By Nick Hunter
STILLWATER, Minn. – Falling to the amateurs from the Minnesota Golf Association at seven consecutive MGA/PGA Cup Matches, the professionals from the Minnesota PGA turned the tables Tuesday with a commanding 27.5–12.5 performance at StoneRidge Golf Club.
The win for the Minnesota PGA is the first since a 22-18 victory in 2013 at Indian Hills Country Club, extending its overall advantage at the championship to 28-15-2.
The twosome of Jeff Sorenson and Derek Stendahl was the first to put points on the board for the Minnesota PGA, sweeping all four possible points from the team of Jesse Larson and Joel B. Johnson.
Sorenson, a teaching professional at The Minikahda club, and Stendahl, the general manager at Rush Creek Golf Club, won six consecutive holes early during their four-ball match with Larson and Johnson and never looked back, cruising to the victory, 7 and 5.
“You don’t want to come out and lose,” Stendahl joked afterwards. “I think [Minnesota PGA tournament director Tone Pulido] was ready to break the streak, so it’s exciting to get a couple on the board for us. Jeff made a good par on one and then we birdied the next six holes. He made a couple; I made a couple and the next thing we knew we were up six.”
“We were rolling the putts really good,” Sorenson said after his round Tuesday. “The greens were so pure, obviously, we were reading them pretty good.”
A welcome change of fortune for the Minnesota PGA came from the team of Kellie Hoiness and Kristi Meyer, who claimed all four points against the twosome of former University of Minnesota golfer Paige McCullough and former University of Wisconsin-Stout golfer Rachel Hernandez, the largest output of points by a female team of the Minnesota PGA since 2010.
Tuesday’s performance by Hoiness, the director of golf at Oak Ridge Country Club, and Meyer, a teaching pro at Rochester Golf and Country Club, also marked the first time a female has secured points for the PGA since Angie Ause defeated amateur Leigh Klasse during her singles match in 2017. Since 2013, ladies from the Minnesota PGA combined for a total of two and a half points.
“As a female team, we always get a bad rap for not putting up points, so I think we squashed that today,” said Meyer.
With each team winning a hole through five during their four-ball match Tuesday, Hoiness and Meyer won the next seven holes to take a sizable lead after 12 holes. McCullough and Hernandez tried to claw back into the match by winning the 14th, but Hoiness and Meyer slammed the door by winning the 18th to secure the victory, 7 and 6, and added an extra two points with their respective wins in singles.
“We were great teammates today,” Hoiness said. “We played good when the other was out of the hole.”
Former Gopher golfer Thomas Campbell and partner Johnny Schwaller helped the Minnesota PGA’s cause by sweeping all four points from 2021 MGA Four-Ball champions Matthew Norgaard and Nick Jarrett.
Newly crowned Twin Cities Open champion Andy Smith paired with Scott McDonald to down the team of Justin Burleson and Geoff Klein to contribute four points for the Minnesota PGA, as did the twosome of Don Berry and Mike Barge.
A bright spot for the amateurs Tuesday was the twosome of Taylor Ledwein and Jacqueline Santopietro, who defeated professionals Savannah Smith and Catherine Wagner, 5 and 4, during their four-ball match and swept the singles matches to earn four points for the MGA.
“I think I hit every fairway we played, so I hit the driver really well,” said Ledwein, who won the 2021 MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship with partner Megan Welch. “Didn’t putt very well and didn’t get many to drop, but it was a fun day with a good group and the course was great. Some very tough pins, but I was happy to pull out some points for our team.”
Teammates Ryan Conn and Paul Meyer managed three and a half points during their respective matches against professionals Grant Shafranski and Eddie Wynne as Conn chipped in for birdie on the final hole to squeeze out a half point in his singles match.
Conn recently returned from the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the with partner Josh Persons at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama two weeks ago. Conn and Persons fired a 7-under 134 to miss the cut for match play by one stroke. Partnering with Hunter Rebrovich, Conn claimed the 2019 MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship at The Classic at Madden’s.
Meyer claimed a pair of top-20 finishes during 2021, including his runner-up finish to Troy Johnson at the MGA Mid-Players’ Championship at The Quarry at Giants Ridge.