by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Cory Pike emerged as Elk River Golf Club champion for the first time, after being one of the top contenders in recent years.
The 30-year-old Princeton native shot 76 Saturday and 73 Sunday for a 149 total capture the title by two strokes over Matt Smerdon and Tim Kratzke.
Pike secured the win with birdies on No. 16, with a chip-in after over-shooting the green, and No. 17, with “two good swings and a 10-foot putt.”
Pike, who works at ERGC in the restaurant, has placed second once and third twice in the club tourney.
“My focus was on shooting even par or better,” said Pike. “I knew I’d have a chance if I did that. I was able to stay out of trouble.”
Pike, who golfed for the Princeton Tigers, a community college in Arizona, and Concordia-St. Paul, wears his Princeton colors, an orange shirt and black vest, while competing.
The ERGC title was one of two golf highlights this summer. He entered the MGA State Players Tournament for the first time and was pleased to win twice and reach the round of 16 at Interlachen in late June.
Smerdon, a two-time champion, shot 78-73-151, while Kratzke shot 75-76-151.
Rounding out the top five among 12 in the championship flight were Derek Faulkner with 74-79-153 and three-time champ Mike Bodnar with 77-77-154.
Johnson tops seniors
Phil Johnson, retired teacher who coaches in the Elk golf and football programs, captured the seniors crown with 74-78-152. Dan Tveite was second with 154 and Paul Granning third with 156. Tim Cox was the net champ with 140, followed by Chris Miller with 146.
Amanda O’Donnell won the women’s first flight with 169, followed by Gloria Jenson with 178. Amy Lord won net with 144. Nikki Hamernick took the women’s second flight with 196.
Jim Baldwin won the men’s first flight with 142 net, followed by Geno Esty with 146. Mark Edwards took the men’s second flight net with 146, followed by Matt Rontti with 149.