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Seniors title between Linnerooth and Johnson

Rick Johnson watches his approach to the par four 11th green during Saturday’s Seniors match play.1 / 2
Scott Linnerooth rolls in a birdie putt on the 7th green during his Pine to Palm seniors match against Larry Olin Saturday afternoon.2 / 2

Pine to Palm Senior’s player Rick Johnson was running out of holes to make his move during Saturday’s semifinal match against Jim Brothers, as he faced a four-hole deficit with five to go. 

After starting on the back nine to start their match, Johnson found himself in some dire straits, with one more loss basically eliminating him from competition.

So he told himself something very simple.

“When I got to the fifth tee, I said, let’s go to six after this,” Johnson said.

He proceeded to make birdie on the fifth hole and trim the deficit to three down.

“Then when I got to the sixth tee, I said, let’s go to seven,” Johnson added.

He almost drove the green on six and chipped up and made birdie for another win.

Brothers fell into trouble on seven by hitting a bunker and now his lead fell to 1-up.

Another bunker for Brothers on eight evened the match, with Johnson in control of all the momentum.

Johnson went on to win nine with par and completed the amazing comeback, winning 1-up and advancing to his first championship match in his 30-plus years of being at the Pine to Palm.

“Every drive I hit, I hit it point blank and creamed it,” Johnson said. “I will now have my name up on the board out there. I’ve played this tournament 30-plus years and this is just big for me.

“Even being down four, I always had hope.”

Johnson’s championship counterpart will be 2012 Senior’s champion Scott Linnerooth, who beat Larry Olin in Saturday’s semifinals.

A birdie streak on holes five through eight keyed Linnerooth’s victory, with the veteran hitting greens and fairways all day.

“I have been playing well all week,” Linnerooth said. “It would be awesome to win again. The keys will be to hit your greens and stay out of the trees. You need to keep the ball on the fairways.”

The Seniors championship match will start 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.