Amateur, open crown top golfers

Several of the top golf tournaments in the state either recently crowned champions or soon will do so.

The first weekend of August is reserved for the annual Champions Tour stop at the Tournament Players Club of the Twin Cities, home of the 3M Championship.

Before the likes of Bernhard Langer, David Frost and Fred Couples tee it up, the top amateurs and pros hit the links for annual championships.

Trent Peterson won the 97th edition of the Minnesota State Open at Bunker Hills on the first playoff hole July 27.  Photo courtesy of Mark Brettingen
Trent Peterson won the 97th edition of the Minnesota State Open at Bunker Hills on the first playoff hole July 27.
Photo courtesy of Mark Brettingen

Bunker Hills Golf Course, the original site of the 3M Championship, or Burnet Senior Classic as it was previously known as, played host to the 97th Minnesota State Open.

Trent Peterson, Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley, made par on the first play-off hole, against Justin Smith of University Golf Course, for his first Minnesota State Open title. Both finished 8-under par 208 after three rounds on July 27, one shot ahead of Don Constable of Spring Hill Golf Course.

Peterson opened with a 9-under par 63 on Friday and was tied with Smith after the second round.

This win means a lot to Peterson, who was only the third player to win the MGA Players’ Championship and Amateur Championship in the same season, 2008. He was a professional golfer from 2009-2011 but sat out 2012 to regain his amateur status.

Since returning to competition, Peterson was a finalist in the MGA Players’ Championship, losing to Minnesota Gopher Genki Hirayama at Interlachen last year. He returned  to the finals of the event this year only to lose to Johnny Larson in a playoff.

“This tournament means a lot,” Peterson said after his victory in a press release. “This is one of those big events in Minnesota that I don’t have under my belt and it’s against the best field in the state with the pros and amateurs. I’m ecstatic to win.”

The final round began shaky for Peterson who fell to 4-under after seven holes.

He birdied the next two holes to reach 6-under. He added birdies at 11 and 14 to reach 8-under. Constable and Smith shared the lead at 9-under, Peterson one shot back with four holes left. Smith bogeyed 14 and Constable ran into trouble starting on 15. Bogeys on 15 and 17 proved to be too much in the end.

Peterson birdied the 18th hole to move to 8-under and Smith narrowly missed a 30-foot birdie putt to force a playoff.

Peterson dedicated the win, during the trophy presentation ceremony, to family friend and Hazeltine National Golf Club member William Travis who lost a 15-month battle with cancer the day before.

State Amateur

Last week the state’s top amateur gentlemen competed in the 111th Minnesota Golf Association State Amateur championship played at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

Jessie Bull birdied the final hole for a 2-under par 70 during the final round July 23 to hold off Erik Christopherson by one stroke over the three-round tournament. Bull carded a 4-under par 212, one stroke better than Christopherson who held a two-shot lead coming into the final day.

Bull, 39, was the first champion to win the prestigious title on his home course since Charles Sawyer did so at Interlachen Country Club in 1948. He had three top-10 finishes in 2013 and 10 finishes inside the top 25 over the last six years.

Troy Johnson, Rush Creek Golf Club, led after two rounds but was disqualified at the conclusion of his round for signing an incorrect scorecard.

Joel B. Johnson and Jordan Ensrud led a contingent of players based at Links of Northfork tying for 12th place overall with scores of 7-over par 223. Johnson shot a second-round 73 and Ensrud finished strong with a final-round 72.

Junior PGA

Recent Andover graduate and future Augustana golfer Sierra Langlie tied for eighth place overall at the 36-hole Minnesota Section Junior PGA Championship played at GreyStone Golf Club, near Sauk Centre, July 15-16.

Recent Maple Grove graduate Sarah Burnham was 2-under par to win the tournament, four strokes ahead of Red Wing’s Steph Herzog.

Janice Kim, Blaine, placed 17th overall or seventh in the 13-15 age division. Her lone birdie of the tournament came on the par-4 325-yard ninth hole.

Recent Anoka graduate Max Savini fired a second round 3-under par 69 to finish even for the tournment and tie for seventh place overall. Parker Reddig, 15, Minneapolis, posted a final-round 68 to win the boys title at 9-under par, three strokes clare of Jack Holmgren of Corcoran.

Andover’s Ben Johnson tied for 22nd place overall with a 9-over par score which included four birdies.

Jason Olson is at
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