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Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sixth Annual Retz Open Results
The Sixth Annual Retz Open Golf Tournament was held on Sunday at the Pebble Lake Golf Club in Fergus Falls.  The weather was ideal for the event which is a fundraiser for the Spartan Mens' Basketball Team.
 
First place in the Gross Division with a score of 60, went to Aaron Sletten, Gary Sletten, Derek Nelson and Bryan Hagen.
 
First place in the Net Division went to the team of Kris Svingen, John Svingen, Craig Olson and Jason Retzlaff with a score of 48.6.
 
Contest winners were Isaac Erickson (Closest to the Pin #2), Chris Fernholz (Longest Drive - Men), Karen Michelson (Longest Drive - Women) and John Svingen (Longest Putt).
 
This is such a great event and Rick Odden and his crew had the course in outstanding condition!!  Jeff Bass and Brenda and Randy at Putter's do such a tremendous job hosting tournaments at Pebble Lake.
 
As for the winning team in the Net Division, Jason Retzlaff made a phenomenal Eagle chip from the rough behind the third green which was a key part of our round.  That shot, along with the red hot putter carried by John Svingen and the consistent ball striking of Kris Svingen, allowed us to put up a pretty impressive score for a team that included a hacker like me!!!  It was my first time playing a round of golf this year and it was a lot of fun!
 
A highlight every year is the introduction of the Spartan Mens' Basketball team.  Jason has a promising crew of freshmen recruits set to join the returning sophomores, Wiley Jiles, Ray Gardner, Jerome Vaughn, Chris Harig, Jordan Johnsrud, Sam Neumann and Pete Rikhus.
 
I'm not sure of the total number of former Spartan basketball players who played, but those I saw or had an opportunity to visit with include the aforementioned Derek Nelson, Bryan Hagen, Jason Retzlaff and Chris Fernholz, along with Aaron Grove, Nate Grove, Steve Fernholz, Clay Moser and his wife Angie (Missling), a former Lady Spartan, Peter Kruize, Marc Helmrichs and Ryan Retzlaff.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, August 30, 2009
4th Annual Perham Cross Country Labor Day 5K
The Fourth Annual Perham Cross Country Labor Day 5k is scheduled for Monday, September 7 with registration beginning at seven o'clock.  The race will start at 8:00am at Perham's Arvig Park.
 
 
The cross country race will be run on the same course as the Perham High School cross coutnry teams and the road race will be done on the bike path.  There will be awards for each age group winner and top three overall finishers.  The age groups will be 13 and under, 14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and over.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Golf Fundraisers
Pebble Lake Golf Club has been busy hosting several Golf Fundraisers in recent weeks and more are scheduled before the end of the season.  This past weekend saw two such events played out with the 2009 Chamber of Commerce Scramble on Friday and the 2009 Otter Football Scramble on Sunday.
 
On Friday, The Midweek team of Rick Anderson, Jon Anderson, Chris Anderson and Jeff Mauch took first place in the Chamber of Commerce event with a score of 54, one stroke ahead of the Raymond James and Friends team of Scott Lee, Bryon Trochman, Chad Stark and Chris Meier.  Security State Bank's group of Scott DeBrito, Cory Thompson, Eric Ewan and Brad Christenson finished third with a score of 56.
 
Hole Contest winners included Ben Nelson (Closest to the Pin #2), Josh Heggem (Longest Drive-Men #3), Jeani Trosvig (Longest Putt Holed-Women #5), Perry Reinertson (Longest Putt Holed-Men #7), Brad Christenson (Closest to the Pin #8), Karen Jyrkas (Longest Drive-Women #9), Derek Drouillard (Closest to the Pin #11), Dan Lafrinier (Closest to the Pin in 2 Strokes #12), Mick Morrisette (Longest Putt Holed #13), Brad Bushinger (Closest to the Sign #16) and Todd Johnson (Closest to the Pin in 2 Strokes #18).
 
On Sunday, the team of Jere Hansen, Derek Hansen, Kyle Shaikoski and Trevor Gervais placed first with a 57.  Travis Johnson, Kevin Pearson, Keith Pearson and Dave Rund took second place, winning a scorecard playoff against Richard Risbrudt, Nick Risbrudt, Tim Risbrudt, Elliiot Risbrudt and Jake Risbrudt.  Both teams turned in scores of 58.
 
Hole Contest results showed Jake Risbrudt with the Longest Drive on hole number five, Nick Risbrudt with the shot Closest to the Pin on number eight and Kyle Shaikoski with the Longest Putt Holed on number eighteen.
 
Future tournaments include the Sixth Annual Retz Open, a Fundraiser for Spartan Mens' Basketball on Sunday, August 30 at 12:00 noon.  The entry fee for the 18-hole shotgun scramble is $80.00 per player, which includes golf, on course events, dinner at Putters, many door prizes and an opportunity to meet members of the 2009-2010 Spartans.  Enter by contacting Dave Retzlaff at [email protected] or Jason Retzlaff at [email protected].
 
