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Not Hazeltine, but Valley has own appeal

Richard Underdahl-Peirce, far right, holes out with a 43 at Valley Golf Tuesday Senior League, as playing partners, from left, Herb Beckman, Lowell Tornquist and Jon Horning observe. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

Valley Golf Course on the east side of Willmar may not measure up to Hazeltine National Golf Club in yardage, but it holds it own in other ways -- especially with seniors.

About 100 senior men show up every Tuesday morning from May through August for league play.

From the white tees, Valley measures 2,479. Times two, that's 4,958 yards. The pros at Hazeltine today are attacking a course that measures a record 7,674 yards.

But this Valley is just as green and as well maintained.

The parking is better, too. Still on Tuesday morning, late-arriving seniors will have to park a block away from the clubhouse.

Based on handicap, seniors play in the Red, White or Blue Division.

The course is also popular with golfers at the opposite end of the age spectrum. The Junior Club Tournament is Friday, delayed a week by rain.

The Senior Club tourney runs Sept 10-11; the Women's tourney Sept. 12 in the morning and the Men's championships Sept. 12 in the afternoon and Sept. 13.

The nine-hole course, which opened in 1976, has been owned and operated by Nick and Peggy Ebnet the past 12 seasons.

Hazeltine, north of downtown Chaska, is, of course, the place to be this week. Among the Willmar people volunteering at the PGA are Paul Magnuson, who will be working in one of the merchandise tents, and Sheila Tolbert.

She will be a "marshal" on the 17th hole. Valley Golf reports that members Marlyn and Lorna Bahl will be attending as volunteers.

Swim, bike, run

Cardinal assistant swimming coach Sarah (Reese) Jagow logged the fifth fastest time in the Olympic category of Green Lake Triathlon. She finished the ¾-mile swim in 19:03 and went on to place eighth of 20 women in the long race.

Eddie Kaiser, a Cardinal hockey player in the late 1990s, finished 10th overall in Olympic race.

Roxanne Erickson, a '98 Willmar graduate, was the fourth woman to finish the Sprint race. She didn't take up running until college and triathlons three years ago. She is part of the Willmar-based TRI4EVR team "Racing Toward a Cure 4 Cancer." The group has a web site at

David Nedrud of Granite Falls, who swam against the Cardinals during his high school pool career on the Montevideo team, posted the fastest time for the quarter-mile Sprint swim (6:32). He competes for St. Cloud State.

Race director Dave Baker is pleased with the popularity of the event. Six years ago he revived the dormant race as a way to "extend the summer" in Spicer. The weekend races attracted 629 entries, including 199 in the children's triathlons on Saturday.

Lady Warriors

Coach Joe Sussenguth has 16 players on his college volleyball roster. It's the most in four years. Macy McKay of Yellow Medicine East is a recent addition.

She joins other Tribune Area standouts -- Emily Roelike, Brianna Jacobson and Brandi Bodin -- in the freshman class.

There's no one over six-foot but the hitters have more "pop" than any team he's had.

Ridgewater volleyball has placed first or second in the national tournament four of the last five years and all three under Sussenguth.

On the fly

? Brett Aamot has joined the high school football coaching staff. He was a 1,000-yard rusher in 1977 for Bill Hansen and played two years at Willmar Community College before playing at Gustavus Adolphus. A Certified Public Accountant, Aamot was one of the founders in 1999 of the Willmar Youth Football Association. He will join Ed Oehlers and Justin Brown coaching the freshman team, which plays the same schedule as the varsity on Thursdays, then will be with the varsity on Friday.

? Orange Field, the baseball field on the North Swansson recreation area, will be a much better field next summer when the state amateur comes here. The infield edges are being resodded to remove the "lip" and the running lanes will be "resurfaced." The in-ground sprinkling system has greatly improved the grass. The field will be used for warm-ups and practice during the state tournament.

? Ridgewater College football coach Rob Baumgarn is pleased with the progress the team has made the first six days of practice. The Warriors, like the high school, will be adopting the spread offense with a shotgun set. It's the passing offense that many of the MCAC teams are now deploying.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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