By Nick Hunter
MINNEWASKA, Minn. – In search of his first win of the season, Augsburg College head golf coach Eric Rolland carded five birdies over the final 12 holes to post a 4-under 68 Monday at Minnewaska Golf Club to take the early lead at the 2022 Minnesota PGA Professional Championship.
Rolland, who holds a 54.75 point-advantage over Derek Holmes in the Rolex Player of the Year standings, will take a one-stroke lead over Jonathan Reigstad to Monday’s round.“It was really windy today—I hit it pretty solid and made a couple putts,” Rolland said following his round Monday.
Rolland got off to a quick start by taking advantage of the par-5 first with his first birdie of the day, but gave back a stroke with bogey at the second.
He took another step back with his second bogey at the fourth, but rebounded late during his front nine with a pair of birdies at the seventh and ninth holes to turn in 1-under par.
Converting an early birdie chance at the 10th, Rolland moved to 2-under for his round and would roll in another birdie at the 15th.
Finishing on a high note, Rolland carded his final birdie of the round at the 18th to pace the field with a 4-under 68.
In 22 events this season, Rolland has claimed nine top-10 finishes, including his runner-up finish at the ROCKSTAR Pro-Am in May before he placed third at the Minnesota State Open at Bunker Hills Golf Club in July.Rolland has earned at least one section victory per season since 2017.
“The State Open was good, but since then, I haven’t been playing that well,” said Rolland, who hasn’t placed better than eighth in nine starts since mid-July. “It’s the ups and downs of the game and guys having jobs and families—being tired and trying to play well. It’s a crazy game we play.”
Reigstad, of Keller Golf Club, began his day on the 10th tee Monday and would card a pair of birdies over his first five holes.
A setback at the 17th put Reigstad at 1-under for the day, but he would answer by sinking back-to-back birdies at the 18th and first holes to quickly move to 3-under for the championship.
Reigstad’s third birdie of the round at the par-4 fourth put him back to 2-under, but he converted one final birdie opportunity at the par-5 sixth to tally a 3-under 69 to finish in sole possession of second, one shot off the lead.
Playing on his home course this week, Scott McDonald battled back from a mid-round double-bogey by carding four birdies over his final five holes Monday to close his opening round with a 2-under 70.
He’ll begin the final round tied for second with Grant Shafranski and 10-time champion Don Berry.
The 92nd Minnesota PGA Professional Championship continues Tuesday when the final round gets underway at 8 a.m. at Minnewaska Golf Club.
MONDAY’S FIRST ROUND RESULTS
T3. Scott McDonald, Minnewaska GC, 38-32—70
T6. Johnny Schwaller, Island View GC, 35-37—72
T6. Kyle Scanlon, Northfield GC, 37-35—72
T6. Grant Hanson, Geneva GC, 38-34—72