On Saturday, September 12, the Tenth Annual Lee Franklin Maroon and Gold Golf Tournament will be played at Pebble Lake Golf Club.  The shotgun start is set for 9:30am.  Proceeds go to support the Lee Franklin Memorial Scholarship Program and the Fergus Falls High School Hockey team.  Contact members of the Marron and Gold Hockey Boosters for more information.  No other details have been provided at this time.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, August 20, 2009
A True Packer Fan Weighs in on Favre to the Vikings
Earlier this week I asked for people to submit their comments on the Brett Favre to the Vikings situation.  Well, true Packer fan Adam Erickson, who takes lots of grief from his friends and fellow Fantasy Football owners about his misplaced football allegiance, has responded.  There is no evidence that Adam was dropped on his head as a child, which would provide an excuse for this allegiance.  Just kidding, Adam.  Here is his view on what has transpired this week at Vikings camp.
 
For the past 5 months or so, I have simply said “no comment” when people would ask me about my favorite player, Brett Favre. In the back of my mind I was 99% sure he was going to play for the Minnesota Vikings, but I was not going to say anything before that other 1% came. Now that it has arrived, even more people, people I don’t even know (I even received a few text messages from numbers I did not know), the same questions are what I will now answer.

I am still a Packers fan. I am not changing over to a Vikings fan. One player, even though he is my favorite player, is not going to make me switch the loyalties of who I cheer for. A team is bigger than a player, even if that player is Brett Favre. Will it be weird cheering against him twice this upcoming season when the Packers and Vikings play? Absolutely. However, just because Favre changed teams, does not mean I have to change teams too.
        
I wish Brett Favre, the person and the player, nothing but the best. Lots of people want to see him fail, NFL fans and especially Packers fans. I do not. After all Brett Favre did for the Packers, I cannot see why the fans would stay angry with him. Do not forget, it was the Packers front office that got rid of Favre. They could have kept him last year but chose to go a different direction. So if you want to be angry with Favre ending up in Minnesota, be angry with the Packers front office; not Brett. Minnesota, and their front office and organization, is giving him a chance to play. Green Bay is not.

To all the Packers fans reading this – I know it hurts a little right now, and my opinion may differ from other Packer fans, but when all is said and done, would you really trade the 16 seasons he had in Green Bay for anything? Those were the most exciting years of my life! This is the player, the person, who made the National Football League realize that there is a small town in the middle of Wisconsin with a professional football team.

To all the Viking fans reading this – Congratulations. I know there are some of you who are not happy with this move by the Vikings, but trust me, it will be worth it. You already have the most exciting player in the NFL with Adrian Peterson. Now you have just added the most exciting quarterback in NFL history. I do not care if he is 39 or 59; watching Favre’s reaction to big plays or touchdowns will put a smile on your face. I got the privilege of watching this guy on my side for 16 years. You get one, maybe two years. Bottom line: enjoy this season. It just may be the most exciting season you will ever see from the guys in purple.

-Adam Erickson
 
Well said, Adam.  I can identify totally with your statements as I was as big a Rod Carew fan when he was playing as you are a Favre fan.  When he was traded by the Twins to the Angels, I still cheered for Carew, but remained a die hard Twins fan.  It is difficult to watch your favorite player put on a foreign uniform.  I only hope that time will soften the hard feelings that now exist between the Packers, their fans and Favre.  When he goes into the NFL Hall of Fame, it will be as a Packer, and I believe when that time comes the fans will be their en masse with appreciation, love and support for the guy who led them through some very good times.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Brett Favre
Okay, so it's official now.  Brett Favre has come out of retirement and is a member of the Minnesota Vikings.  Purple and White #4 jerseys will be the top selling sports item between now and Christmas, however, will Favre be the player to put the Vikings over the top in the NFC?  I'd like your opinion.  Send me an e-mail with your thoughts on the Favre signing and I will post them in this column.  Send them to  [email protected].
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
FF Boys Soccer Jamboree
The Fergus Falls Boys' Soccer team will be hosting a jamboree on Saturday, August 22 at the DeLagoon Soccer Complex. 
 
This event is in its second year and has gotten bigger with the addition of Alexandria to the teams that participated a year ago.  Crookston, East Grand Forks, Little Falls, Hillcrest-Pelican Rapids and the Otters were the teams involved a year ago and each of them returns for year number two.
 
Each team will play four, twenty-minute half games.  They begin at 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am and 12:00pm.  Three games will be going on simultaneously at the DeLagoon Soccer Complex.  At the end of the fourth game, the shootout tournament will begin with each team competing in three shootouts.
 
