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Pine to Palm: Blake takes Senior medalist laurels

As a first-year Pine to Palm Senior's player in 1999, Detroit Lakes' William Blake played all the way to the championship match, before losing to Bemidji's Gerry Douglas 1-up.

On his way through Senior's bracket play, Blake defeated that year's medalist Robert Wernick to stay alive.

Now 10 years later, Blake will enter Senior's championship play as the division's medalist after he carded a one-over par 72 to secure a No. 2 seed for the 16-man field match play and hopes to take that one extra step he didn't take in 1999.

"It feels good to be medalist," Blake said. "I've been playing well. It's a good feeling to get your name up on the (Pine to Palm) board. I've really enjoyed meeting a lot of people here and it's been a good time."

Blake made eight pars and had one hiccup with a double bogey on the front nine of his qualifying round Monday at the Detroit Country Club.

He finished strong by recording birdies on seven and eight (he started his round on tee 10) after he hit a snag early on with a bogey on four.

"I was hitting my fairways and greens and I wasn't having any three putts," Blake said of his round.

His putting was strong, with only 28 in his 18 holes of qualifying.

"I stayed out of trouble and really had only one bad shot, which happened when I over-shot the green on 17," Blake said.

His summer didn't start off all too well, though, in which he decided he needed some help.

"Earlier in the year, my game was in the tank," Blake included. "So I went to Oxbow had got a few lessons from (Golf Pro) John Dahl there. I was getting too ahead of the ball and was using my wrists too much."

The lessons cured his golf ailments, which eventually led to his Senior low score of 72 and medalist laurels to go along with it.

Defending champion Joe Sauer of Sauk Rapids gained the automatic No. 1 seed, while 11 other Senior golfers earned their spots in the 16-man bracket.

There will be a playoff of six golfers vying for four spots Thursday morning to complete the brackets.

The 10 other golfers who qualified for championship play in Seniors, include Dan Elton (73), John Schwankl (73), Jeff Tweeton (73), Mike Stirling (73), Ron Vincelli (74), Tim Rubis (74), Rick Johnson (74), John Bartley (74), Chuck Renner (74) and Paudie O'Connor (74).

The cut was 75, with six involved in Thursday morning's playoff. They include Tom Hanson, William Hawkins, T.L. Solien, Perry Clark, William Ericksen and Steve Halverson.