By Nick Hunter
BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Winning seven of ten four-ball matches Monday, the Minnesota Golf Association surged to a 25-15 victory over the Minnesota Section of the PGA at Edinburgh USA for its seventh consecutive win at the MGA/PGA Cup Matches.
The professionals still hold a commanding 27-15-2 overall lead, but the amateurs have now won eight of the last nine championships.
Jeff Sorenson and University of Minnesota assistant Matt Rachey got the professionals off to a quick start Monday, taking two and a half points away from Sammy Schmitz and Jesse Polk, two of the state’s best four-ball players who’ve combined for four state four-ball wins together.
Continuing his spectacular spring, Jack Hiemenz proved to be a bright spot for the PGA Monday, claiming a full point with his singles win over Justin Burleson and partnered with Julian Ramirez to claim an additional two points during their four-ball match against Justin Burleson and Jesse Bull.
“It was my first time playing with [Ramirez] and we helped each other out, so we had a good team-thing going,” Hiemenz said. “We did our part—that was the goal, but there are a lot of good [amateurs] playing today.”
Hiemenz advanced from the first stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open earlier this month at Medina Golf and Country Club and went wire-to-wire at the inaugural Twin Cities Open two days later at Tanners Brook Golf Club.
“My putter is still hot and my ball-striking is still there. I’m managing it well and I feel like I’m playing a lot smarter,” said Hiemenz, who fired a bogey-free 66 Monday. “Last time I played out here I lost a lot of balls, so my goal was to keep it in play today.”
After gaining a full point in nine of the 20 singles matches, the amateurs pulled away Monday by claiming 14 of a possible 20 points during the team portion of the championship.
The defending MGA Women’s Player of the Year Taylor Ledwein teamed with Shelby Busker to help claim four points for the MGA, while former Red Wing High School teammates Sophia Yoemans and Leah Herzog reunited to sweep both of their matches against professionals Kristi Meyer and Savannah Smith.
“It was fun—I don’t know when the last time we played a four-ball together,” Herzog said. “We had a rough start, but we got it going. Good iron play helped us both.”
“It’s a shorter course for us—we hit a bunch of the par-5’s in two and we both birdied a couple par-3’s,” Yoemans added.
Yoemans played her opening nine at 1-under before back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th holes lifted her to a victory over Meyer, 6 and 5.
Herzog won three of her first four holes against Smith and would turn with a 2-up lead before a string of birdies late gave the 2019 Ms. Minnesota Golf recipient the victory, 6 and 4.
A combination of Matt Norgaard’s singles win over professional Eric Rolland, 2 and 1, and the four-ball victory by Trent Peterson and Ryan Conn over Don Berry and Scott McDonald clinched the victory for the MGA.
“I love this event—it’s fun and a good spring event because it’s usually one of my first events of the year,” the defending MGA Mid-Amateur and MPGA Mid Public Links champion Peterson said. “We always play a nice course and it’s nice to see some of the PGA pros—I usually only get to see them at the State Open, so it’s a great event.”
Peterson poured in five birdies on his front nine, but managed just a 1-up lead over McDonald Monday. Extending his lead to two after winning the 13th and 15th holes, Peterson closed out his singles match on the 17th with a victory over McDonald, 2 and 1.
“I was steady and hit the driver great,” Peterson said following his match Monday. “Every birdie opportunity I had today I either made or just missed. I was really consistent today, so I was quite surprised because I just haven’t played much.”
The amateurs also got help from Caleb VanArragon and Jerry Rose, who each helped earn three of four points en route to a 10-point victory Monday.
Full scoring: https://www.mngolf.org/Tournament/MGA_PGA_Cup_Matches_3