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Czeh birdies way to Pine to Palm medal honors

Will Czeh tees off on the par-three 14th hole on the way to earning medalist honors at the 86th Pine to Palm golf tournament in Detroit Lakes Wednesday, August 8. Robert Williams / Forum News Service

Roseau’s Will Czeh erased a one-shot deficit on the front nine and finished strong to capture medalist honors in the championship flight of the 86th Pine to Palm golf tournament Wednesday, Aug. 8 at Detroit Country Club.

Czeh’s two-day score of 128 (65-63) is a new tournament record breaking Jeff Lamp’s mark of (63-67-130) from 2003 and Cameron White (65-65-130) in 2007. Tom Hoge holds the one-day record of nine-under par 62 set in 2009.

For the former Bemidji State University golfer, Czeh got over an early bogey on hole No. 2 and finished the front nine with four birdies and a three-under 33 to lead Andrew Israelson by one stroke at the turn.

“The front, that’s always been my hottest side,” Czeh said. “I was thinking; came around in 33, nothing special is going to happen and I was looking forward to a little duel with Andrew.”


Israelson posted the low score on day one to grab the lead by playing bogey-free golf. That did not happen on day two.

“I bogeyed a few holes on the front; he bogeyed two, but other than that he was pretty flawless in the whole round,” said Israelson. “It was great to watch.”

The duo were all square on eight, but Czeh’s play grew more consistent to the end of the round.

He gained momentum with a birdie putt on the par-three 14th and followed up with a pitching wedge to within a couple inches on 15.

“I had a bonus putt go in on 17 from 30-feet; everything was ticking a little bit today,” said Czeh. “I hit a lot of fairways, putted the ball well and I’m really looking forward to match play. The tournament starts with match play. I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I’m really seeing the lines well off the putter face. I feel like I can keep that going.”

Israelson was lights out on Tuesday shooting 64 (-7). He followed up with a 68 (-3) to place second overall with a total score of 132.

“If I wouldn’t have made those bogeys, we would have tied,” he said. “Basically, that’s what it comes down to. I was trying to make something out of nothing and that’s why I made those bogeys.”

Andrew Proctor of Chandler, Arizona was a stroke back of Israelson in third place (68-65 133). Rounding out the top eight of the qualifying 64 players were University of Minnesota junior Thomas Longbella (69-65 134), along with Greg Melhus of West Fargo (68-66 134).


Melhus shot the low nine of the day with a stellar six-under 29 on the back side following up 37 on the front.

“For a 37, I probably scored worse than I played,” Melhus said. “On the back, I did a better job of keeping the ball in the fairway and had three or four iron shots I hit to within a couple feet.”

Last year’s co-medalist Nick Myhre was consistent both days shooting 68-67 for 135 to place sixth.


Jackson Foth of Lenexa, Kansas busted out with a 31 (-5) on the front side and came in with 37 for 136 and a seventh place mark. He’ll be seeded eighth due to defending champion Chris Swenson taking the top spot.

Foth’s round got interesting on the back side when he posted a score of nine on the par-four 15th hole finding out-of-bounds twice.

“I’d been hitting driver all day and obviously, you don’t have to pull driver there, but I was hitting it well,” he said. “Honestly, left wasn’t even in my brain.”

He bogeyed 16, but rallied with back-to-back birdies on the finishing holes to come in with a 68.

“It was definitely a rollercoaster, but overall, a good day,” Foth said.

Foth is staying with Ben Welle and got some advice earlier in the morning from the 2014 Pine to Palm champion.

“He was screaming at me; I told him I was going to shoot a 63 or 64 today,” said Foth. “He told me, ‘You don’t want to do that; medalist never wins this thing.’ That was definitely in the back of my brain. I could definitely hear him say you don’t want to be medalist. I probably could have played that hole a little more conservative but I was honestly thinking about getting another birdie. I wasn’t going to change. I’ve played a lot of match play tournaments. I’ve made it far as the 60-seed; I’ve lost in the first round as the two. I was being aggressive out there and I stuck to my gameplan.”

Pat Deitz of Moorhead (69-68 137) and Rick Kuhn of Bismarck (70-68 138) completed the top 10.

The qualifying cut score was 147 with 10 players deadlocked for the final nine match play spots. Last year's runner-up Jon Miller is in that group.


Leading the local charge is 2018 DLHS graduate Ryan Paskey, a member of three consecutive top five state tournament golf teams, including a runners-up mark this season. Paskey shot matching rounds of 70 to finish in the top 15. Ryan Steinert (72-72-144) is also in the field tied with eight other golfers in the middle of the pack. Paskey’s fellow team tri-captains Wyatt Blomseth (72-74-146) and Ben Unruh (74-73-147) are in contention.

For complete results from all four divisions and flights visit

Championship round match play begins at 12:15 p.m. Thursday.

Championship first round matchups:

Chris Swenson (1) Vs Ben Strauman (64)

Dylan Naylor (32) Vs Stefan Nelson (33)

Gage Stromme (16) Vs Adam Gronaas (49)

Mson Fiddle (17) Vs Max Savini (48)

Jackson Foth (8) Vs Jordan Smith (57)

Lincoln Cizek (25) Vs Bill Carlson (40)

Pat Deitz (9) Vs Ben Unruh (56)

Tyler Nelson (24) Vs Ryan Steinert (41)

Andrew Proctor (4) Vs Robert Wagner (61)

Kole Hallmark (29) Vs Matt Kulla (36)

Dax Wallat (13) Vs Tony Vincelli (52)

Patrick Traynor (20) Vs Lucas Johnson (45)

Thomas Longbella (5) Vs Jared Lentz (60)

Michael Kosiek (28) Vs Terry Kragero (37)

Erik Weiss (12) Vs Cade Montplaisir (53)

Nathaniel Kahlbaugh (21) Vs Regan Steen (44)

Will Czeh (2) Vs Andrew Macfarlane (63)

Caleb Ketterling (31) Vs Austin Schultz (34)

Ryan Paskey (15) Vs Spencer Adam (50)

Jordie Siverson (18) Vs Nate Varty (47)

Nick Myhre (7) Vs Ryan Ames (58)

Alex Schwab (26) Vs Ben Hauge (39)

Rick Kuhn (10) Vs Wyatt Blomseth (55)

Joe Chistianson (23) Vs Daniel Sayler (42)

Andrew Israelson (3) Vs Jon Miller (62)

Connor Glynn (30) Vs Justin Redding (35)

Cole Hanson (14) Vs Andrew Passanante (51)

Colton Murphy (19) Vs John Fischer (46)

Greg Melhus (6) Vs Logan Palmer (59)

Brock Ellingson (27) Vs Connor Holland (38)

Bryant Buckellew (11) Vs Mitch Scrimgeour (54)

Brennan Hockman (22) Vs Dieter Zuehlke (43)

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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