Minnesota Golf Association

Israelson, Christianson, Adams & Skarperud Make Pine to Palm Semifinals

August 10, 2019

DETROIT LAKES -- The first of the three tournaments that make up Minnesota's Resort Circuit, the Birchmont, was won by a college player, Chris Swenson (Bemidji State), two weeks ago. The second of the three, the Resorters, was won by a recent high school graduate, Cecil Belisle (Red Wing), last week. 

So it isn't surprising that there will be two college guys -- Andrew Israelson (North Dakota State) and Alex Skarperud (Scottsdale Community College) -- and a 2019 high school graduate, Nate Adams (Maple Grove), in the Pine to Palm semifinals on Sunday morning. What seems a little odd is that they will be joined not by another college player, but by a college coach, Concordia's Joe Christianson.

Christianson won a state high school championship in 1998 when he was a senior at Norman County West, and he was a two-time Division II All-American at West Florida. He took over as the head golf coach at Concordia (Moorhead) in 2016. He is also the school's associate athletic director.

This week, he's the No. 12 seed, after shooting a pair of 71's in qualifying.  

On Saturday morning, Christianson defeated No. 5 seed Bill Carlson 1 up in the Round of 16. On Saturday afternoon, he gained the advantage on the No. 4 seed, Cody Cook, who completed his senior season at Bemidji State this spring, by making four consecutive 3's, beginning with an eagle at the par-5 fifth and ending with a par at the eighth. He was 3 up after 15, but Cook, who reached the semifinals at the Birchmont, birdied the 16th and 17th holes before his birdie putt stopped just short on the 18th green, providing Christianson with his third 1-up victory in a row.

He will face Israelson, the No. 1 seed, in the semis. 

Israelson earned medalist honors by putting together rounds of 67 and 65 in qualiifying. The soon-to-be senior at NDSU hasn't seen the 18th hole since then, and he didn't see the 17th in either of his matches on Saturday. He beat long-hitting local Tanner Schathorst (No. 16) 4&3 in the morning. In his quarterfinal match against Minnesota State Junior Boys champion Ian Simonich, who will be a junior at Moorhead in a few weeks, Israelson was 1 down after three holes to the No. 57 seed. But a long birdie putt at the fourth got Israelson going in the right direction, and the 2019 MGA Players (State Match Play) champ went on from there to a 3&2 victory.

Adams will soon be a teammate of Israelson's. The NDSU recruit is seeded 10th, but he had to work overtime to win his first match in extra holes. He beat another long-hitting DL resident, Tanner Lane, 4&3 in the second round, then had another really close match Saturday morning against Patrick Traynor, escaping with a 1-up victory. That put him up against No. 34 Pat Deitz in the quarters. Deitz had knocked off the No. 2 seed, Lucas Johnson, in the Round of 32, and he edged former Pine to Palm champ Todd Hillier in the Round of 16. He also led Adams early on. But Adams responded by grabbing the lead with a birdie at the seventh hole and winning three of the next five holes, as well, to go 4 up. 

Deitz rallied and got the deficit down to 2, before Adams closed him out, 2&1, by halving the 17th with a par.

The reward for Adams is a spot opposite Alex Skarperud. He's seeded No. 30, but he's taken down two top-10 seeds thus far. On Friday, he dismissed No. 3 Erik Weiss 1 up, and on Saturday after squeaking past No. 19 Keaton Lausch 1 up, he took on two-time Pine to Palm winner Rick Kuhn, the No. 6 seed. Kuhn, who lost to Jackson Foth in the final last year (Foth turned pro in January and didn't defend his title), was attempting to become the first person to win the Pine to Palm in three different decades. His two titles came in 1991 and  2005. 

Kuhn went 1 up when he won the par-3 third hole, but Skarperud, a soon-to-be sophomore at Scottsdale CC, leveled the match by winning the sixth, and the Fighting Artichoke marched out to a commanding 4-up lead by winning four holes in a row, the ninth, 10th, 11th and par-5 12th. After that, he didn't need to do anything other than make pars, and he won 4&3. 