This event is free to the public and all soccer fans are encouraged to attend.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
FF Middle School Sports Registration
Registration for Fergus Falls Middle School Fall Sports will be held on Thursday, August 20 beginning at five o'clock at the Fergus Falls High School Cafeteria. 
 
Registration will be taken for 7th and 8th grade volleyball, 7th and 8th grade girls tennis, 7th and 8th grade girls swimming and 7th and 8th grade boys and girls cross country.  All seventh-graders need to have a physical examination completed before participating in their chosen sport.  Forms are available at the Fergus Falls clinic.
 
Opening day of practice for Middle School Sports is Tuesday, August 25.  Middle School students pay a $100.00 User Fee for each activity that they participate in and if a Middle School student participates at the Senior High level they need to pay the $210.00 User Fee for each athletic activity.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Game of the Ages
Pelican Rapids and area basketball fans are gearing up for the Game of the Ages which will be played in the Pelican Rapids High School gymnasium at four o'clock Saturday afternoon. 
 
The game, featuring the 1984 State Basketball champions and the 2009 State Basketball champions is a fund raiser for the Pelican Rapids School Fund.  Doors will open at two o'clock for the Silent Auction and a Player Meet-and-Greet opportunity. 
 
For more information and a list of Silent Auction items and donors you can visit www.gameoftheages.com
 
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, August 17, 2009
Outside the Ropes at the PGA - Sunday, August 16

Sunday, August 16 - I traveled back down to Chaska and the Hazeltine National Golf Course for the final day of the PGA tournament.  I was able to take sophomores Ben Ronning and Zach Rengel with me, they had never been to a professional golf tournament.  They enjoyed the opportunity to see Tiger Woods from 3 feet away and watch the many amazing shots these professionals hit.  We also crossed paths with son Marc Newell who went with Jason Retzlaff, Aaron Grove and John Svingen to follow Tiger around the course all day.  Marc was spotted on TV on hole #4.

  

Ben, Zach and I got to the course before noon and stayed around the practice putting green and first tee box, where you could see the top players go by from three feet.  Ernie Els and Paddraig Harrington came by and were very nice to slap hands with a few of the young kids standing by the ropes.  As usual, Tiger had a huge following wherever he went, and the first tee box area was jam packed with people when he finally teed off at 1:45pm.  We watched Tiger par the first hole then moved forward to hole number 6 and watched a number of players come into the green up through the final group with Tiger.  Many players, including Ernie Els, Lucas Glover and Henrik Stenson, all misread the break slightly and missed crucial putts.  Tiger led playing partner Y.E. Yang by two at the start of the day, but Yang birdied #3 and Tiger bogeyed #4 to draw even, but then Yang bogeyed #5 and Tiger was up one again coming into 6.  Tiger got up and down for par, Yang missed a 6 footer for birdie, another break misread, and settled for par. 

  

Hole #8 proved to be a pivotal hole.  It's a 176 yard par three with water coming right up to the edge of the green, and the green also slopes towards the water, so pinpoint accuracy is a must.  Paddraig Harrington, trailing by one shot at the time, shot himself out of the tournament by landing his first shot in the water, taking a penalty, then hooking his next shot into deep rough.  From their, his chip went into the water for another penalty again.  He took a "snowman" (8 strokes), dropping from minus 6 to minus 1 in one hole.  He was never a factor after that.  Tiger Woods dropped a stroke at 8 also, falling back into a tie with Yang.  Woods overshot the green into a back bunker.  His bunker shot rolled past the pin, and with the green sloping away, didn't stop until it hit the fringe on the other side 12 feet away.  He couldn't make the putt coming back and took bogey. 

  

We moved forward to #12, where you can see #12 green, #13 tee and green, #14 green, and #15 tee, and watched the players come through again.  Tiger missed an 8 foot birdie try on #13, and he and Yang came to hole number #14 still tied. Hole #14 was where Marc and I worked earlier in the week, so I was interested to see what Yang and Woods would do on this hole, especially since they moved the tees up again to make it less than 300 yards.  It proved to be the pivotal hole of the tournament, which was exciting to watch.  Yang drove to the fringe in front of the green, about 25 feet from the pin.  Woods drove into the right bunker surrounding the green.  Woods hit out to about 11 feet from the pin.  Then Yang hit his pitch shot from the fringe and it keep rolling and dropped in the cup, for an eagle 2.  Woods had to make a difficult 11 foot turning putt just to get up to one behind, and he did, keeping the suspense alive.  I told Ben and Zach that I thought Yang's shot would prove to win the tournament, and as it turned out, Tiger never recovered from that.

