Maplewood, Minn. – PGA Professional Don Berry of Edinburgh USA Golf Course has won his 7th of a possible 9 Minnesota Senior Opens on Wednesday, June 3 at Keller Golf Course in Maplewood, Minn. Berry shot 69-71-140 to finish four under par. Berry was tied with Dale Jones, PGA, of Mendakota Country Club, at the end of 36 holes, but Berry captured the title by making birdie 4 on the first play-off hole.

The final pairing of Berry, Jones, and Ty Armstrong, PGA, of GolfTEC – Eden Prairie who finished T5 at -1, provided steady competition for Berry, although he didn’t necessarily know it throughout the round.

“The one thing that was very strange was not having a scorecard. I was keeping my score, but usually you have a scorecard and you have some idea how someone is doing, but I had no idea how everyone stood. Even after the 18th, I didn’t know until we walked off we had a playoff.” Berry said.

With some of the precautions and protocols put in place due to COVID-19, like no official scorecards as mentioned above, another modification the Minnesota PGA has made for the season is implementing a ball lifting mechanism that uses your putter to pop the ball out of the hole. This presented a slight challenge for Berry, who usually never leaves the flagstick in for shorter putts.

“I don’t really enjoy putting with the pin in for short distances. I don’t mind it for long, like 20 foot putts. But short putts I just have not really gotten used to it. The shadow of the flag, the flapping in the wind, I don’t know if it’s distracting or if it’s just different, I’ve never really done it.”

Even with some putting differences, Berry only carded three bogeys in round two, one on hole 7 and back to back bogeys to end the round on 17 and 18.

After only playing about 5 rounds before going into the event, Berry thinks it’s important to get into a good playing place personally.

“I really feel like early in the year I want to get off to a good start, just my game, not really the results. If I would have shot 4 under today and finished 7 under and some guy played a great round and was 9 under, I would have actually have felt better about the way I played than winning, kind of feeling I backed into it.”

Low amateur honors go to Dave Carothers of Wild Marsh GC, who shot 72-70-142 and finished tied for third overall with Bill Israelson, PGA, of Vintage GC. Carothers was also tied for low Amateur after round one with Tim Peterson of Forest Hills GC.

“Got off to a little bit of a slow start, today I three-putted the first hole, and three-putted the 18th hole yesterday so that wasn’t a good start, but then I missed a couple birdie putts and was 2 over through 7, but then I didn’t make a bogie the rest of the way and made four birdies through the back nine.” Carothers said of his second day showing. “Overall I was really happy with the way I hit the ball, and actually I putted it really well, just nothing went in for 2 days.”

Thank you to Keller Golf Course staff and grounds crew, including PGA Professional Mark Foley for hosting the event.

Full Results can be found here.

Photo of Don Berry