MARSHALL - Dakotas Tour veteran Tim Ailes looked at the leaderboard before his afternoon tee time of Monday's opening round of the Schwan Food/MGC Great Plains Open and there were already a pair of 7-under rounds of 64 staring him in the face.
Ailes, the 2006 champion of the event, knew he'd have to keep pace. But he also knew he still had a long road ahead of him.
"You like to get off to a good start, but you know it's a three-day tournament," Ailes said. "You just try to be patient and try to make some birdies."
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Tim Ailes, right, watches his tee shot on the par-3 6th hole at Marshall Golf Club as fellow pro Ben Wood looks on during Day 1 of the Dakotas Tour Schwan Food/MGC Great Plains Open. Ailes fired a 7-under round of 64 on Monday and shares a three-way tie for first place.
Ailes made his birdies, and at the end of the day he found himself in a three-way tie for first at 64 along with Max Scodro of Chicago and Cam White of Plymouth.
With hot, but calm conditions, the pro golfers had their way with Marshall Golf Club on Monday. Of the 66 pros, 41 shot under par.
The Schwan Food/MGC Great Plains Open is the eighth stop on the 16-event Dakotas Tour schedule. Many of the pros arrived in Marshall after competing in a three-day tournament in Aberdeen, S.D. But not White.
Monday was White's first time in a Dakotas Tour event. The 2011 University of Minnesota graduate was coming off a second-place finish at the Minnesota State Open at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids, where he had a share of the lead going into the final hole.
White plans on playing the rest of the Dakotas Tour events while he prepares himself for PGA Tour qualifying school in the fall. He said the Dakotas Tour presents him with the opportunity to learn how to win as he looks to advance his career.
"I played golf for the Gophers and had a lot of teammates who went through the program and turned pro," White said. "A lot of them got established out here their first couple of years.
"I thought this would be a good place to go for the learning experience, basically to learn to go low. As a pro golfer, that's what you've got to do, and you have to be able to do it day in and day out. There's a lot of talent out here, obviously, with the scores that were shown today."
Last year's event saw Milford, Iowa native Brady Schnell tie the MGC course record with a 62 during Day 1 of play. Ailes, Scodro and White didn't go quite that low, but their rounds were nothing to scoff at.
White showed he's quickly learning how to go low, as he posted a bogey-free round and tallied seven birdies.
"I hit 12 of 13 fairways. I think I hit 15 greens. I just hit solid tee to green. And when I missed the green, it wasn't by much," White said. "I made a few good mid-range putts, and that's the difference between a 64 and a 66 or 67."
Scodro and White were among the golfers who teed off in the morning and played with just the pros. Ailes competed in the pro-am portion of the day, where he was grouped with one other pro and three amateurs from the Marshall area. The low pro gross score and the low amateur net score on each hole were used for scoring.
The winning group of the pro-am tournament was comprised of pros Matt Hughes and Jordan Elsen, and amateur Chad Wyffels, Randy Viessman and Alex Christianson. The group had a total of 114 to win by three. Wyffels and Christianson were also part of the winning team of last week's Pride in the Tiger charity tournament.
The pro field in the event has slight international feel this week, with a few of the competitors hailing from Australia.
Sam Burrell, of Avoca Beach, New South Wales, Australia, shot a 69 on Monday and sits five strokes back of the lead. He said he and his fellow Aussie friends came to the United States in mid-June to play in a tournament in Provo, Utah, then joined in on with the Dakotas Tour.
Burrell said the courses he's seen in the Midwest differ a bit from the ones Down Under.
"In Australia we probably set up the courses a little bit harder," he said. "They're a little bit longer in a way because we're used to playing at sea level a bit more. Being up (at a higher elevation) here, the ball goes a bit farther and the grass is a bit different. It took a little time to get used to."
It gets hot both places, but Burrell said there's one big difference.
"It's a lot drier back in Australia. This humidity is getting to us a bit," he said. "We're having to drink significantly larger amounts of water."
Large amounts of water were required for Burrell and his Australian friends on Sunday, as they had a hard pill to swallow with fellow countryman Adam Scott blowing a four-stroke lead with four holes to play in the final round of the British Open. Just before beginning their own final round of play in Aberdeen, the small Aussie contingent watched Scott's collapse as Ernie Els came from behind to steal the Claret Jug.
"We were all a bit depressed in the morning, but we got over it," Burrell said. "We're all pretty confident that he'll get his major soon."
