In Saturday's final against Elliot Leinen of Bemidji Leintz continued that routine and the result was a 4 and 2 victory and the Junior title.

"I'm glad it's over," Leintz said of his marathon week at the Bemidji Town & Country Club. "I had a very good week. I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts. I felt pretty confident this week but I'm glad the tournament is over."

Leintz was even-par when he closed Saturday's match with a conceded two-foot birdie putt on No. 16. After falling behind because of a bogey on No. 2, Leintz forged a 3 up lead at the turn by claiming No. 3, No. 4, No. 7 and No. 8. Leinen drew within one hole by capturing No. 11 and No. 12 but Leintz bounced back with victories on No. 13 and No. 14.

"I'll remember this match because it wasn't easy," Leintz said. "I lost back-to-back holes but and on No. 13 I hit it into the trees. My approach was short but I was able to get up and down for par."

Leinen carded a bogey on the hole and all of a sudden Leintz had regained the momentum.

"There wasn't much difference between me and Elliot on Saturday but I probably did hit more fairways coming in," Leintz said. "I probably had more tournament experience than most of the players in the Junior division and that experience helped this week."

Leintz' run to the title began Monday when he carded the division's medalist round with a 71. Leinen wasn't far behind with a 74.

In match-play, Leintz defeated Zac Borgen of St. Michael 5 and 3, Barrett Eickhof of Grand Forks 2 and 1 and Matthew Gregg of Bemidji 6 and 5.

Leinen's match-play victims included Austin Jensen of Grand Forks (4 and 3), Sam Starkey of Bemidji (5 and 4) and Alex Barrett of Bemidji (5 and 3).

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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