On Hole #15, a 633 yard par 5, Tiger out-drove Yang by 30 yards.  Yang had 310 yards left to the green and came up 30 yards short.  Tiger was at 280 yards out, a distance he has hit his 3-wood many times.  However, he appeared to miss-hit his shot as his hand came off the club right away and it fell 10 feet behind Yang's ball, 40 yards away.  They both parred the hole.  Both also parred 16, then on 17, Tiger drove over the green on the 182 yard par three and his pitch back was 12 feet past the hole.  He missed the putt and had another bogey.  Yang hit the green on this first shot, but showed nerves on his next putt, coming up 7 feet short, and he missed his next try to bogey also.  That left Tiger still one back coming to 18.

  

On 18, Yang hit his tee shot to the very left side of the fairway and had a large tree to shoot over from 208 yards out.  Woods was 190 yards out with a clear shot.  Yang shot first and sealed his victory by hitting a 5-wood stiff to about 7 feet from the hole.  Woods hit an iron over the green again, and it was evident he wasn't going to catch Yang.  As it was, Yang made the 7 footer for birdie and sealed the PGA Championship.

  

It has been a very exciting week and very interesting seeing the players both from inside and outside the ropes.  We only see these players in Minnesota once or twice a decade so it was great to have this opportunity.  It was exciting to work on hole #14 as a marshal and to see that hole as being a pivotal hole in deciding the championship, just as we had speculated earlier in the week.  I hope I get this opportunity again!

 

Final report from Hazeltine National Golf Course

Norm Newell

Posted By Norm Newell
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Outside the Ropes at the PGA - Friday, August 14
Friday, August 14, 2009 - Since Marc and I were done with our marshaling duties, we could finally sleep in a little longer, after leaving at 5:45am for the last three days to work our shift.  We didn't have to work today, but our volunteer badges are good for admission throughout the tourney, so we went to Hazeltine later and brought grandson Parker.  We met my son Eric and his daughters Katie and Mia there also.  It was another steamy day, it's been at or above 90 degrees since Tuesday afternoon and today was no exception.  The exception today was the addition of wind.  We were glad not to be working today so we could find shade when we needed it.
 
Of course, we had to see Tiger Woods tee off on hole #1 at 1:45pm, along with about 5,000 other people.  Even 4 year old Parker is already a fan of Tiger Woods.  Hole #1 has been playing very tough the first two days, as it is a 490 yard par four, and today it was playing directly into a 15 mile an hour wind.  Tiger missed the fairway, then missed the green and couldn't get up and down, recording his first bogey of the tournament on his first hole of the day.  We chose to skip forward to holes 6 and 7, both playing with the wind today, and it was a great choice as we saw Tiger birdie them both.  On the shorter 405 yard par-4 6th hole, he drove right down the middle and had only about 120 yards left.  He dropped his approach shot to about 7 feet away.  Playing partner Paddraig Harrington was right behind Tiger about 10 feet away and missed his birdie putt.  Tiger got the line from Harrington's miss, and drilled his birdie putt dead center.  Right after that another big roar from the crowd came up, as Minnesota native Tom Lehman chipped in for an eagle on nearby hole #7, a par 5.  Tiger then hit a wind-aided bomb of a drive on 7, a 572 yard hole, and with the added down-hill roll, he had about 190 yards to the cup.  He played it out to the right as there is water left with the green sloping that way, and came up a couple of feet short on a 25 foot eagle try. He tapped in for his birdie which at the time put him at 6 under par.  
  
All through the practice rounds when Marc and I were working on hole #14, we got a lot of questions about whether they would move up the tees on this already short par 4 (352 yards from the back tees), so the players could go for the green with a driver.  Well, today was the day.  The tees were moved to the front, and the pin was placed up front on the green, and not tucked behind a bunker as it was on Thursday.  The result was a very accessible 299 yard par four hole.  Tiger Woods took advantage.  Using a 3-wood, he drove his ball past the pin to the back of the green (getting a fist-bump from his caddie Stevie), and missed an eagle put by a hair, easily tapping in for a birdie.  On the 642 yard par-5 15th hole, playing again downwind, Tiger hit driver, then 3-wood through the green to the back fringe.  (I guess they'll have to make par 5's 700 yards to keep Tiger from getting there in 2).  He chipped up close and again had an easy tap in birdie.  He then drained a long 20-foot putt on #16 (Hazeltine's difficult "signature hole" with the green protruding into Lake Hazeltine) for three straight birdies and a commanding lead.  After dropping a bogey on his last hole #18, Tiger still finished the day 4 strokes in the lead.  It looks like he'll be paired with Vijay Singh on Saturday.  Phil Mickelson struggled again, but apparently just made the cut line at 4 over. 
  
Everywhere we followed Tiger Woods, there were 20 or more rows of people lining the entire hole and the greens, and this is only Friday!  He is by far the number one draw.  Speculation is the Minnesota crowds will be some of the largest ever for the PGA championship. 
  
