Turning heads: Hanson, others surprise many with upset wins
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- Some introductions are in order. Meet Adam Hanson. He's 20-years-old, is from tiny Barrett, Minn., population 350, and will be a senior at Concordia College. Next, Derek Butts.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- Some introductions are in order.
Meet Adam Hanson. He's 20-years-old, is from tiny Barrett, Minn., population 350, and will be a senior at Concordia College.
Next, Derek Butts. The cordial lefty is 22, hails from Murray, Neb., and will be a fifth-year senior at Drake University.
Though not familiar names on the area golf junket, each was among a handful of relative unknowns who took a step out of obscurity Thursday at the Pine to Palm tournament.
Despite squandering an early lead, Hanson defeated Brandon Askew of Fargo 2 and 1, while Butts knocked off former champion Chad Skarperud 1-up during an upsetting first round of match play.
What's in a name? Not guaranteed victories, evidently.
"I don't really understand it," said a stunned Hanson. "(Askew's) a pretty good player around here and a lot of people know him. I'm just happy I played well and beat him.
"I hope it turns some heads."
Hanson was turning heads through the afternoon. Word spread quickly between galleries at Detroit Country Club that the Cobber was up early on Askew, who
competes for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
When Hanson birdied No. 7, the lead was pushed to 5-up.
The meteoric success, however, proved too much too fast as Askew patiently chipped at the margin, finally pulling even with a par on No. 15.
Turns out a little prodding was what the scrambling Hanson needed.
"I played so much defense," he said. "When you're 5-up through seven holes the match is yours to win or lose, and I was losing. Then, when that putt rolled in on 16 it was over."
Shrewdly, just minutes after conceding his thin advantage, Hanson knocked down a 3-foot birdie putt to reclaim a one-stroke lead.
He closed out the match on the par-3, No. 17 sticking his tee shot within 15 feet, while Askew's came to rest on the base of a large, meandering tree behind the green.
"On this kind of course anybody can beat anybody and that's why it's fun," said Askew, a former North Dakota high school medalist. "I just didn't play well enough to win."
The anonymous continued their unlikely run in the very next group.
After losing holes 15 and 17 and falling all square, Butts regained control in opportunistic, yet safe, fashion.
Skarperud sprayed his drive deep into the tree line to the right of the 18th fairway, prompting Butts to opt for a 3-wood off the tee.
He placed the shot beautifully in the middle of the fairway, then followed by lofting a dagger of an approach that came to rest 5 feet from the pin.
Butts -- without so much as a caddie, let alone a small group of doting followers like his opponent -- two-putted for victory.
"He never really opened the door for me and I didn't take advantage either; I didn't make any putts," said Skarperud, the 2000 champion. "The beauty of match play is anybody can do well if they make putts."
And as proceeding groups made their way to the clubhouse, the improbable became the absurd as well-known after well-known bowed out.
Drake's Kane Hanson lost, followed by seventh-seeded Aaron Anderson and No. 14 Steve Sedler.
Even defending titlist Andy Doeden squeaked out a 2 and 1 victory over Jordan Ryan.
But the bracket jilter of the day was Detroit Lakes' Lance Thompson.
The 25-year-old, who needed a playoff just to get into match play, beat No. 2 qualifier and Detroit CC grounds crew member Mike Berg 1-up on the final hole.
"In this tournament you can't take any match for granted," Thompson said. "Once you get in anyone is equal to anyone else."
In other words, nobody is anybody. At least that's Butts' approach.
"I don't know anybody," he said, "so I play one match at a time and see what happens."
Match play begins
EUpsetting: 2000 champion Chad Skarperud and UNLV golfer Brandon Askew were among the many upset victims during the first round of match play at Detroit Country Club.
EToday: Adam Hanson and Derek Butts, two of Thursday's head-turning winners, will square off today with
one of them earning a spot in the round of 16.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548