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Top two Senior seeds fall like the rain

Burke Kiger hits a drive during his Thursday Senior championship match against John Stromstad. Kiger won the match 1-up to advance in the senior bracket.1 / 2
Larry Olin eyes down a drive during his Senior championship match against John Hagge Thursday afternoon.2 / 2

No seed was safe in the Pine to Palm Senior championship match play, as the top two seeds were eliminated Thursday.

But the losses were affected by timing -- bad for the losers and good for the winners.

Due to inclement weather which plagued the Detroit Country Club all morning and afternoon long, every morning match was cut short after a couple of long rain delays.

Senior medalist record-breaker John Stromstad couldn't repeat his magnificent qualifying performance, where he shot a six-under par 65 to eclipse Robert Wernick's 1999 mark of 68.

Stromstad fell down one to Burke Kiger late in the match, which ended prematurely because of the weather.

"I didn't play well today and probably deserved to lose," a frustrated Stromstad said. "I would have liked to have played the final four holes, but what could have (the Pine to Palm Committee) done?

"They run a first class tournament and it's a hard job getting 400-plus players on the course. I have no excuses and I didn't play well."

Ron Burnside made sure there will be a new Pine to Palm Seniors champion after he defeated T.L. Solien 1-up with four holes to go.

Burnside won the decisive hole in the back-and-forth match on hole two, before the match was called.

"I played in the Mahnomen Short Stop Tournament a couple of weeks ago with my brothers, which was cut short to nine holes, so we have to appreciate getting more than that in today," Burnside said.

Burnside took a 1-up lead with par on 18, but lost one to pull back to even, with five holes remaining.

A birdie on hole two put the Detroit Lakes' golfer 1-up, before the siren pulled all the golfers off the course for the final time.

"I was the last one in match play after playing pretty well in qualifying, which was in the rain, so today didn't really bother me," a smiling Burnside said. "Today's conditions were made for me."

This is Burnside's debut in Senior's play, as well.

"It's a bracket-full of good players, so it will be a tough one," Burnside said.

No. 3 seed Clint Nelson survived, though, winning 3-up over Rick Crawford, while No. 4 John Schwankl lost to Fargo's Tim Rubis 5 and 4.

Other match scores included Larry Olin winning over John Hagge 1-up; Mike Stirling topping Dan Elton 2-up; Conrad Lopes over Ron Galuska 6 and 5 and Rob Harris downing Spencer Clark 6 and 5.

The quarterfinals Friday will set up like this: Burnside versus Olin; Rubis versus Stirling; Kiger against Lopes and Nelson against Harris.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.