It was a warm and sticky day, but everyone seemed to enjoy it, especially since their favorite Tiger was doing well.  I know #1 Tiger fan Jason Retzlaff has to be happy!  I had a fun family day with my sons and our grandkids and they enjoyed it also.  Tomorrow I won't be able to attend, but currently plan on coming back to the Cities for the Sunday final, especially since it looks like Tiger Woods may be in the final group again.
 
Reporting from Hazeltine National Golf Course
Norm Newell 
Posted By Norm Newell
Friday, August 14, 2009
Spartan Alumni Baseball Game Scheduled
Spartan Baseball co-head coaches Kellen Shebeck and Jarrod Asmus have announced an alumni baseball game which will be played on Saturday, September 19, 2009 at M State in Fergus Falls.
 
In an e-mail sent to former players the coaches stated, "As you all know, baseball is one of those sports that are under funded.  As part of our process of fundraising money for a spring trip, equipment and other baseball related items we need to continue to have a top notch program, we are scheduling an alumni game this fall."
 
The game will be a 9-inning contest with alumni players taking on the current Spartan roster.  M State batting practice will begin at 11:00am, alumni batting practice will take place at 11:45am, pre-game infield and outfield for both teams will lead up to the 1:00pm start time.  There will be a small meal provided for everyone involved after the conclusion of the game.
 
The price for alumni to participate is thirty dollars each.  This will include game participation, meal and  a Spartan Baseball t-shirt. 
 
Any former players who would like to participate should call the Spartan Baseball office at 218-736-1619 or 218-736-1631 or e-mail coach Shebeck at [email protected] or coach Asmus at [email protected].
 
No admission will be charged for fans and some concessions will be available.  Fans will also be able to aid in the fundraising effort by purchasing Spartan hats and/or shirts.
Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, August 14, 2009
Inside the Ropes at Hazeltine - Thursday, August 13

Thursday, August 13, 2009 - Today the tournament starts, first tee time is 7:15am.  Because of the large field of players, they tee off from both hole #1 and hole #10, so we expected groups to come through hole #14 around 7:45 or so. 

 

Marc and I expect a big day today, since we have the morning shift again, and several big-name groups come through hole #14 in the morning, including the biggest name group of Tiger Woods, Paddraig Harrington and Rich Beem, all former PGA champions.  True to form, there was an enormous crowd following Tiger Woods and that group.  The fans were straining at the ropes all along the 352 yard hole, on both sides.  Marc was working just off the back of the green when Tiger Woods came through and was a few feet from his second shot.  Tiger just missed a putt for birdie.  Rory McIlroy spun a shot from 130 yards to within two feet and tapped in a birdie.  The tee was back, so every one laid up in a safe landing area, no one went for the green off the tee.  I was working at the tee box when Zach Johnson, Fred Couples, Lee Westwood, Boo Weekley and Mike Weir all teed off.  They all landed safely in the fairway.  Sergio Garcia, Tom Lehman, Kenny Perry, Henrik Stenson, Rory Sabatini, Stuart Appleby, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas and Hunter Mahan all came through hole 14 when Marc and I were working.  Marc worked near the green much of the shift and noted a number of players slightly misreading the break on their putts, with fewer birdies than were expected on this hole.  The players were all much more serious than the practice rounds and there was no friendly banter with the marshals or fans as there was earlier in the week.  They were all business out there.
  

Due to another comittment, I was unable to stay at Hazeltine after my morning shift was over, but I did see the recap that Tiger Woods was leading at the end of the first day at 5 under par, with playing partner for the day Paddraig Harrington one shot behind at 4 under.  Several players, especially in the morning tee time groups, were under par due to the soft conditions of the greens from the early morning dew.  The biggest surprise was that a number of players birdied the 642 yard and 633 yard par 5's, which were the longest ever in a PGA tournament.  Many felt they were too long to yield many birdies, but they did today.  Tiger Woods birdied 3 of the par five holes today.  Hazeltine has the distinction of having the longest course set-up yet for any PGA tournament.  It will be interesting to see what the next three days will bring!
   

Marc and I are finished with our marshalling duties.  We really enjoyed the experience of being inside the ropes and getting close to the players and other workers who volunteer their time to make the tournaments the best they can be.  We saw up close and personally just how good these professional golfers are.  We now plan to spend a couple of days "outside the ropes" with the other spectators.

Reporting from Hazeltine National Golf Course
Norm Newell

Posted By Norm Newell
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Inside the Ropes at Hazeltine - Wednesday, August 12

Wednesday, August 12 - The big news was that Tiger Woods wasn't going to go around the course today, although he did work on the practice range and putting green.  We watched a number of big name players on the practice range, including: Davis Love, Charles Howell, Chad Campbell, Stuart Appleby, Mike Weir, and John Daly.  Daly was almost unrecognizable because he has lost a lot of weight.  He has a contract with a company called Loud Mouth Pants, and he was wearing pants with large multi-colored polka dots.  You could see him from a long ways away!
   

