Eric Rolland of Augsburg University turned a near semifinal exit into his first Section Major after defeating Derek Holmes of Dellwood C.C. 3&1 in the championship match of the 2018 Minnesota PGA Match Play Championship supported by PGA Tour and Sterling Cut Glass at Windsong Farm Golf Club.
“First off, I want to give a shout out to all the kids at Augsburg,” said Rolland smiling. “This is the highest accomplishment I’ve had at the Section level. It’s really cool to be able to win. It feels great.”
Rolland, the No. 4 overall seed, overcame a 3-down deficit with just four holes to play in the semifinals at the expense of Casey Vangsness of Minneapolis G.C. He birdied the par-5 18th to send the match to extra holes before eventually winning in 20 Holes.
Also searching for his first Section Major, Holmes defeated Jeff Sorenson of The Minikahda Club 4&2 to earn his spot in the championship match. One day after defeating decorated Section player Don Berry 4&3 in the quarterfinals.
In the championship, Rolland struck first with a birdie, the lone birdie of the match, at the par-4 3rd to move 1-up. Fatigue was clearly a factor as both players were grinding out pars all day.
Holmes found trouble in the bunker on both the 7th and 8th and would go on to lose both of those holes. He turned 3-down to Rolland who was 1-under on the front.
Another bogey to start the back nine for Holmes put him 4-down and his hopes of a Match Play Championship seemed grim. Four holes later and he was four dormie.
The 2016 Assistant Player of the Year would make one last ditch effort to make it interesting by winning the 15th and 16th to cut the lead in half. His surge would not be enough as Rolland parred the par-4 17th to claim the title.
“Great playing by Eric today,” Holmes said. “He definitely earned it. I’ve never really done well in this format against the Section’s top players. I like Windsong and went out and had fun. This performance shows that I can play with these guys.”