Professional lessons

MARSHALL – With the Dakotas Tour making its annual swing through Marshall this week, tour professionals and Marshall-area amateurs teamed up for the Schwan Food Company Pro-Am at Marshall Golf Club on Monday.

Behind a net score of 57 from its three amateurs and the low pro round of the day, the team of Tim Ailes, Owen Mahaffey (professionals) and Brent Haukom, Jeff Bragg and Jeff St. Cyr (amateurs) won the 18-hole event with a team score of 123.

Both Ailes and Haukom eagled the par-5 18th en route to a two-stroke victory.

Ailes, a Dakotas Tour veteran who has previously won the event at MGC, said his foreknowledge of the course came in handy while shoot a 6-under 65 on a blustery day.

“With a wind like this it’s good to be familiar with the greens and the angles you’re coming in from,” Ailes said. “I hit it really well, but you obviously have to make some putts to shoot 6-under. But I hit it pretty solid.”

For Haukom, who will be entering his senior year at Marshall High School in the fall and plays on the Tiger golf team, the opportunity to play 18 holes alongside Ailes provided insight into how professionals approach the game.

“First thing is putting, that’s the major thing that makes them better. Then they just hit the ball in better spots,” Haukom said. “They are always inside the trees and making it up and down for par or birdie.”

Ailes in particular impressed Haukom with his clinical approach to MGC on Monday.

“He’s just solid all around. He hits it in the fairway then he makes the putt,” Haukom said. “It didn’t even seem like he shot a 65. He’s just so solid.”

With over five hours spent in each other’s company, conversations about golf between the Dakotas Tour members and the amateurs were inevitable. Haukom said that the questions directed towards him were narrow in focus and typically dealt with the physical properties of MGC.

“They asked just a few little things, like if it is firm in front of the green or what’s up there, how much to the river, how much to carry that,” Haukom said.

Potentially because of how well he was playing, Ailes said that the amateurs in his group had fewer questions for him than vice versa.

“We were pretty quiet. It was just so windy that I was kind of in my own little world, just trying to stay concentrated,” Ailes said.

That concentration paid off and Ailes enters today’s second round, for professionals only, at MGC with a one-shot lead over Brandon Crick. Nate Barbee, Paul Peterson and Rodney Hamblin are all tied for third after Day 1 with 4-under-par 67s.

Peterson was a member of the third-place pro-am group; three shots behind the winners and one stroke out of second place. Jordan Elsen, Tom Carlson, Tom Homan, Tony Theisen and Jason Lewis combined for a 125; edging Peterson, Neil Frederickson, CJ Haukom, Duane Rost and Rick Homan, who posted a 126.

Sole possession of fourth place went to the team of Ryan Lenahan, Max Moxness and Jason Holm, Jase Bly and Tom Gruhot with a 127. Three teams tied for fifth place at 128.