The Pine to Palm

at Detroit Country Club 

Detroit Lakes 

Championship Flight 

Round of 64

Andrew Israelson (1) def. Michael Kosiek (64) 4&2

Mason Kennedy (33) def. Ben Unruh (32) 1 up in extra holes

Tanner Schnathorst (16) def. Dieter Zuehlke 1 up in extra holes

Blake Kahlbaugh (17) def. Caleb Ketterling (48) 1 up

Ian Simonich (57) def. Matt Kulla (8) 4&2

Jack Michel (40) def. Jacob Skarperud (25) 3&2

Ryan Ames (9) def. Nathaniel Kahlbaugh (56) 4&3

Isaac Cihak (24) def. Joe Schornack (41) 4&3

Cody Cook (4) def. Blaze Ackerland (61) 5&3

Marc Vincelli (36) def. Chris Swenson (29) 3&2

Nathan Ginnaty (13) def. Matt Bekkerus (52) 3&2

Adam Van Raden (20) def. Bob Bye (45) 1 up extra holes

Bill Carlson (5) def. Andrew Johnson (60) 2&1

Greg Melhus (28) def. Coy Papachek (37) 3&2

Joe Christianson (12) def. Jordie Siverson (53) 4&3

Austin Rene (21) def. Layton Bartley (44) 1 up

Lucas Johnson (2) def. Max Karnik (63) 5&4

Pat Deitz (34) def. Andrew Passanante (31) 1 up in extra holes 

Todd Hillier (50) def. Nate Varty (15) 2&1

Jack Olson (18) Nolan Frank (47) 3&1

Will Czeh (7) def. John Fischer (58) 1 up in extra holes

Patrick Traynor (26) def. Matt Koster (39) 5&4

Nate Adams (10) def. Logan Hamak (55) 1 up in extra holes

Tanner Lane (42) def. Dylan Naylor (23) 2 up

Erik Weiss (3) def. Logan Palmer (62)  1 up in extra holes

Alex Skarperud (30) def. Sawyer Jaeger (35) 1 up

Ben Bergquist (51) def. Nick Evin (14) 1 up

Keaton Lausch (19) def. Cameron Rall (46) 5&4

Ruck Kuhn (6) def. Wyatt Blomseth (59) 3&1

Justin Redding (27) def. Ryan Steinert (38) 1 up

Cade Montplaisir (11) def. Gus Leivermann (54) 5&4

Bryant Buckellew (22) def. Brandon McGarry (43) 3&2

Round of 32

Israelson (1) def. Kennedy (33)_3&1

Schnathorst (16) def. Kahlbaugh (17) 2&1

Simonich (57) def. Michel (40) 1 up

Cihak (24) def. Ames (9) 2&1

Cook (4) def. Vincelli (36) 1 up

Ginnaty (13) def. Van Raden (20) 1 up

Carlson (5) def. Melhus (28) 1 up

Christianson (12) def. Rene (21) 1 up

Deitz (34) def. Johnson (2) 1 up

Hillier (50) def. Olson (18) 1 up

Traynor (26) def. Czeh (7) 2&1

Adams (10) def. Lane (42) 4&3

Skarperud (30) def. Weiss (3) 1 up

Lausch (19) def. Bergquist (51) 2&1

Kuhn (6) def. Redding (27) 1 up

Buckellew (22) def. Montplaisir (11) 1 up

Round of 16

Israelson (1) def. Schnathorst (16) 4&3

Simonich (57) def. Cihak (24) 5&3

Cook (4) def. Ginnaty 1 up

Christianson (12) def. Carlson (5) 1 up

Deitz (34) def. Hillier (50) 1 up

Adams (10) def. Traynor (26) 1 up

Skarperud (30) def. Lausch (19) 1 up

Kuhn (6) def. Buckellew (22) 5&3


Israelson (1) def. Simonich (57) 3&2

Christianson (12) def. Cook (4) 1 up

Adams (10) def. Deitz (34) 2&1

Skarperud (30) def. Kuhn (6) 4&3



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