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Nate Deziel continues NDSU streak at Pine to Palm

Deziel battled fellow NDSU teammate Nate Adams both days before pulling away on the back nine Wednesday.

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Medalist Nate Deziel tees off on the second hole at Detroit Country Club in front of playing partners Nick Olsgaard, left, and defending champion Ian Simonich Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, at the 89th Pine to Palm golf tournament. Robert Williams / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — North Dakota State junior Nate Deziel continued a winning streak for Bison golfers at the Pine to Palm golf tournament, capturing medalist honors with a two-day total of 13-under par 129, one stroke off the all-time qualifying record, Wednesday, Aug. 11, at Detroit Country Club.

Deziel battled fellow NDSU teammate Nate Adams, a sophomore, both days before pulling away on the back nine Wednesday.

“It just goes to show how deep we are as a team and how good our program has been getting the last few years,” Deziel said.

Deziel had one hiccup during his round. He hit 17 greens in regulation and converted for birdie on half of the 18 holes. The one gaffe was a three-putt on the par-5, fifth green from four feet, his only bogey of the round.

“After that I realized I have to start honing in and capitalize on some good shots, and I kind of did that the rest of the round,” he said.

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Nate Adams, the 2019 Pine to Palm runner-up, finished in sole possession of second place behind medalist and NDSU teammate Nate Deziel on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. Robert Williams / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The bogey gave Adams a one-stroke lead after sinking his birdie putt.

“I’ve been playing really well and hitting my driver really well, farther and straighter than I’ve ever hit it before,” Adams said. “My putts, they’ve been going in the hole and that’s what it’s really about. You can’t score well if you don’t make putts and the ball is just going in the hole.”

Adams also knows what it takes to finish the week off and reach championship Sunday. He was the 2019 runner-up to then-teammate Andrew Israelson, a win that took a 19th hole to decide the match.

Deziel’s victory Wednesday continues a three-year run of Bison success in Detroit Lakes.

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Nate Deziel goes for some backspin on his approach at the 18th green on his way to earning medalist honors at the 89th Pine to Palm golf tournament in Detroit Lakes on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. Robert Williams / Detroit Lakes Tribune

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Israelson was both the medalist and champion in 2019. Last year, former Bison standout Lucas Johnson was the medalist and incoming NDSU freshman Ian Simonich, a Moorhead High School graduate, is this year’s defending champion.

Johnson was one of 18 golfers to break par the past two days. He is seeded 16th after a two-day score of 2-under par 140.

“We come here and we expect to do well, all of us Bison players,” Adams said. “It’s a course you can really eat up if you’re hitting it well and the last five guys who have come here played well. It’s really fun to see and it’s really exciting for our future.”

Israelson recruited Adams to Fargo and that has been part of head coach Steve Kennedy’s strategy for success with the Bison men’s program.

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Ian Simonich will begin his collegiate golf career at NDSU in a few weeks after attempting to be the first golfer to win back-to-back titles at the Pine to Palm since Bill Israelson in 1976-77. Robert Williams / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“Ever since Andrew came to NDSU it’s kind of changed things there, and coach Kennedy has done a great job with recruiting and a lot of what he does is he just asks his players,” Adams said. “Who should we bring up? The way he does that is really smart. We play with each other all summer long in tournaments. This year is going to be great and I’m just really excited.”

For Deziel, like Adams, he just kept doing what has been working all summer.

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“You always have it in the back of your mind to put up two good scores and maybe have a chance to win,” Deziel said. “I came here and wanted to play my game. I’ve been hitting it well all summer. The last few days I’ve putted really well, and trusted a lot of reads and hit my putts on line and got a few to drop. That’s definitely the difference-maker right there. My short game was good, but a lot of my putts I made today were outside of 10 feet. I think that’s really exciting for me going into match play.”

Deziel also had a proven secret weapon in caddy Maddie Herzog of Detroit Lakes, an NDSU junior standout on the women’s team. Herzog was on the bag for Israelson during his medalist and championship run two years ago.

“She keeps it definitely light and keeps me in a good mood and keeps me in it to go out there and have a good time,” Deziel said.

Deziel shot rounds of 66 and 63 on the par-71 Pine to Palm course. Tuesday’s 66 was good for a three-way tie with Adams and former Moorhead Spud and University of Arizona golfer Nick Olsgaard.

Adams (66-67-133) finished in sole possession of second place, four shots back of Deziel at 9-under par. Olsgaard shared a tie for fourth place with Minnesotans Brady Raph of Pine River and Brady Holland of Big Lake.

Rounding out the top 10 were Fargo’s Jacob Skarperud and Andrew Proctor of Chandler, Ariz., both at 4-under par. Bryant Buckellew of Scottsdale, Arizona, Koby Kuenzel of Grand Forks and Tony Vincelli of Rosemount, Minnesota all finished at 3-under.

Five Detroit Lakes golfers have secured spots in match play, led by Wyatt Blomseth’s 1-over par 143, good for a 24-seed. Tanner Lane is seeded 35th, Michael Herzog 43rd, Hunter Burnside 46th and Lukas Justesen 53rd.

Only two DL natives have won the tournament in its 89 years: Chris Braaten in 2004 and Donald Carman in 1936.

Deziel’s run at the qualifying record was one short of Will Czeh of Roseau, a former Bemidji State University golfer. Czeh shot 65-65-128 (-14) in 2018. He was a late entry to this year’s tournament getting into the field last Friday and qualifying in 41st with a round of 3-over par.

The final three spots in the championship field of 64 went to a playoff with 10 players deadlocked at 6-over par 148, vying for the last three openings.

That list includes area golfers Nathaniel Kahlbaugh of Mahnomen, Marcus Belka of Perham, last year’s runner-up Pat Deitz of Moorhead, Fargo’s Gabe Benson, Carson Skarperud and Saylor Kuenzel of Grand Forks, Alan Spriggs and Jayme French of West Fargo, Hunter Thorsen of Moorhead and Steven Randall of Lawrence, Kan.

Simonich golfed both days and with the lead group of Deziel, Adams and Olsgaard on Wednesday, playing with the defending champion’s exemption and will have the No. 1 seed when match play begins Thursday.

Live results are available at pine2palmgolf.com , or on the Golf Genius fee phone app with the sign-in GGID of P2P89.

Related Topics: GOLF
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