Working on the practice range was Jim Arnold, the assistant basketball coach at Gustavus Adolphus College when Marc and my other son David played there.  He works at Hazeltine golf course and was running the practice range, mingling with all the golf stars.  He said it was going to be a very busy day on the range, as many players who have already done practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday would just work on the range for 2 to 3 hours on Wednesdays.
   

Marc and I deployed to hole #14 again.  Brent Snedeker came through early and gave Marc a golf ball.  Marc's old high school basketball and tennis friend, Trevor Marohl, stopped by to say hi.  Trevor is now the assistant girls basketball and assistant boys tennis coach at St. Cloud.  Coming through a little later was Northern Ireland phenom Rory McIlroy, only 20 years old.  As a teenager, he has the record for the lowest score on Ireland's Royal Portrush golf course, where the British Open has been played.  Numerous other big name players came through hole 14 today, including Justin Rose, Paddraig Harrington (last year's PGA champion), John Daly, Angel Cabrera (this year's Master's champion), Davis Love, Corey Pavin, Charles Howell, Zack Johnson, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry and Stuart Cink (this year's British Open champion). With the wind behind them, several players practiced drivers from the front tee position, with Cabrera and Zach Johnson making the green from 310 yards away.
   

When our marshall duties were done, I was joined by Ann Newell, Jim and Nancy Salentine, and Josh Mohagen, the Otter girls basketball and boys tennis coach.  We caught up with Phil Mickelson and his famous swing coach Butch Harmon.  Phil was playing with Fred Couples, and they were bombing some big drives.  We saw Pebble Lake grounds chief Rick Odden was there also with his wife Becky.  (He was probably giving Hazeltine some tips on how to keep the greens in good shape like they are at
Pebble Lake).  Aaron Grove and Jason Retzlaff also joined Marc in following a number of players around the course.
   

After a nice lunch at the Wanamaker Club and a trip through the PGA merchandise center, we finished the day at the practice range and putting green, watching players
like: Camilo Villegas, Kenny Perry, Stuart Cink, Paddraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, Jerry Kelly, Retief Goosen, and David Toms.
   

Marc and I work Thursday, when the tournament starts, and we know the players will be serious then and counting on us to do a good job.  We'll be ready!

Posted By Norm Newell
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Danzeisen and Kangas Offering New Coaching Tool
Former Spartan football coach Lloyd Danzeisen and long time Perham football coach Howie Kangas have joined forces and are now offering a new coaching tool called the Ultimate Scrimmage System.
 
The Ultimate Scrimmage System is designed to help coaches teach athletes assignment perfection on both sides of the ball.  It allows coches to bridge the gap between the playbook and the full-go scrimmage.  A video presentation explains the system in detail at www.ultimatescrimmagesystem.com.
 
Danzeisen has 36 years of coaching experience, including 24 years as a head coach.  He led the Spartans to one state championship and his team was state runner-up four times.  He has spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator for Perham High School, has conducted team offensive camps, passing game and offensive line camps, been a clinic speaker and a camp clinician.
 
Kangas has 25 years of coaching experience, 18 of them as head coach in Perham where his teams have participated in three state tournaments.  Howie has been named Section Coach of the Year and has been a speaker at several football clinics.
 
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Inside the Ropes at Hazeltine - Tuesday, August 11

Tuesday, August 11 - Marc and I got there early, 7:00am.  Tiger Woods was on hole #3 already, he definitely likes to start early for his practice rounds.  We watched him for a couple of holes, then deployed to our hole #14 for our marshal duties.

U.S. Open champ Lucas Glover came through early, hardly any one around to recognize him.  Paul Azinger, the Ryder Cup winning captain came through with Hunter Mahan, who played on the Ryder Cup team, and John Rollins, who won the Reno/Lake Tahoe tournament last week.  Azinger made 5 straight practice puts from 10 feet, he still has the putting stroke.  At 9:45 AM, Tiger Woods played the hole and the entire hole was lined on both sides with fans.  Tiger said the number of fans was "phenomenal" for a practice round. 
 
Later, Kevin Sutherland hit a tee shot into the deep rough where I was ball spotting.  While waiting for him to come, I talked to a couple of teenagers eyeing the ball and asked whether they would like to hit that shot, as he had 4 inch rough and a tree in the way.  They said it would be fun to try.  When Sutherland got to the ball, I mentioned in jest this one teenager would like a crack at that shot.  Sutherland just smiled and called his caddie over and asked the kid what club he would like to use.  When the boy decided he really didn't want to hit the shot, Sutherland said, "that's o.k., I'm not too excited about this shot either!"  Saw groups with Kenny Perry, Stuart Appleby, Anthony Kim, Angel Cabrera, Camilo Villegas and 2002 Hazeltine PGA champ Rich Beem go through. 
 
