Israelson Is Medal and Match Winner at DL
August 12, 2019
DETROIT LAKES -- Andrew Israelson was in control of things pretty much from the start of this year's Pine to Palm. He was the medalist in qualifying with a 36-hole score of 10-under-par 132 (67-65), and he got through his first five matches without ever having to play the 17th hole.
That changed Sunday afternoon in the championship match. Nate Adams, who graduated from Maple Grove High School in June, won two of the first three holes from Israelson, and he was 3 up by the time they reached the 11th tee at Detroit Country Club. But Israelson rallied with three birdies in the next five holes to cut the deficit to 1 down, won the 18th hole with a par and birdied the first extra hole to win the match -- and claim the title.
With that, he became the first son of a Pine to Palm champion to win the tournament. His father, Bill Israelson, a member of the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, won the tournament three times -- 1976, '77 and '80.
"I'm still trying to catch him," Andrew said after collecting his trophy. "Knowing that he's won this three times, I've always wanted to get this one checked off the list. He's never been medalist, though; so I've got him beat there. It's kind of one thing when your dad or some other family member has done a lot and has a great reputation.You kind of shoot to beat that. I've still got two more to go."
Israelson, a former Minnesota Mr. Golf (the top senior high school player in the state) from Staples who will be a senior at North Dakota State in a few weeks, is having quite a summer. He won the MGA Players (State Match Play) Championship in June and tied for second place in the State Amateur at Somerby, where he and the 2018 winner, Van Holmgren, finished one stroke behind the this year's champion, Clay Kucera. More recently, he finished second in qualifying at the Birchmont Tournament and made the semifinals in the match-play portion of that tournament. The medalist at the Birchmont was Israelson's NDSU teammate Lucas Johnson.
At the Pine to Palm, they reversed positions. Israelson was the medalist, and Johnson the runner-up.
Both Israelson and Adams had to win semifinal matches Sunday morning to earn their places in the title match. Israelson faced Concrodia College coach Joe Christianson, a former Minnesota state high school champ and two-time Division II All-American. He won 3&2.
Adams, who will be joining Israelson at NDSU this fall, played Alex Skarperud, a sophomore-to-be at Scottsdale Community College, and won 4&3.
In the final, Adams won the first hole, and he birdied the par-3 third to go 2 up. Israelson won the fourth with a par, but Adams took the sixth with a par and the seventh with a birdie. He made the turn 3 up and halved the 10th hole with a par.
Israelson began his comeback with a massive drive at the 366-yard, par-4 11th hole, leaving him with just a flip wedge to the green. He hit the shot to within tap-in range. That was his first birdie of the afternoon. He followed it with two more in the next four holes, but he halved the 16th hole and the par-3 17th with pars, and was still 1 down going to the 18th tee. Adams drive at the 18th went right, into the trees, and he needed four shots just to get to the green. He managed to make a scrambling bogey, but Israelson made an 8-footer for par to square the match and force extra holes. It turned out to be one extra hole.
Bill Israelson was almost mythical for his ability to scramble, and Andrew has also been known to get up and down from some unlikely places. But even by their standards, the par that Adams made on the first playoff hole, the 511-yard, par-5 first, was spectacular. After hitting his drive left and his second shot right, he punched his third shot under a tree, attempting to run it onto the green. But he hit the shot too hard, and the ball raced over the green and ended up against a fence. Choking up to the shaft, Adams somehow managed to not only get the ball onto the green from there, but it wound up a foot from the cup -- for a world-traveler par.
It wasn't enough, however, because Israelson was on the green in two and lagged his first putt close. He was left with a mere tap-in for his birdie -- and his first lead of the match.
"It's exciting after you win," the victor said afterward. "but being down is not fun."
Israelson is the first player to take medalist honors and win the tournament as well since Jon Trasamar did it in 2013. Before that, Tom Hoge completed a medal-match sweep in 2009. Hoge is now on the PGA Tour.
Besides Israelson, the big winner for the week would appear to be the North Dakota State golf team that both Pine to Palm finalists will be playing for during the 2019-20 college season.
Israelson first encountered Adams when they played each other at Alexandria Golf Club in a match during the 2018 Resorters, the second of the three match-play tournaments that make up Minnesota's Resort Circuit. (Birchmont, which is played at Bemidji Town & Country Club, is the first, and the Pine to Palm is the third.) Adams won -- that match also went 19 holes -- and impressed Israelson so much that he called Bison head coach Steve Kennedy. That was when the recruiting process began.
"I'm excited for him to be our teammate," Israelson said. "He's got a great game. It's going to be nice having a deep squad."
The Pine to Palm
at Detroit Country Club
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
Israelson (1) def. Christianson 3&2
Adams (10) def. Skarperud (30) 4&3
Israelson (1) def. Adams (10) 19 holes