Cloquet Invitational tradition continues
July 10, 2020
The 89th Cloquet Invitational is on. The golf tournament began Thursday and will run through Sunday at the Cloquet Country Club, weather permitting.
Due to the pandemic, the format has changed. Typically a three-day tourney, this year the first through seventh flight participants will be competing on Thursday and Friday and the senior and championship flights will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday. Club pro manager Bill Manahan said more than 175 players are playing in this year's event.
Some of the returning favorites include Dan Moline, Alex Kolquist, Trent Sundbom and Ross Fremont. Country club member hopefuls include Jim Stafford, Jamie Langenbrunner, Aaron Young and John Sheff, all recent contenders or champions. Pro shop workers Keegan Poppenberg and Anthony McKay, both recent CEC golf team graduates, are hoping to have an impact as well.
The championship flight is scheduled for 18 holes on Saturday and 27 on Sunday. The senior championship field is also loaded.
COVID-19 guidelines and precautions means all players will be provided with masks and hand sanitizer. People are being encouraged to stay outside as much as possible and maintain social distance from others. The shop will be available for up to five players at a time. Golf carts will be sanitized after rounds and there are rules regarding passengers. Walking is being strongly encouraged at this year's event.
Pins will remain in the holes at all times and players can place their ball a club length away on a bad lie in a bunker as there are no sand rakes on the course. Players will be alerted of other special provisions when they check in.
When the pandemic response first hit Minnesota, Manahan had worried that they might have to cancel the event, something that hasn't happened since World War II.
"We are very happy to host this great event," Manahan said. "It is older than The Masters golf tournament in Augusta."
The tournament began in 1932, two years before The Masters, with Bob Campbell of Duluth winning in a match-play format.
Course superintendent Jud Crist said his talented staff have the golf course in prime condition. Minimal rain and hot temperatures have dealt the crew some challenges and put the irrigation system on overtime, but the course has held up well.