by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Pat Klaers and Paul Granning enjoy a long golfing friendship that started when they were Mankato State teammates in the mid-1970’s.
The two ex-Mavericks living in Elk River waged a close duel for the Elk River Golf Club seniors championship over the weekend. In fact, both of them finished at 147. Klaers was awarded the title on the basis of lower handicap, while Granning collected the low net title.
It was the second straight seniors crown for Klaers, 58, city manager at Arden Hills.
“We were not only teammates, we were roommates,” said Granning about their MSU days, when their team was strong enough to win a conference tournament by 46 strokes.
Each man shot par — Granning on Saturday for a three-stroke lead, and Klaers on Sunday to catch him.
Klaers hit the last three greens in regulation and two-putted each for pars.
“I hit the tee balls solid, hit the irons solid, and kept it close to the holes today,” said Klaers. “I was happy and fortunate, nothing bad happened today.”
The two buddies praised each other’s game.
Said Klaers: “His putting was spectacular.”
Said Granning: “I had to make the putts, because he is a machine from tee to green.”
Unlike many teams who quickly lose track of each other, the Mankato alums keep in touch. Klaers and Granning, of course, live in the same town and play the same course. Granning will attend the Ryder Cup with a teammate who lives in Chicago and gets the tickets. Another is a pro at Como in St. Paul.
Asked who was the better player in college, Granning laughed: “I was, in college, but Pat is better now …. I started playing softball, and things (in golf) started to get crooked for a while. I’m working my way back.”
Phil Johnson was third with 150, followed by Dan Tveite 152 and Dave Bleyhl 157 in the 24-man field.
Senior Men’s Flight
Low gross leaders
1. x-Pat Klaers 75-72—147
2. Paul Granning 72-75—147
3. Phil Johnson 76-74—150
4. Dan Tveite 76-77—152
5. Dave Bleyhl 76-81—157
6. Mike White 75-83—158
Chris Prosser 79-79—158
8. George Sanford 76-83—159
x-placed 1st by tiebreaker, lower handicap
Low net leaders
1. Granning 139 (157 gross)
2. Tveite 142 (152 gross)
3. Sanford 143 (159 gross)
4. Larry Long 144 (172 gross)