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Looking back with Ralph: 1979

When Chris Perry won the 1979 Pine to Palm championship, he became only the second 17-year-old in history to win the title.

The first was Don Carman, formerly of Detroit Lakes, but who was living in Pasadena, Calif., when he won the championship in the sixth annual tournament held in 1936.

Newspaper accounts state that Carman "hitch-hiked back from Pasadena to his old home town" as he won the title that year by defeating Bill Kostelecky of Dickinson, N.D., in the championship match.

The 1936 tournament also featured a postponement in the Pine to Palm. Originally scheduled to be played Aug. 12-15, it was set back to Aug. 23-26 "to strengthen and protect the new bent grass greens."

Speaking of ages of Pine to Palm winners, the tournament has featured nine champions who were 19 or younger and six who were over 40.

In a study done by The Spotlight, ages of all the champions except one were discovered.

The only champion's age that has not been pin-pointed is that of Gus Novotny, who won the 1934 title with a 2 and 1 victory over Fritz Carman (older brother of Don Carman) of Detroit Lakes in the finals.

From talking with various people who have been following the tournament longer than I have, I gather that Novotny was about 34 years of age at the time. Accounts in the Detroit Lakes Newspapers' files state that Novotny was a member of the Interlachen Club in Minneapolis, was a former University of Illinois golf team member and once had played against the legendary Bobby Jones in a U.S. National Amateur Tournament.

Assuming that age 34 is correct for Novotny at the time he won, the ages of the Pine to Palm winners at the time they captured the championships were as follows:

17 -- Don Carman (1936), Chris Perry (1979).

18--Pat Sawyer (1931), Dave Hanten (1964).

19--Pat Sawyer (1932), Jack Rule (1958)/Greg Rose (1966), Jim Ihnot (1970), Bill Israelson (1976).

20 -- Jack Rule (1959), Dick Blooston (1963), Bill Homeyer (1969), John Harris (1972), Bill Israelson (1976).

21 -- Maurice Cain (1938), Neil Croonquist (1939), Ted

Vickerman (1952), Jack Rule (1960), Mark Knutson (1978).

22--Ed Ebel (1941), John Olsen (1951).

23--Tommy Sullivan (1950), Bob Goetz (1956).

24--Gerald Pepper (1949), Len Fiocca (1967).

26--Bill VonWald (1973).

27 -- Jim Nordine (1946), John Lieser (1971), Bill Von Wald (1974).

28--Jim Moeller (1955), Bill Von Wald (1975).

30--Dr.Wailliam Kostelecky (1944) /Jack Webb (1954).

31--Jerry Burns (1947).

32--Virgil Roby (1933), Jerry Burns (1948).

33-- Dayton Olson (1961).

34--Gus Novotny (1934), Virgil Roby (1935).

38-- Bob Gammon (1937), Jack Penrose (1953).

41--Bob Gammon (1940), Bob Finseth (1962).

43--Ken Pinns (1965).

44--Virgil Roby (1945).

47--Parley Hyde (1957).

48--George Lee (1968).

Perry tops Fermoyle for title

Chris Perry, 17-year-old son of former Minnesota Twins' baseball pitcher Jim Perry, won the 47th Pine to Palm Golf Tournament championship at the Detroit Country Club m 1979 by rallying over the last four holes for a 1-up victory over Mike Fermoyle of Minneapolis

The 30-year-old Fermoyle, who won medal honors in the 1971 Pine to Palm, appeared to be en route to victory since he held a 2-up lead with four holes remaining and then went bogie-double bogie-bogie-bogie and lost three of the four holes.

Fermoyle's troubles started on the l5th hole where a 2 1/2-foot putt failed to drop and his lead slipped to 1-up and the match became even after the next hole where Fermoyle slammed his tee shot out-of-bounds and eventually conceded Perry a birdie and victory.

After both golfers made bogie four on the 17th hole, Fermoyle came up short of the green on the 356-yard finishing hole while Perry came out of the woods to about 45 feet from the up. Fermoyle left his third shot about 10 feet past the cup and Perry, displaying a deft touch, putted to within six inches of the hole for a sure four. Fermoyle's bid for a par was below the cup and Perry became a Pine to Palm champion in his first tournament appearance.

Fermoyle, who turned back Steve Johnson of Elk River 1-up in 19 holes in Sunday's semi-final match, appeared intent on wrapping up the championship match early After the golfers halved the first hole with birdies and the second with pars, Fermoyle won the third when Perry hit his tee shot out-of-bounds, took the fourth with a 20-foot birdie putt and clipped in a six-foot birdie putt in the fifth hole for a 3-up advantage until a heavy rainstorm interrupted play between the third and fourth holes for about 20 minutes and the rain continued while the finalists played the fourth, fifth and sixth holes, but then the weather cleared and there was no more rain for the remainder of the match.

Perry cut into Fermoyle's lead with a seven-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole and won the eighth with a par when Fermoyle needed three putts to get down. After they halved the next two holes with pars, Fermoyle knocked in a 20-footer on the llth hole for a birdie and a 2-up edge that held until the fateful l5th.

Perry finished the round with an even par 71, while Fermoyle shot 73 after shooting 69 in the morning round against Johnson.

Perry, who will be a senior during 1979-80 at Edina West High School, has won the Minnesota State High School Class AA golf championship each of the last two years and earlier this summer played in the U S Junior Golf Tournament at Hilton Head, S C, a tournament in which he was a semi-finalist last year He lost early in match play this year when he slipped to "about four over par" while his opponent was two-under, Perry said.

His commitments for the remainder of the 1979 season include entering qualifying for the U S Amateur today (Monday) at the Interlachen Country Club in Edina and then entering the Junior Tournament of Champions to be played at Fort Lauderdale, Fla , on Aug 20-24.

Following high school graduation, Perry says he will attend a college in the south. Among those he is considering are Oral Roberts, the University of Georgia and Arizona State.

He credited his Pine to Palm triumph to the fact he was able to play the back nine so well at the Detroit Country Club "I was down or at the best even after nine in each of my matches, yet I was able to win six times," he stated about his tournament play.

Perry topped Russ Nelson of Fargo 2 and 1 in the morning semifinals His earlier tournament victims were Jim Strandemo of Mahnomen, Bruce Anderson of Minneapolis, Scott Harris of Roseau and Kirk Snider of Hastings.

Fermoyle, who was appearing in the Pine to Palm for the 10th time, defeated Peter Bridston of Grand Forks, Mark Holm of Moorhead, Mike Herzog of Alexandria and Colin Bork of Brookings, S D , in his first four matches He went extra holes three times, defeating Holm in a 20-hole match and topping both Bork and Johnson on the 19th hole.

Concerning the championship match, Perry said that he got "a big lift" when Fermoyle bogied the l5th because he could see himself running out of holes with a 2-down deficit prior to that development

When Fermoyle hit his tee shot out-of bounds on the 16th hole, it marked the second time on Sunday that Perry s opponent had done that because Russ Nelson banged one into the road against the Edina youth in the morning semi-finals

OTHERS winning honors included Jim Strandemo of Mahnomen who defeated Jim Bergeson of Barnesville for the championship consolation trophy, and Harold Erickson of Norridge, Ill., who won his second straight Senior Division title by defeating Joe Rak of Minneapolis in the finals.