Pine to Palm: Detroit Lakes native claims Super Senior Division title after 20 years

Bert Olson, a Detroit Lakes native, beat Ron Vincelli 2-1 to win his first Pine to Palm championship in the Senior Division.

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Bert Olson makes a long putt on No. 3 in the Super Senior Division championship in the 90th Pine to Palm on Aug, 14, 2022 at the Detroit Country Club.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES – Bert Olson moved away from Detroit Lakes years ago but still calls the Pine to Palm course at the Detroit Country Club his home.

On Sunday, Olson won his first Pine to Palm title with a 2-1 victory over Ron Vincelli in the Super Senior Division Championship.

"To put things in perspective, we stay with friends here in Detroit Lakes. We have our kids and grandkids here with us. It becomes a family week for us," Olson said. "I thoroughly enjoy match play. I like getting a chance to meet different players. I get a lot of energy by playing match play. Today I think I played the best that I have all week."

After dropping the first hole, Olson won three of the next four to take a 2-up lead. Vincelli squared the match with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 before Olson took a one-hold lead to the turn with a par on No. 9.

Olson increased his lead by winning the first three holes on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 10 and 12. Vincelli got one back with a par on No. 13 before a birdie on No. 16 pulled him within two. Olson sank a putt on No. 17 to claim his first ever Pien to Palm championship in 20 years.


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Ron Vincelli chips from the rough on No. 3 in the Super Senior Division championship in the 90th Pine to Palm on Aug, 14, 2022 at the Detroit Country Club.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"I hit a lot of good shots," Olson said. "My driver was working. I played Ron Vincelli, and he's part of a well-known family at the Pine to Palm. I made a couple of key putts. One of them was on 3, and the other was on 17. I made a couple of key iron shots on 10, 11 and 12. It made a difference in the outcome of those holes. I was up, and I managed to close out on 17."

Olson's run to the Super Senior Division championship came secondary to what the Pine to Palm tournament week means to his family.

"This is my 20th Pine to Palm," Olson said. "Both of my parents are deceased, but they got me started in golf many years ago. We visited their graves earlier in the week. Mom and Dad are here with me. This week gives me the ability to spend time with my kids and grandkids, especially my grandkids. It really kind of puts things in perspective. We play this game, and it's a lot of fun to be out here. It's more about the time we get to spend out here in this beautiful area with loved ones."

After two decades of competing in each division the Pine to Palm tournament offers, Olson found a lane to end up on the story's leaderboards that hang on the clubhouse. While his name will be there forever, the memories of his championship will be of the fun he had playing against like-minded golfers.

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Bert Olson chips on No. 3 in the Super Senior Division championship in the 90th Pine to Palm on Aug, 14, 2022 at the Detroit Country Club.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"Over the years, I've played Championship, Flights and Senior Divisions until this year when I became eligible for the Super Senior Division," Olson said. "I think the Senior Division is a bit more competitive. When you get to the Super Senior level, you've lived enough life to know that you're on the back nine. You look forward to the camaraderie with the people you've played with for years and years."

Olson is already looking forward to returning to Detroit Lakes next summer as a champion. While he would like to repeat his fortunes in 2023, he's focused on hitting a more significant milestone in five years.

"Absolutely," Olson said when asked if he'd be back to defend his championship. "I'd like to keep coming back to attend the 25-year veteran awards. That's the next goal. This is my home course, even though I live in Sioux Falls now. It's great coming back to see friends and people that have been on the golf course for a long time, especially the volunteers."

Related Topics: PINE TO PALMGOLF
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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