Day 2 of the Schwan Food/MGC Great Plains Open starts today at 7:39 a.m. The leaders' tee time is at 10:48 a.m. The top 22 and ties will make the cut for Day 3 of the tournament.
Pro Individual Results
Tim Ailes 64, Max Scodro 64, Cam White 64, Brandon Crick 65, Ryan Lenahan 65, Thomas Campbell 66, Judd Cornell 66, Ralph Baxley 67, Ryan Conn 67, Christopher Evans 67, Ben Freeman 67, Jeff Lemaster 67, Kevin Starr 67, Jeff Berkshire 68, Peter Croonquist 68, Lucas Delgado 68, Michael Furey 68, Matt Hughes 68, Tim Kunick 68, Andre Metzger 68, Parker Pemberton 68, Cory Blenkush 69, Coy Breen 69, Sam Burrell 69, Tom Carlson 69, Jordan Elsen 69, Charlie Holland 69, Jay Jurecic 69, Brady Marek 69, Garrett Merrell 69, Dustin Wigington 69, Ben Wood 69, Anthony Brunero 70, Neil Johnson 70, Tim Lamb 70, Josh Persons 70, John Sauer 70, Brady Schnell 70, Dustin Schwab 70, Patrick Strandemo 70, Tray Wilkerson 70, Dave Aksamit 71, Reemy Bray 71, Jeff Burton 71, Jimmy Butler 71, Kelly Kretz 71, Jeffrey Kellen 72, Ben Pisani 72, Brady Swedberg 72, Michael Williams 72, Tim Beth 73, James McCarthy 73, Matthew Moxness 73, Shane Feist 74, Tim Frazer 74, Neil Frederickson 74, John Kelly 74, Andy Hansen 75, Charlie Larson 75, Kevin Leestma 75, French Beaudoin 76, John Gerber 77, Matthew Leestma 77, Stephen Dillenberg 78, Jesse Hafdal 80, Jeremy Hoye 80.
Chad Wyffels, Randy Viessman, Alex Christianson, Matt Hughes, Jordan Elsen 114; Eric Bey, Jerry Bey, Scott Bey, Brandon Crick, Brady Swedberg 117; Jeff Bragg, Jeff St. Cyr, Bill Toulouse, Tim Ailes, Ben Wood 118; Tim Steinbach, Ross Webskowski, Chris Hmieleswki, Jeff Berkshire, Ryan Lenahan 120; John Claggett, Jason Lewis, Tony Theisen, Thomas Campbell, Ryan Conn 122; Tim Alger, Jerrod Lee, Mike Sweetman, Tim Kunick, Judd Cornell 122; Chad Michelson, Brian Bjella, Tim Rodgers, Parker Pemberton, Kevin Leetsma 123; Gary Koosman, Darrel Wiener, Todd Madden, Christopher Evans, John Gerber 124; Brian Knochenmus, Mike Nelson, Jon Knochenmus, Tom Carlson, Tim Beth 125; Tom McLaughlin, Doug Krogen, Brian Pfeiffer, Amos Rolon, James McCarthy 125; Tim Cox Mike Buysse, Larry Jackson, Reemy Bray, Brady Schnell 125; John Chisham, Tony Nang, Duane Rost, Coy Breen, Ken Bramhall 126; Tom Homan, Adam Heemeyer, John Schaefer, Ralph Baxley, Dustin Wigington 126; Jason Holm, Jim Franson, Tom Gruhot, Neil Johnson, Mike Furey 126; Tom Ellingson, Bill Joens, Paul Bellmore, Lucas Delgado, Jesse Hafdal 127; Steve Hatlestad, Mike Wudel, Tim Deutz, Jay Jurecic, Jeremy Hoye 128; Eric Eben, Steve Schuler, Tony Mensink, Anthony Brunero, Dustin Schwab 128; Bob Jacobson, Ben Schamber, Shawn Meyers, Kevin Starr, Matt Moxness 128; Tim Stegner, Jeff Thompson, Lee Webskowski, Sam Burrell, Josh Persons 128; Mike Fox, James Carr, Roger Tjosaas, Andre Metzger, Jeff Lemaster 129; Jay Cattoor, Jeremy Gossen, Matt Terfehr, Cory Blenkush, Andy Hansen 129; Jason Kruger, Jean Monthei, Tim Frazer, Stephen Dillenberg 130; Josh Hawkinson, Curt Kovash, Steve Bennett, Matthew Leestma, Ben Pisani 130; Bob Nemmers, Gary Kaczmarek, Brent Schumacher, Brady Marek, Neil Frederickson 133.