By Nick Hunter
STILLWATER, Minn. – Severe weather delayed the start of the 91st Minnesota PGA Professional Championship at StoneRidge Golf Club Tuesday, but when the skies cleared and play began, five players found themselves tied atop the leaderboard following the opening round.
Brent Snyder, a two-time winner of the championship, fired a 2-under 70 to finish 18 holes of play in a share of the lead with Derek Holmes, Mitchell Mackedanz, Grant Shafranski and Eric Chiles on top of a crowded leaderboard as only three shots separate the field’s top 15 players.
Sitting one shot back of the leaders when the championship resumes Wednesday is three-time champion Jeff Sorenson, who bounced back from a triple-bogey during his round Tuesday, to finish tied for second at 1-under 71 with Jeff Kringen, Thomas Campbell, Eric Rolland, Chris Eikenberg, Derek Stendahl and Corey Johnson.
Snyder, from Troy Burne Golf Club, began his opening round on the first tee during Tuesday’s shotgun-start format, carding birdies at the fourth and sixth holes to quickly move into red figures.
Converting his birdie chance at the par-4 10th put the 41-year-old Snyder at 3-under, but he would take a step back with bogey at the par-3 16th and finish at 2-under 70, looking for his third win since 2013.
Holmes, of PXG Minneapolis, began his opening round on the second hole Tuesday, rolling in a birdie to quickly move to 1-under, but would play his next eight holes in 2-over following bogeys at the fourth and sixth holes.
Getting back on track with a pair of early birdies to start his back nine Tuesday, Holmes carded bogey at the 14th, but answered with two final birdies at the 15th and 17th to share the 18-hole lead at 2-under.
Playing his first 14 holes in 1-under Tuesday, Mackedanz capitalized on a birdie chance at the par-5 11th, but he would give back a stroke at the 13th with a bogey. Playing his final hole at the par-3 14th, Mackedanz carded one final birdie to finish in a five-way tie on top of the leaderboard.
Shafranski, of North Oaks Golf Club, began and finished his round with a bogey Tuesday, but a string of four consecutive birdies late in his round helped him into a share of the lead in search of his first win at the tournament with 18 holes to play.
Chiles, from Chaska Town Course, played 10 holes in 1-under Tuesday before surrendering a bogey at the par-4 10th. He would answer by sinking four straight birdies before bogeys at two of his final three holes put Chiles at 2-under 70.
The 91st Minnesota PGA Professional Championship concludes Wednesday with final-round tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. at StoneRidge Golf Club.
THE 91ST MINNESOTA PGA PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
STONERIDGE GOLF CLUB
6,985 YARDS, PAR 72
TUESDAY’S FIRST ROUND RESULTS
T1. Brent Snyder, Troy Burne GC, 34-36—70
T1. Derek Holmes, PXG Minneapolis, 37-33—70
T1. Mitchell Mackedanz, Bemidji T&CC, 35-35—70
T1. Grant Shafranski, North Oaks GC, 35-35—70
T1. Eric Chiles, Chaska TC, 33-37—70
T6. Jeff Sorenson, The Minikahda Club, 37-34—71
T6. Jeff Kringen, Spring Hill GC, 35-36—71
T6. Thomas Campbell, 2nd Swing, 34-37—71
T6. Eric Rolland, Augsburg College, 34-37—71
T6. Chris Eikenberg, TaylorMade Golf, 35-36—71
T6. Derek Stendahl, Rush Creek GC, 34-37—71
T6. Corey Johnson, Scheels Sporting Goods, 34-37—71
For complete tournament results go to: MN PGA Professional Championship – Stroke Play Leaderboard | Minnesota PGA (bluegolf.com)