Sauer tries for Super Seniors repeat
Sauk Rapids’ Joe Sauer knows what it takes to endure the grind of winning a Pine to Palm championship, since he did it in 2008 after taking the Senior’s division with a week’s worth of consistent play.
Now Sauer is attempting to add to his silver collection after qualifying for the Super Seniors match play tournament, as he took another step towards that goal after beating Lance Brown 2 and 1 in Thursday’s first round.
After getting that taste of Pine to Palm silver in 2008, the motivation to do it again thrives in Sauer.
“Absolutely,” Sauer said of the motivation he feels after winning in 2008. “I learned how to literally take it one shot at a time. In this year’s qualifying round, I was four-over after two holes, but I was able to ride that out, too.”
Sauer scored a 79 and earned his berth in match play and he was able to get back to his consistent self in the first round.
Although he only had one birdie all round, he was even par on his first nine holes and stayed out of trouble, to help build a 3-up lead.
But it was a back-and-forth match, as Brown was able to knock down some pressure putts, as did Sauer.
“The key was I was able to get ahead and ride it out,” Sauer said.
In the second round, Sauer faced Pine to Palm veteran William Hawkins, who played the only extra-holes match in the three divisions Thursday (Mid-Am, Seniors and Super Seniors).
Hawkins was able to advance over James Wolff after surviving the 19th hole and win 1-up.
Medalist Clint Nelson advanced with a 5 and 4 win over John Gergen, while defending champion Chuck Renner of Arizona, won over John Bartley 6 and 6.
For Renner, his quest of winning his fourth medalist honor in as many years went by the wayside after Nelson topped him by two strokes, but he still is proving to be a tough out.
Renner birdied the ninth hole to take a 1-up lead, then won the next two for a 3-up advantage after throwing a couple of darts near the pin.
On the third hole of the second nine, Bartley went into the bunker to give Renner a 4-up lead, followed by a solid seven iron shot out of the rough to the fringe and two putt to go 5-up.
“When I was in the rough today, I was able to scramble well and recover,” Renner said. “When he struggled, I made par or birdie.”
Nelson next faced Thomas Wood, who was a 1-up winner over Richard McConn, while William Blake was a 3 and 2 winner over Chuck Sjostrom.
Tom Hanson outlasted Steve Sundby 2 and 1 to round out the first round, and faced Renner in the second. Full results in Thursday’s Tribune.