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Krueger takes 1st title

Paul Krueger of Detroit Lakes rolls a putt on the sixth green Sunday.

It took 72 years for a golfer from the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament's host town -- Detroit Lakes -- to win the prestigious championship, when DL native Chris Braaten won it in 2004.

But it took only one tournament for a DL golfer to win the newly-formed Super Seniors Division, when Paul Krueger toppled Chuck Renner of Phoenix, Ariz., 2 and 1 in the championship at the Detroit Country Club Sunday.

Krueger's birdie-fest on the front nine laid the foundation for his championship run.

He birdied holes one, five and six to take a commanding 4-up lead at the turn.

"The putter was my partner," Krueger said. "I was making everything."

Renner took holes 15 and 16 with birdie for a late rally, but Krueger's green game was far too much for the Arizona golfer.

The Super Seniors was a hit in its first year, with 34 golfers playing in it.

Renner won medalist honors after a one-round qualifying score of two-over par 73, with the bracket featuring the eight lowest scores.

Those who qualified for championship play included Krueger, Renner, DL's Ted Hatlen, John Lieser (1971 Pine to Palm champion), William Ericksen, James Larson, Owen Germundson and DL's Ron Smedshammer.

Krueger won a close semifinal match against Larson, winning 1-up, while defeating Smedshammer in the first round 8 and 6.

Torrential downpours affected Pine to Palm play throughout the week, with several delays had.

But the Super Seniors proved to be resilient, and a popular division in its inaugural year.

"I'm really happy to be the first Super Senior champion and get my name up on the board at the starter shack," Krueger added.

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