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THE BIRCHMONT: Favorites, hopefuls and golf fanatics all tee off to open 2022 bash

In a welcome reunion for those marching throughout the golf course, the Birchmont Golf Tournament returned on Monday for its 98th annual edition. Stories await to be told, heroic moments are eager to be born, and champions are ready to be christened.

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Bryce Bye tees off at hole No. 10 on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- What will the links have to offer this week? What hopes will lie in the fairways? What destinies rest on the greens?

The Bemidji Town and Country Club is about to find out.

In a welcome reunion for those marching throughout the golf course, the Birchmont Golf Tournament returned on Monday for its 98th annual edition. Stories await to be told, heroic moments are eager to be born, and champions are ready to be christened.

When it comes to summertime sports in Bemidji, not much beats the Birchmont.

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A group putts on the 18th green on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Most of the tournament’s divisions teed off on Monday for qualifying rounds, with match play scheduled to begin later in the week. Winners will rise to the top of the field by Saturday’s finale in a grand culmination of a tournament that always seems to deliver.

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In the men’s division, Joshua Galvin leads the pack of 88 golfers after the first round of qualifying. The Maple Grove product shot a 4-under-par 68, one stroke better than the 69 from Fargo’s Chad Skarperud. Six others finished under par, including Moorhead’s Ian Simonich and last year’s runner-up, Fargo’s Nate Adams, with scores of 70. Nine others fired an even par of 72.

Adams also had perhaps the highlight of the day when he made eagle on No. 17 from 135 yards out -- after his tee shot landed deep in the left rough.

The 2021 men’s champion, Andrew Israelson, is not competing at this summer’s amateur tournament because he turned professional following his Birchmont win from a year ago.

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Benjamin Schaefer tees off on hole No. 1 on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

In the men’s executive field, Bemidji State men’s golf head coach Ekren Miller schooled the rest of the field with his 69, three strokes better than Mark Ewing’s 72 and at least five better than everybody else. Derek Hasselberg, Scott Woods and Scott Fogelson all shot 74s to fit into the top five.

In the men’s senior field, three Bemidjians topped the field. Jeff Wiltse, Paul Daman and Scott Hinners all shot a 74 to set the standard, while Jeff Slupe of Windsor, Colo., and Marc Redman of Mesa, Ariz., also carded 75s to stay on their heels.

In the junior 13-17 division, Carter White of Verndale came out on top of the pack by recording a 4-over 76. Eli Tuomala of Bemidji and Jack Hanson of Apple Valley both fired a 79, while Carter Fish, Masen Nowacki and Ethan Finseth all posted 80s.

And in the junior 10-12 competition, Logan Brink shot an even-par 36 on the nine-hole round to take first place in qualifying. Jackson Fogelson placed second at 3-over, while Caden Boschee placed third at 5-over.

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Logan Brink practices his swing at the driving range on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The lone qualifying round for the women’s and masters divisions will tee off on Tuesday, July 26. The second round of qualifying for the men’s, men’s senior and men’s executive divisions will also commence on Tuesday, while the junior 10-12 field will open up match play for the tournament.

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For complete results and Tuesday tee times, visit thebirchmont.com .

The 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament schedule

  • Monday: Qualifying rounds for the men’s, men’s senior, men’s executive and junior divisions.
  • Tuesday: Qualifying rounds for the women’s and masters divisions; second round of qualifying for men’s, men’s senior and men’s executive divisions; match play begins for junior 10-12 division.
  • Wednesday: Match play begins for all championship divisions. (Men’s letter flights, men’s executive regular and junior 10-12 divisions do not play.)
  • Thursday: Match play continues for all championship divisions. (Senior regular, masters regular and junior flights do not play.)
  • Friday: Match play continues for all divisions. (Women’s regular flights do not play.)
  • Saturday: Match play finals for all divisions.
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Golfers make their way down the fairway on hole No. 18 on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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A group tees off at hole No. 10 on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Golf carts drive along the path on hole No. 14 on Monday, July 25, 2022, during the 98th annual Birchmont Golf Tournament at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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It was another perfect Sunday with clear skies and comfortable temperatures on Garfield Lake. Thirty-three racers and crews filled the pits, and the oval track was surrounded by hundreds of fans.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.