Was a fun day, nice to see the players having a little banter with the fans occasionally and signing a number of autographs between the green and the next tee
box.

Posted By Norm Newell
Monday, August 10, 2009
Inside the Ropes at Hazeltine
Fergus Falls resident Norm Newell, who is an assistant basketball and tennis coach at FFHS, and his son Marc Newell, a former Otter standout basketball player, are both huge golf fans who enjoy playing and watching the sport.  This week at Hazeltine, they are serving as officials at the PGA Championship.  Norm will be filing updates from the tournament in this space throughout the week.
 
Monday, August 10th - The first practice round.  Tiger Woods was out early today like he usually is, even though he flew in late last night after winning the Bridgestone tournament.  I arrived at the course around noon, where Tiger had just finished his round and was going to the practice area, walking right in front of me.  He was followed a minute later by Fergus Falls golfers Nick Risbrudt, Taylor Shuck and Taylor Gray who got up early to follow Tiger around. 
 
I got to my Hole 14 work station and hour early and sat in the stands behind the hole in the stands for a while.  I saw golfer Peter Hansen, practicing from the 4 to 5 inch rough behind the green, make 3 straight chip-ins...exclaiming after the 3rd one..."man, I should have saved that one for Sunday!"  Saw a number of players from inside the ropes; Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Jerry Kelly, Henrik Stenson (speaking Swedish to his caddie).  Last year's winner, Padraig Harrington was the last player to go through our hole today (6:30pm) and he took numerous practice shots around the hole. 
 
Hole 14 is a 352 yard par four and several players practiced hitting drivers off the front tee location to see if they could drive the green, as the speculation is the PGA will have the tees up front one of the rounds to excite the crowd with many players going for the green off the tee.  During the four hours I was at the hole today, several players came up 10 yards short, no one made the green.  14 should be one of the more accessible and exciting scoring holes for the tournament.  The Golf Channel has said that Hole 14 and Hole 16 should be the two most exciting holes for the tournament.  Tuesday, Marc and I have the morning session, and Tiger Woods is scheduled to go through while we are there...we'll need to be ready for crowd control!

Reporting from Hazeltine National Golf Club.
Norm Newell
Posted By Norm Newell
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Soccer Camp and FFHS Athletic Roundup
Fergus Falls Otter soccer coaches Lowell Carpenter and Karoline Brause will be sponsoring a soccer skills camp for kids entering grades three through eight this fall.  The camp will run from Monday, August 10 through Friday, August 14.
 
"We want the kids in the program to improve their skills and have a lot of fun doing it," said Carpenter.  "We'll have varsity players assisting with the camp and all kids should bring a ball."
 
Grades 3-5 will meet from 11:00am to 12:30pm and grades 6-8 will meet from 9:00am to 11:00am.  The camp will be held at DeLagoon Soccer Complex and the cost is $35 per camper.  The cost includes a t-shirt.
 
Register on the City of Fergus Falls Park and Recreation website at www.ci.fergus-falls.mn.us.   Call Coach Carpenter with questions at 218-280-5283.
 
Fergus Falls Activities Director Gary Shuler informs us that the Fergus Falls High School Athletic Roundup will be held on Tuesday, August 11 at 6:30pm in the Fergus Falls High School gymnasium.  The roundup is for all student athletes and parents who will be involved in any sport during the school year.  The fall sports will meet separately after the entire group is addressed.
 
All fall sports begin on Monday, August 17.  Forms are available in the front foyer of the high school and in the weight room. 
 
If there are questions or concerns, call Sue Thorsen at 998-0544, extension 2619, or Gary Shuler at 998-0544, extension 2504.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Post 30 Wrap-up
Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 baseball coach Chris Winter shared his thoughts on the just completed season in a season wrap-up submitted to www.craigolsonsports.com on Sunday. 
 
First off I want to thank all the players for making this a memorable season, for me and hopefully it was for each of them.  I want to thank the parents that helped out this season at the games, transporting players to and from a couple away games and also for the help they provided at the District and State Tournament.    I want to thank everyone at the Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 for their support the last two years and for giving me the opportunity to coach this great group of players.  I especially want to thank Mary Morris at the Legion for her help the last 2 years also as her help has saved me a lot of trips of to Fergus Falls.

