MARSHALL - Despite the pouring rain splashing around the Marshall Golf Club Saturday, golfers were eager to compete and pay tribute at the 5th annual Galen Skramstad Invitational.
Back in the 1970s, the tournament was known as the Pro-Am, but it evolved into an amateur event, which Skramstad and Lee Malen named the Great Plains Amateur. After Skramstad died in 2005, the U.S. Bancorp sponsored tournament was renamed is his honor.
"Galen's whole life was pretty much about golf," said Phil Skramstad, who is Galen's brother. "This tournament means a lot to me. But he's getting back at us. With the weather every year, it seems like he's saying, 'If I can't play, you can't play either.'"
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Jesse Larson tees off on the par-3 4th hole Saturday at the 5th annual Galen Skramstad Invitational at Marshall Golf Club.
Phil was one of the players in the championship flight to make the cut to compete for an additional nine holes. Luckily, golfers were able to play the final round without rain gear, visors and towels. Phil finished with a 124.
"I don't play competitive tournaments anymore," Phil said. "But this one I don't miss. This is the one tournament that I play. It was nice to make the top cut, though because I don't play very well anymore."
Leading the way after 18 holes of championship play was Marshall-native Tony Krogen, who just capped a spectacular golf season at St. John's University this spring, including the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors.
"I played really well at school this year," Krogen said. "It was actually a nice spring for once, especially early on and that's when we start to play. It helps that I started in college in March, so it feels a lot easier now because I've already been swinging for three months."
Krogen fired a 71 to lead the championship pack.
"I was 3-over through 11, so to finish at even was pretty good," Krogen said. "Once the weather cleared, it made it a little easier. I've played in enough of this kind of weather, though, so I'm getting used to it."
Though he's competed in the Galen Skramstad Invitational quite a few times, Krogen has yet to win the title. But after Minneota native Jesse Larson shot the lowest round of the day (34) and grabbed the championship honors, Krogen will have to try again next year.
After trailing Krogen by one stroke after 18 holes of competition, Larson stepped up his game and finished with a score of 106, one stroke ahead of Krogen. Larson was second last year to Apple Valley's Bruce Hegland, but won the 27-hole championship the previous year.
"I was very happy with my first round (72)," Larson said. "I didn't play extremely solid. I made some putts to save par and kept my round together."
Like Krogen, Larson has learned to deal with inclement weather.
"You play in it enough, it doesn't really bother you (mentally) after a while," Larson said. "It just gets annoying. Plus, with this tournament, it seems like we have weather issues every year. So you kind of know what you're getting into from the start.
"It's not too bad. Rain is rain. It's not too windy, so you can manage it with towels and umbrellas. The greens are still firm enough that they're rolling OK, too."
While Larson is used to playing in the rain, there is one thing he has not gotten used to yet - playing without the presence of his father, Paul, who died Dec. 20, 2009.
"My dad was always the first guy I called after a round," Larson said. "I'd always let him know how it would go, or he would text me or call he if hadn't heard from me yet. So it's a little bittersweet playing well in some of these events and not being able to talk to him about it. It's a raw deal, but it's life."
But Larson has been keeping very busy with the tournament season having kicked in recently. Paul Larson would have been extremely pleased to know that his son Jesse had qualified for the MGA Players tournament this year.
"I played a U.S. Open Qualifier a couple of weeks ago at Hazeltine," Larson said. "I didn't play all that well on the back side, so I didn't make that. I did qualify for the MGA Players and Mid-players, those are the match-play championships in the middle of June. It should be fun. I'll be focusing on the state events this year."
Joey Polingo, Krogen's college teammate from a year ago, took third in the championship flight with a 109.
"I don't feel like I had any pressure going into the final round," Krogen said. "I get to play with one of my college teammates and I'm on my home course. I'll just go play. It'll be fun to play golf with Joey again."
Chad Michelson shot a 114 to claim fourth-place honors, while Chas Kost took fifth with a 117. Tom Skoien and Stu Scott tied for sixth place with 118s, while Mark Malingen and Tony Yang shared eighth place (119). Tom Homan finished in tenth place (120).
In the "A" flight, which factored in a golfer's handicap, Steve Bennett took first place in gross total, finishing with a 77. Dick VanDyke was second (80), while Tim Deutz was third (81). Bruce Mitlyng was first in net scoring after carding a 70 (79 gross). Ramiro Sifuentes took second with a 71 (81 gross) and Chad Wyffels was third after shooting a 73 (84 gross).
Championship Flight (27-hole) Results: 1. Jesse Larson 106; 2. Tony Krogen 107; 3. Joey Polingo 109; 4. Chad Michelson 114; 5. Chas Kost 117; t6. Stu Scott and Tom Skoien 118; t8. Tony Yang and Mark Malingen 119; 10. Tom Homan 120; t11. Mike Zuidema, Adam Peterson and Chas Ehlers 121; Alex Wieme 122; Pat Bauer 123; Troy Deutz 123; Phil Skramstad 124; Max Deutz 124; Max Bennett 126.
Other Championship Flight (18-hole) Results: Mike Snodrass 83; Zeb Prairie 85; Greg Drown 85; Mike Skramstad 86; Blake Johnson 87; Fred Almer 89; Pat Drown 90; Mitch Noyes 92; J.J. Skramstad 94.
"A" Flight Results
Gross Top: 1. Steve Bennett 77; 2. Dick VanDyke 80; 3. Tim Deutz 81.
Net Top: 1. Bruce Mitlyng 70 (79 gross score); 2. Ramiro Sifuentes 71 (81); 3. Chad Wyffels 73 (84).
Other "A" Results: Travis Obe 84; Jon Louwagie 84; Mark Hanson 85; Gary Koosmann 85; Doug Strei 85; Todd Madden 91.
"B: Flight Results
Gross Top: 1. John Bot 83; 2. Bob Coonradt 85; 3. Carl Carlson 92.
Net Top: 1. Jerry Zeimet 67 (95 gross); 2. Tom Gruhot 69 (86); 3. Tom Pickering 75 (96).
Other "B" Results: Mike Buysse 93; Ron Labat 93; Rick Homan 95; Bill Larson 96; Dick Labat 98; Roger Evert 103.