Pine to Palm: Hoge strokes nine-under par 62 to set qualifying record
The 77th Pine to Palm Golf Tournament was the latest stop for the one-man wrecking crew known as Tom Hoge.
The West Fargo golfer's play Tuesday during the first round of qualifying matched the weather -- hot -- after Hoge shot a new tournament qualifying round record nine-under par 62.
The mark breaks the previous score of eight-under par 63, held by three golfers: Clayton Rask (2006), Kane Hanson (2005) and Jeff Lamp (2003).
Each of those golfers went on to win Pine to Palm medalist laurels.
The all-time Pine to Palm low round by Hoge proceeds a busy two days for him, which included winning the U.S. Amateur qualifier at the Fargo Country Club with a pair of 67's just 24 hours earlier.
"Actually, I was just trying to have some fun today and relax after the U.S. Amateur qualifier," Hoge said of his Tuesday's score of 62. "But anytime you are seeing the ball go in the hole that much, it builds confidence."
Confidence would come quick for Hoge, who started with a birdie on hole one. His only bogey in his 18 holes came on hole three, but a chip-in for eagle on six quickly put him on the fast track.
The TCU men's Division I All-American finished by carding eight birdies -- five on the back nine -- an eagle and one bogey.
Oddly enough, putting wasn't a key, but an effective driving and short game nullified that need.
"I was driving the ball well and my short pitches put the ball close to the hole so I had maybe one long putt outside of 20 feet," Hoge said. "It wasn't anything spectacular."
Hoge's victory tour over the last two weeks also include winning the Minnesota State Amateur championship at Mendakota Country Club.
"I was struggling going into the Minnesota State Am, but I played well there and things started to click," Hoge said. "Basically today, I wanted to just go out and get a good feel for the course and have fun."
Qualifying for the field of 64 in Championship play will continue tomorrow (Wednesday), while the field will be set for the Mid-Am Division tonight.
Senior's qualifying continues tomorrow morning, with match play in all the flights start Thursday morning.
Pine to Palm notes
Bill Modrich of Fargo made a hole-in-one Monday during qualifying.
He drained his ace on hole 14, a 156-yard shot, using an eight iron. Witnesses were John Bergquist, Chad Kosin and Ken Astrup.
Fargo's Amy Anderson is on the brink of making Pine to Palm history, as well.
Anderson shot an even-par 71 Tuesday in the first round of qualifying, thus giving her a good chance to make the final cut for the field of 64 in Championship play.
If she survives the cut, Anderson will be the first female to earn a berth in Championship match play.
Anderson already has had quite the summer, after she won the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship July 20-21, in New York.
There are six former Pine to Palm champions in this year's field. They include defending champ Ben Freeman, Russ Newman (1992 and 1994), Mike Halverson (1995), Greg Melhus (2003), Chad Skarperud (2000) and Rick Kuhn (1991 and 2005).
The official number of registered golfers for this year's Pine to Palm Golf Tournament is 429, down two from 2008.