As far as how the season went, I really couldn't ask for anything more from our players.  We finished the regular season 10-9 and kind of struggled down the last stretch of the regular season, but we still locked up that number one seed in the South half of District 9 with an 8-4 record in the District.  At Districts we didn't do anything the easy way, really.  Got that first win against Crookston, but we were down 1-0 after the 1st inning in that game.  Then we lost a tight game to Moorhead really because of a couple costly errors.  After that loss I told the guys we just need to take each game one step at a time and I preached that each game through.  If we didn't win the next game, there wasn't going to be another one.   After that loss we went up against Perham and promptly dug ourselves a 7-0 hole, but the pitching found its groove and our bats did what they do so well and we came back to get the 17-7 win.  After two more come from behind wins against East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls we set up a rematch with Moorhead and for the first time all tourney we took an early lead and ran with it winning 19-9 and forcing the final match up of the season with MoorheadMoorhead threw their ace and we threw ours and we came out with the win 5-3, sending Fergus Falls to the State playoffs as District 9 champs for the first time since 1998 and for only the 9th time ever.

I told the guys before we headed to state we needed to step up our play to the next level because this was the best 16 teams in state now.  We came out firing against St. Paul Park in the opening game scoring five runs in the first two innings before St. Paul Park shut our bats down for the final seven innings, but with Jake Heck on the mound that was all we needed as he only allowed one run the entire game and we headed for the winners bracket for a matchup against a hot hitting Wayzata team that was coached by former major leaguer Terry Steinbach.   Spencer Kidder started on the mound and kind of
struggled with control early on that led to a 5-0 lead for Wayzata after two innings. Spencer then settled down pitching 3 more good innings only allowing two more runs, but it was just too much for us to overcome as we fell 8-1.  I should note that as I write this, Wayzata is one of 3 teams left playing.  As they are in a loser out game against Rochester.  The winner plays Apple Valley, but both teams will go to Regional playoffs.

After that loss we were bound for the loser side of the bracket with quite a battle ahead of us.  In the first game for us Friday we matched up against BuffaloDarin Stanislawski started on the mound for us and pitched six good innings, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning.  Darin's ability to keep Buffalo's bats down gave our bats the time they needed to heat up and we pulled away late with a 13-8 win.  That win sent us to a 7:30pm matchup against a Hamline Purple (Cretin-Durham Hall) team that definitely came ready to hit.  Before we had one out in the third inning, they had hit nine doubles and one triple off of our pitching.  After making a pitching change, we held Hamline to 4 runs, but the damage had been done.  Being down 11-1 going into the bottom of the third was just too much for even our bats to make up.  After an overnight rain delay after the fifth inning we managed to get the game to 12-10, but Hamline managed to get a couple insurance runs and held on for the 15-11 win ending the ride that this season had been for Fergus Falls.

I told the guys after the loss that they should be proud of what they accomplished this year.  They were one of eight teams left playing.  It started with the sixteen best teams in state and we were in the final eight teams left.  They played hard and battled every single game to get to where they were.  They accomplished something very few Fergus Falls teams ever had in getting to State and none of those teams made their coach as proud of them as they made me.  Everyone involved with the State Tournament complimented me on how well behaved our guys were and how well the Fergus Falls players played the game.  Also how no matter the situation we were in, that we looked like we were
having fun, enjoying playing baseball.

This season had it all, tough losses where we had chances late (the first loss against Perham 10-7, bases loaded 2 outs Derek Hansen comes in to pinch-hit for Luke Wedll and strikes out to end it), (the loss to Moorhead in Districts), amazing come from behind wins (coming back against Perham after being down 7-0 in district playoffs) and of course (being down 3-0 after the first inning in the District 9 championship game and coming back to win 5-3), the ride that we took through Districts just to get to State, one of the weirdest plays I have seen (Eric Anderson getting a game winning RBI sacrifice fly on what was supposed to be an intentional walk), and great personal accomplishments (Derek Hansen 11HR's this season and hitting for the cycle in his final legion game which was a  State Tournament game).  Matt Mithaugen, Derek Hansen and Jake Heck each batting over .400 for the season.  Nolan Erickson and Spencer Kidder each hitting their first 2 Legion Home runs, both at the District Tourney.  Luke Wedll's nearly flawless play at second base all season long.  Joe Anderson, Kyle Shaikoski and Darin Stanislawski coming up with great pitching performances throughout the season and especially when we needed them down the stretch.

Finally, I wish good luck to all the seniors that have taken the field, for the Fergus Falls American Legion, for the last time, Nolan Erickson, Derek Hansen, Joe Anderson, Kyle Shaikoski, Matt Mithaugen, Jake Heck, Nick Johnson and possibly Luke Wedll if he decides not to return next season (although I hope he does).
Also I hope all the Juniors return next season as I am sure Fergus Falls Post 30 will be ready to defend their District 9 title.

 

Chris Winter

Head Coach

American Legion Post 30 Baseball Team

Posted By Craig Olson
Lake Region Healthcare
Cline Jensen P.A.
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