Craig Brischke of Tanners Brook G.C. used a late surge on the back nine of the final day to claim the 2018 Minnesota PGA Professional Championship at Woodhill Country Club by one shot over 3-time past champion Jeff Sorenson of The Minikahda Club.
“I scored good—I scored really good. I’ve done one thing over the last two days that I haven’t done for a while which is make a few putts,” said Brischke. “I started out the day making a 35-footer on the first hole and it kind of changes the mindset. Our Senior [PGA] Professional Championship was last week, and I played horrible. That shot changed everything right there.”
18-hole, co-leaders Scott McDonald and Mike Barge couldn’t regain their form from a day earlier and finished the day 4-over and 3-over, respectively.
Defending champ Brent Snyder was also in the mix and held the lead for most of the back nine before Brischke, erasing a three-shot deficit to start the day, claimed the lead for good with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th.
“I knew where I stood all day, but I had no idea what they were doing behind me. After I birdied holes 15 and 16 then I knew at that point,” said Brischke. “You know, but you don’t know—it is golf though, so every shot you’re trying your hardest. To be honest, I hit one good shot where I needed to on every hole.”
Brischke’s victory this week is his first Minnesota PGA Professional Championship at the impressive age of 57. It also comes one year removed from his victory in the Minnesota Senior PGA Professional Championship at Forest Hills G.C.
Brischke will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s inaugural 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities next summer. He along with Sorenson, Snyder, McDonald and Barge have all qualified for the 52nd PGA Professional Championship at Belfair of Bluffton in Bluffton, S.C. on April 28-May 1, 2019. This is the first year this event will be conducted in the spring. Also securing qualifying spots were Section members Don Berry, Danny Sinksen and Jeff Kringen.