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Pine to Palm: Kyler Schwamb wins Championship Division medalist honor in first tournament appearance

Farmington's Kyler Schwamb took a trip up to Detroit Lakes for MGA State Junior Boys' Championship. When he heard about the Pine to Palm match play tournament, he and some friends made the trip north. He won the medalist honor, beating former champion and last year's runner-up Ben Welle by one stroke at 9-under-par.

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Kyler Schwamb tees off on No. 1 to start his back nine in his second Championship Division qualifying round on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 at the Detroit Country Club in the Pine to Palm golf tournament.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES – Kyler Schwamb has had a year of high school golf, to say the least.

The Farmington High School soon-to-be senior tied for 10th place at the Class 3A boys state golf tournament at 3-over-par at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. He also tied for third at the MGA Junior State Boys' Championship at 2-under-par at Little Crow Country Club in Spicer. Now, he can call himself a Pine to Palm medalist.

Schwamb finished the two-day qualifying round at 9-under-par with 10 birdies and one bogey. On the second to last hole, he birdied the par-3 eighth hole to pull a stroke ahead of defending champion Ben Welle for solo first place.

"I'm hitting the driver really well this week," Schwamb said. "I'm in control with that, hitting fairways and giving myself some chances. There's some short holes you can really get at here. I didn't do as well on those holes as I wanted to, but I made some birdies on some tougher holes to make up for it."

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Kyler Schwamb putts on the 18th green in his second Championship Division qualifying round on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 at the Detroit Country Club in the Pine to Palm golf tournament.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Schwamb heard about the Pine to Palm during a trip he made to the Detroit Country Club for the MGA Junior State Boys' Championship in 2020. Schwamb tied for 13th at 3-over-par.


"The MGA has had the Junior State Boys' here," Schwamb said. "I love this course because it's a fun course. I heard about the match play tournament and how historic it is. I came up with some buddies because it sounded like a blast."

Through 11 holes, Schwamb, Welle and Blake Schuler were tied at 7-under-par. Welle and Schwamb birdied on No. 5 while Schuler bogeyed to create separation. Schuler finished in a tie for third at 7-under-par. Zach Kappes, the fourth group member on Wednesday, tied for the 11th best qualifying score of 3-under-par.

"It's a blast," Schwamb said of playing with tough competition. "When everyone in the group is playing well, it's a lot of fun. You play better against better players. You get in a groove. Ben, Zach and Blake are all good guys."

Even though this was the first time Schwamb entered the Pine to Palm tournament, he didn't feel anxious about entering the field of 188 players.

"It was really low-key–no nerves, honestly," Schwamb said. "It's qualifying, so the pressure isn't quite there yet. I just made putts, stuck to my game, and didn't feel any nerves."

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Kyler Schwamb, right, reads the ninth green with his caddy in his second Championship Division qualifying round on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 at the Detroit Country Club in the Pine to Palm golf tournament.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

In two days, Schwamb went from an unfamiliar face to carrying a target on his back. For a high school kid who's played in significant events, he's welcoming the challenge of staying on top.

"Definitely," Schwamb said on if being the medalist ramps up the pressure for match play. "I won't let that pressure get to me. I'm going to keep it away from me as much as I can. But yeah, it definitely does amp things up. Now, everybody knows who you are and wants to beat you even more."

Schwamb's test has only just begun as he now enters the field of 64 as the second seed. Nate Adams, the defending champion from a year ago, claimed the top stop as he returned to Detroit Lakes to defend his crown.
For Schwamb, the coming days are about making adjustments and learning from his qualifying rounds.


"I'm definitely going to switch things up and be more aggressive," Schwamb said about how his approach will change going from stroke play to match play. There are some holes where I could've been more aggressive. It's a risk-reward kind of thing. I'm going to see how I can balance that while being more aggressive than I've been so far. Hopefully, it pays off."

Editor’s note: A full recap from the Championship Division qualifying rounds, as well as the other five match play brackets and schedules, will be posted later on Wednesday night.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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