By Nick Hunter
STILLWATER, Minn. – Helped by back-to-back birdies to open his final round Wednesday, Jeff Sorenson carded a tournament-low 4-under 68 at StoneRidge Golf Club to claim his fourth Minnesota PGA Professional Championship by shooting a 36-hole tally of 139 to edge Derek Holmes by one stroke.
Sorenson, from The Minikahda Club, picks up his second win of the 2021 season and now earns a spot in next spring’s National PGA Professional Championship at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas.
Joining Sorenson at the national tournament will be Holmes, who earned an exemption into next year’s championship, Augsburg College golf coach Eric Rolland, Eric Chiles (Chaska Town Course) and Brent Snyder (Troy Burne Golf Club), who each carded a 3-under 141 to finish tied for third.
Jesse Nelson, from Whitefish Golf Club, fired a 2-under 70 Wednesday to claim a spot in the national event next spring, finishing tied for sixth at 142 with former University of Minnesota golfer Thomas Campbell (2nd Swing).
Earning the final two qualifying spots by carding a 1-under 143 Wednesday were Derek Stendahl (Rush Creek Golf Club) and Grant Shafranski (North Oaks Golf Club).
Sorenson, who last claimed a victory at the Section Championship in 2010 at The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, started quickly with birdies at the first and second holes Wednesday to jump to 3-under for the championship.
Adding his third birdie of the round at the par-4 eighth, Sorenson turned in 3-under for the day and kept the momentum rolling to his final nine holes. Birdies at the 11th and 13th put the 42-year-old Sorenson at 6-under for the championship, and he would finish the final round with a bogey at the 16th, shooting 4-under 68 to earn a one-shot victory.
In 22 starts this season, Sorenson has a pair of victories and 17 top-10 finishes, earning more than $23,000 in prize money.
Sorenson’s first win at the event came in 2006 at Giants Ridge before adding a second win two years later at Somerby Golf Club.
Holmes sank a 30-foot putt on the final hole to finish tied for eighth at the National PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie earlier this spring, punching a ticket to the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Already exempt into next year’s national tournament, Holmes carded a 2-under 70 for the second consecutive day, sinking one birdie over his front nine before rolling in three birdies against two bogeys during his inward nine, narrowly missing a birdie at the last to force a playoff.
Angie Ause, Oak Marsh Golf Course, took home Low Woman Professional honors with a two round total, 159 (77-82).
THE 91ST MINNESOTA PGA PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
STONERIDGE GOLF CLUB
6,985 YARDS, PAR 72
WEDNESDAY’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Jeff Sorenson, The Minikahda Club, 71-68—139
2. Derek Holmes, PXG Minneapolis, 70-70—140
T3. Eric Rolland, Augsburg College, 71-70—141
T3. Eric Chiles, Chaska TC, 70-71—141
T3. Brent Snyder, Troy Burne GC, 70-71—141
T6. Jesse Nelson, Whitefish GC, 72-70—142
T6. Thomas Campbell, 2nd Swing, 71-71—142
T8. Derek Stendahl, Rush Creek GC, 71-72—143
T8. Grant Shafranski, North Oaks GC, 70-73—143
T10. Don Berry, Edinburgh USA, 73-71—144
T10. Corey Johnson, Scheels Sporting Goods, 71-73—144
For complete tournament results go to: https://mnpga.bluegolf.