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Pendleton wins Reidar Lund title

On the eve of the 72nd Reidar Lund Skyline Memorial Golf Tournament at Enger Park Golf Course, two-time defending champion Alex Kolquist of Hermantown shared the keys to winning Duluth's oldest golf tournament, which he learned from his father --...

Jason Pendleton
Jason Pendleton tees off during the Reider Lund Memorial Golf Tournament at Enger Park Golf Course on Sunday. Pendleton won the tournament, which was shortened because of dangerous weather. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

On the eve of the 72nd Reidar Lund Skyline Memorial Golf Tournament at Enger Park Golf Course, two-time defending champion Alex Kolquist of Hermantown shared the keys to winning Duluth’s oldest golf tournament, which he learned from his father - nine-time champion Reed Kolquist.
On the first day, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. On the second day, go out and defend your lead or try to build on it.
Alex Kolquist was unable to do either this weekend at Enger, but Superior native Jason Pendleton was and, in the process, he nearly took down Kolquist’s tournament record en route to his first Reidar Lund title.
After shooting a 5-under-par 67 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead, Pendleton extended the margin to seven by shooting a 4-under 68 on Sunday to finish with a 9-under 135 after a weather-shortened 36 holes.
“It felt kinda like I was almost in high school again playing golf with Dan Moline and mom making me sandwiches to bring in my golf bag,” said Pendleton, a 2002 Superior High School graduate who now lives and works in the La Crosse, Wis., area.
“It was a tournament I played a lot in my youth and never won it. I always seemed to finish top-5, top-6. I’ve lost it enough times. It feels good to come out and actually score well.”
Golfers were supposed to play 27 holes on Sunday, but the tournament was declared over early after a 12-year-old boy was struck by lightning on the driving range during tournament play. The boy was taken by Gold Cross Ambulance to a local hospital, where he was listed in critical condition Sunday night, according to Duluth police spokesman Ron Tinsley.
Play initially was stopped with the lead group of Pendleton, Duluth’s Moline, International Falls native Glenn Walls and Taylor Sundbom of Hermantown on the fourth green of the front nine holes. After a spectator watching the final group saw a bolt of lightning in the distance, course workers at the fourth green blew the horn to stop play, followed shortly by a second horn from the direction of the Enger Park clubhouse.
With all four golfers on the green, the final group was attempting to finish the hole, but, along with spectators, course workers and media members, were sent racing to the clubhouse after hearing a loud crack of thunder, which came shortly after the second horn.
Upon returning to the clubhouse and learning what happened on the driving range, officials decided to use the 36-hole leaderboard as the final standings rather than finish the tournament.
“After what had happened, it’s hard to tee it up after something like that,” Walls said. “I’m even skittish after. I was out there (on the fourth green). It was scary.”
Pendleton held a commanding seven-stroke lead over Sundbom after completing the middle and back nine holes, leaving just second place and beyond up for grabs when the leaders took to the front nine.
On the line was Alex Kolquist’s 2013 tournament-record 10-under 170, and Pendleton was threatening it.
After a par save on the par-four first hole, Pendleton eagled the par-5 second to move to 11-under as thunder began to roll in the distance. As the thunder faded and skies began to clear, Pendleton bogeyed the par-four third hole after finding the left-side bunker.
By the time the lead group reached the fourth green, the skies had darkened again, the thunder had increased and Pendleton had just sent his third shot well past the hole after chipping from behind a tree, leaving him a lengthy par putt.
According to his playing partners, the bunker and tree were the only times Pendleton had been in any trouble all day.
“He executed the shots he needed to, and he made some putts,” Moline said. “He really had the complete game going today and he never got in trouble, and that was important.”
“He just hits the fairway and hits every green,” Walls added. “It’s really easy to play when you do that. It’s boring golf but it’s perfect golf.”
Pendleton, who has won the Bill Law Nemadji Invitational in Superior and the Lakeview Medal at Lester Park, took a six-year hiatus from tournament golf while going to dental school, but returned last summer to play the Nemadji Invitational.
He was unable to get together with his father, Mark, for Father’s Day this year, so he decided to come to Duluth to play in the Reidar Lund with him and visit a family friend who is scheduled to undergo heart surgery.
Pendleton said the pending surgery and lightning strike put life on the golf course in perspective.
“It’s just golf,” Pendleton said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a six-footer for par or a six-footer for birdie. It’s a game. It should be fun.”

72nd Annual Reidar Lund Skyline Memorial

At Enger Park Golf Course, Duluth

Sunday’s Final 36-hole Results

Championship Flight

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1. Jason Pendleton, 67-68-135 (-9); 2. Taylor Sundbom, 70-72-142 (-2); 3. (tie) Glenn Walls, 68-75-143 (-1); Dan Moline, 69-73-143 (-1); 5. Josh Becks, 74-71-145 (+1); 6. (tie) Blake Onkka, 69-77-146 (+2); Alex Kolquist 72-74-146 (+2); Jim Stafford, 73-73-146 (+2); 9. (tie) Casey Hill, 73-74-147 (+3); Greg Blackwood, 74-73-147 (+3); Matt Mellin, 76-71-147 (+3); Tim Cheslak, 77-70-147 (+3).
Senior Championship Flight - Bill Cheslak, 73-72-145.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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