It's first-come, first-serve for the five remaining spots in the ninth $200,000 Brainerd Lakes Area Par 3 Championship Sunday at Grand View Lodge's Pines Golf Course.
Thirty-seven of the 42 spots are filled in hopes the Joel Goldstrand-designed championship course is as charitable as it was last year. A total of $20,000 was awarded thanks to holes-in-one by Scott Lindgren, John Grudnowski and Paul Sandelin. The explosion of luck more than doubled the number of aces in the previous seven years of the tournament and brought the total amount won from aces to $30,000.
The other to holes-in-one were recorded by Scott Shunter in 2002 and Fred Boos in 2005.
Aces are the key as all 18 holes are par 3s in the two-person, best-ball fundraiser that benefits the Lakes Area Food Shelf and Newspapers in Education program. Each hole has at least a possible $5,000 prize for a hole-in-one. The top prizes are a car, a boat and $25,000.
More money, a total of $1,500, is awarded to the top 10 teams as well. Last year's winners were Kim Larson and Lindgren with a 4-under 50.
"Pretty much everything is the same," said Pines head golf professional Jack Wawro. "The sponsors, prize amounts for each hole are the same. Everything is pretty close to the way it was. I think the pins might be a little more difficult this year. Otherwise if it isn't broken there is no need to fix it."
The event kicks off with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and registration followed by a 2 p.m. shotgun start off the Lakes and Woods Courses.
Lindgren, Grudnowski and Sandelin are all returning and hoping lightning strikes twice. Wawro said the three were the first to sign up their teams. All three will start on the same hole they did last year. It was Lindgren's first hole that surrendered his ace, while Sandelin waited until his last swing.
The event is co-sponsored by Grand View Lodge, Brainerd Dispatch and Echo Publishing and Printing.
Other sponsors include Pepsi, Ernie's on Gull, SYSCO, Nisswa Marine, Mills Ford, Triangle Oil, Ecolab, Upper Lakes Foods, Venture North, Berry Coffee Company, Stock Yards, Water Wizards Plumbing, Walleye Dan Guide Service and Zorbaz on Gull.
More than $40,000 has been raised for the two charities.
"Everyone loves the event," said Wawro. "The thing I hear most is that they love playing the tournament in 3 1/2 hours. The pro-ams and other scramble events last from five to six hours. They're really long. Here you come in and move very quickly. You're not struggling on the long par 5s and 4s."
To snatch up one of the five remaining spots call the Pines pro shop (218) 963-0001 or 888-437-4637. Entry fee is $190 per two-person team and includes golf, cart, lunch and awards.
For those wondering, the five holes where magic has happened are the 139-yard second hole of the Woods (Shunter), the 137-yard sixth hole of the Woods (Boos), the 135-yard ninth hole of the Woods (Lindgren), the 135-yard seventh hole of the Woods (Grudnowski) and the 163-yard eighth hole of the Lakes (Sandelin).
jeremy millsop, sports writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.
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