NEW ULM - By the time Team #9 turned in its scorecard at the B&L Golf Classic on Monday at New Ulm Country Club, its total of 123 was a full seven shots better than any other score on the leaderboard.
As the team - comprised of Dale Strandmark, Gregg Paul, Dave Hansen, Kevin Loverude and Denny Warta - waited for the rest of the scores to come in, it became clear that no other team was going to pose much of a challenge to its score.
In the end Team #9 won by a full four shots to take the tournament title, which was held in the format of a choker scramble.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
The winning team of the B&L Golf Classic are from left: Kevin Loverude, Dave Hansen, Denny Warta Gregg Paul and Sale Strandmark.
"I was really surprised that we won by as much as we did," Strandmark said.
In a choker scramble, each team nominates one "choker" per hole, who plays their own ball the entire hole. The other four members of the team play the hole in a scramble format, with the team then combining the two scores to make up its total for the hole.
Strandmark mentioned that it was his team's ability to choose the right choker for every hole that made it so successful.
"It was a team effort," Strandmark said. "We chose the choker at the right time, and that's the big thing in this tournament. It's a fun tournament, and really good for the course."
The team's best hole came when Loverude earned a net score of one on a par 4, with the scramble players sinking a 30-foot putt for birdie on the same hole.
"Gregg Paul made three 30-foot putts, Kevin Loverude had a lot of great shots - it was just a total team effort," Strandmark said.
The victory earned each member of the team $120 in cash from the player's pool and $120 each in credit at the NUCC pro shop. The team also won two skins - the most by any single team - by taking the skin on Hole 11 with a six and on Hole 15 with a four.
Finishing second in the tournament with a 127 was the team of Jason Wieland, Pat Ubl, Don Olson, Carl Paa and Al Dosland. There was a four-way tie for third at 130, with the team of Dan Janke, Cliff Woodbury, John Rieger, Lee Brandt and John Fitterer finishing in third after the tiebreaker was implemented.
In total there were 19 teams competing, with the top eight teams earning prizes.
"We had about 100 players today, we can always use a little bit more, but that comes and goes every year," said B&L Bar co-owner Jeff Gulden. "We're always looking for more golfers to get interested, and once people have played our format, it's a great format... People may feel intimidated a bit at first if they're not an avid golfer, but once they get into it, because they get a handicap, that comes out to be pretty good. They can play average golf and they can be the hero of the whole team."
In addition to being sponsored by B&L owners Gulden and Rick Kamm, Jensen Motors was a main sponsor, offering up a 2012 Buick Verano for a hole-in-one on Hole 2, which didn't end up happening.
In return for providing a great venue for the tournament, 10 percent of the player's pool money will be used for course and clubhouse improvements at NUCC.
"I think today turned out wonderful," Gulden said. "It was a terrific day, the weather was good, we had great people that just enjoyed a great day of golf. We're happy to see from the old to the young play the game and everybody can get involved, because we do different prizes and different everything else. We're fortunate to have a great golf course to play on."
Complete results can be found on page 2B.