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Moline machine rolls through Cloquet

Andrew Oakes reacts to his tee shot on the second hole Sunday at Cloquet Country Club. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)1 / 3
Bill Tadewald hits out of a bunker during Sunday's final round of the Cloquet Invitational. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)2 / 3
The former Duluth Marshall player and 2008 Florida Tech graduate won the Cloquet Invitational on Sunday, July 15, 2012. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)3 / 3

CLOQUET -- After winning his fourth local golf tournament in the last calendar year, Dan Moline wasn't quite ready to call his accomplishment a "Dan Slam."

But Sunday's one-hole playoff victory over Andrew Oakes in the Cloquet Invitational at Cloquet Country Club definitely cements Moline's status as the top golfer in the Northland.

"I don't know about that," Moline said of his variation of the Tiger Slam, which includes winning the Northland Invitational and Lakeview Medal in 2011 and the Reidar Lund Skyline Memorial earlier this year. "I'm just happy that I'm playing well.

"Whenever you can get in the hunt, you want to make the best of it. It could have gone either way and I would have been happy because I played well. Andrew made a nice charge at the end."

Oakes, a 2010 Hermantown graduate, birdied the 16th and 17th holes and made par out of a greenside bunker at No. 18 to put the pressure on Moline. The former Duluth Marshall player and 2008 Florida Tech graduate responded with a 7-foot par putt to send the sudden death playoff to the first hole.

Moline, 26, drove the right edge of the fairway and his second shot settled left of the pin, while Oakes drove into trouble in the left rough and left his second shot short of the green on the 342-yard, par-4 hole. Moline two-putted from 12 feet for par and Oakes's par putt from about 6 feet slid past the hole.

Both players shot 70 Sunday and 2-over-par 215 for the three-day tournament.

"If someone had asked me at the beginning of the day if I shot 70, I would have thought it would have been enough," Oakes said.

Oakes sank about a 5-foot putt at No. 16 after driving into the right rough on the 563-yard, par-5 hole, and then drained about a 10-footer for birdie at the par-4 17th.

"I didn't make anything all day, then on the final three holes they all went in," Oakes said. "I was happy to make up two shots with three holes to play. I wish I had won, but you can't wait until the last three holes to come back and win.

"Dan's very talented and consistent -- he rarely misses a shot. It's really hard to come back against him."

Moline has a budding rivalry going with the 19-year-old Oakes. They have combined to win the last three Reidar Lund tournaments, and both will compete this week in the State Amateur and the State Open.

"It seems that way; Andrew has developed into a great player (at Division III Gustavus Adolphus)," said Moline, a project engineer at Moline Machinery in West Duluth. "It's fun to see these younger guys up here playing competitive golf. I enjoy being in a rivalry, but I feel like the old guy now."

The State Am runs today through Wednesday at Hastings Country Club and the State Open is Friday-Sunday at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, Minn. The way Moline is playing, he could be a player to reckon with.

"I haven't gotten all my game together, but when I get in these tournaments I play to my strengths," he said. "I haven't tried to do anything that I'm not comfortable with -- maybe playing a little more conservatively -- but I'm happy with how I'm hitting the ball around the golf course."

Alex Kolquist, who also closed with a 70, and Frank Mertz tied for third at 7-over 220. Class AA state champion Taylor Sundbom of Hermantown was fifth, while St. Louis Blues winger Jamie Langenbrunner returned to the site of his 2009 victory and finished sixth. Defending champion Cory Schultz tied for eighth.

CLOQUET INVITATIONAL

At Cloquet Country Club

Sunday's Final Results

1. (tie) x-Dan Moline 73-72-70--215; Andrew Oakes 74-71-70--215; 3. (tie) Frank Mertz 72-76-72--220; Alex Kolquist 75-75-70--220; 5. Taylor Sundbom 78-71-73--222; 6. Jamie Langenbrunner 72-76-75--223; 7. Reed Kolquist 77-76-71--224; 8. (tie) Jim Stafford 72-80-73--224; Cory Schultz 81-73-71--225; 10. Blake Onkka 77-74-76--227.

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