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Rubis and Nelson to contend for Seniors

Tim Rubis watches a drive during his Saturday senior championship match against Larry Olin.1 / 2
Clint Nelson rolls a putt Saturday during his senior championship match against Conrad Lopes.2 / 2

Fargo's Tim Rubis lived every golfers' dream Saturday during his Pine to Palm Senior's semifinal match at the Detroit Country Club.

The dream came in the form of a 20-foot putt on the 18th green to win his match and the right to move onto the Senior's championship.

The reality hit when the ball rattled the bottom of the cup, thus sending Rubis into the finals against Fargo's Clint Nelson.

The long birdie putt eliminated Florida's Larry Olin, whose 30-foot birdie putt came up just short.

"I was just praying my heart out that it was going to fall into the cup," Rubis said of his spectacular putt.

The match was as close as the final putts on 18, as the two dueled back and forth, even halving hole 12 with each making birdie.

Rubis pulled the match back to even with a birdie on 13, which set up the first of his two amazing match-saving shots.

On 16, after hitting into the trees off the tee, Rubis didn't have a shot at the green, so he used a sand wedge and shot it flat off the ground to knock the ball straight up and over the tree.

The ball lofted over the obstacle, sliced right and landed within 10 feet of the pin.

"That was my best shot of my life," Rubis proclaimed.

It saved par and the two halved the hole and eventually set up one of his best putts of his life on 18.

Rubis is a longtime Pine to Palmer and has played in plenty of match play events.

So he knows what's in store for him Sunday in the title match against Nelson.

"You need to tee it up and avoid unforced errors and follow your fundamentals," Rubis said. "I know Clint is a very good player and a good ball striker."

Nelson, who has some big-time wins in his past -- including the 2006 Minnesota State Seniors Championship and the Senior Best Ball along with James "Lank" Larson -- has proven to be tough in Senior play.

He downed California's Conrad Lopes 3 and 2.

Nelson won holes 10 and 11 with pars to go 1-up, while taking par on 13 and 15 for the 3-up advantage and eventual win.

"The round was just ugly, neither of us hit the ball well," Nelson said. "(In the championship) I need to hit the ball much better.

"It's wonderful to make it this far, now I am just going to go for my pars."

The Senior championship will start Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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