The original lakes area par 3 tournament is a week away and the field is filling fast.
The $200,000 Brainerd Lakes Area Par 3 Championship, sponsored by the Brainerd Dispatch, Grand View Lodge and Echo Publishing and Printing, is scheduled Aug. 19 at The Pines at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.
This is the seventh year of the tournament where every hole is a par 3 and hosts a prize of at least $5,000 for a hole-in-one.
The tournament starts with an 11:30 a.m. registration and lunch and a 2 p.m. shotgun. It will be played on the Lakes and Woods Courses of The Pines. Top prizes include two vehicles, a boat and one cash prize of $25,000. The other holes will have bounties ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.
Scott Schunter won $5,000 for his hole-in-one on the 139-yard second hole of the Woods in 2002 and Fred Boos won the same amount on his ace on the 137-yard, sixth hole of the Woods in 2005.
"We know it's a good format because it draws a lot of the better golfers from around the area who enjoy this type of test," said Dispatch publisher Terry McCollough. "But there are also a lot of recreational golfers who enjoy this tournament."
Aside from the generous hole-in-one prizes, players can win the two-person best ball team title. Unlike a scramble, each player plays their own ball until the hole is completed. The team is then awarded the lower of the two scores.
The top-10 low gross scores earn prizes. Last year's winners were Tom Kurvers and Pat O'Conner.
"It's a unique tournament," said Jack Wawro, head PGA professional at The Pines. "Not often do you get to play par 3s on every hole of a championship course. Plus, you have the opportunity to play for so much money. You're never really out of it. What's also great is that anybody can win a large cash prize. It takes just one good shot."
Another great selling point is time. Unlike the six-hour marathons that the other 109 golf tournaments the area hosts can become, this tournament lasts about three hours. No hole is longer than 200 yards and the field is limited to the first 36, two-person teams creating a quick pace of play.
"We set this tournament up to be unique and a lot of fun and it is both," said McCollough. "Plus, you can have a nice lunch, tee off at 2 p.m., socialize after and you're home for dinner."
The tournament has raised more that $24,000 in its first six years. The money is split between the Lakes Area Food Shelf and the Newspapers in Education Program.
"(Newspapers in Education) assists us in putting newspapers into classes where teachers request them," said McCollough. "The Dispatch donates 50 percent of the price of the paper. Then we raise other funds to help teachers cover the other costs.
"On an average year we place newspapers with teachers in about 60 to 70 classrooms around the area. Plus, we help a number of area schools produce their own newspapers by sending our staff to assist them. That covers elementary, middle and high schools."
Hole sponsors for the tournament include: Sysco Foods, Viking Label, US Foods, Venture North Vehicles, Northern Food King, Nisswa Marine, Pepsi, Lakes State Bank, Mills Motor, Tiziani Golf Carts, Bernicks Companies, Ernie's on Gull, Zorbaz on Gull Lake, Upper Lakes Foods and Boulevard Brewing Co.
Entry fee is $190 per team and includes golf, cart, lunch and awards. The field is limited to the first 36 teams. To sign up call The Pines pro shop at (218) 963-001 or 888-437-4637. Your credit card number is needed to reserve a place.
Deadline to register is Aug. 17.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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