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Champions return to Vandersluis golf tourney

BEMIDJI -- All three defending champions will tee it up on Saturday, Sept. 1 when the 51st annual Vandersluis Memorial Golf Tournament begins at the Bemidji Town & Country Club.

One of them is Josh Bergrud of Grand Forks, N.D., who claimed last year's men's championship title with a dramatic one-stroke victory over 2016 champ Will Czeh of Roseau.

Defending senior champion Bruce Hegland of Apple Valley and masters winner Glen Hasselberg of Staples also are entered in the three-day tournament.

Bergrud opened with a round of 69 last year and finished 3 under par for 54 holes. Czeh was one shot back and 2016 champion Toby Palmiscno of Bemidji took third. All three are back in the field this year.

Hegland won the senior title last year in a three-way playoff over Bob Cavanagh of Perham and Doug Taylor of Williston, N.D. The trio finished at 9 over for the tournament, one stroke ahead of 2014 senior champ Jeff Wiltse of Bemidji. All but Taylor are back this year.

Hasselberg won his fourth straight masters division crown last year with a 54-hole total of 14 over par. He also won men's championship titles in 1983 and 1986 and a senior championship in 2002.

The event began in 1958 and was known as the Founder's Day tournament until 1967, when it was changed to the Vandersluis Memorial. As of Friday, there were 140 entrants in this year's event.