Minnesota Golf Association

116th MGA Amateur Championship Fact Sheet

July 12, 2019

The 116th MGA Amateur Championship
Somerby Golf Club, Byron, Minn. 
July 15-17, 2019

GENERAL INFO/FORMAT – The 116th MGA Amateur Championship will be held at Somerby Golf Club, Monday through Wednesday, July 15-17. One hundred and fifty-six competitors will play 36 holes – 18 on Monday and 18 on Tuesday. After 36 holes, a cut will be made and the remaining 60 players and ties will play 18 holes on Wednesday to determine the champion.
Live Scoring will be available on the MGA website at www.mngolf.org.
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SOMERBY GOLF CLUB OFFICIALS – Jason Stumpf, General Manager; Adam Chandler, PGA Golf Professional; and Jake Kocak, Golf Course Superintendent.  
SOMERBY GOLF CLUB – Somerby Golf Club is the creation of a former U.S. Amateur champ and a British Open winner, John Fought and Tom Lehman, and opened to positive reviews in the summer of 2004. Somerby has a links feel with large, well defined greens featuring dramatic slopes, collection areas and deep bunkers. Its generous fairways are lined with healthy fescue roughs, and the whole package is reminiscent of Fought and Lehman’s efforts at Windsong Farm, in Independence, Minn., and The Gallery outside of Tucson, Ariz.
This year marks the third time the course has hosted an MGA major: in 2004, Litchfield’s John Spreiter battled wet and windy conditions (gusts exceeded 40 mph) to post 73-78—151 (7-over par), including just 11 putts over his final nine, to win the 17th MGA Mid-Amateur by four strokes over Larry Barnacle; and in 2015, Crow River’s Joe McCormick posted a 3-under par 69 at Somerby, followed by scores of 72-73 at co-host site Rochester G&CC (for a 54-hole total of 214), to win the 28th MGA Mid-Amateur by one stroke over Sammy Schmitz.
In 1967, the MGA switched amateur championship formats from match play to stroke play (72 holes), and five years later adjusted the championship to 54 holes of stroke play. 

LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP – Trailing the 36-hole leader, Jesse Bull, by two shots, Van Holmgren knew his final-round score needed to start with a six. Tapping in an inconsequential bogey on the 54th hole for his only blemish of the final round, Holmgren tied a tournament low by carding a 3-under par 69 to earn a four-stroke victory and the largest margin of victory in the MGA Amateur since Bryce Hanstad’s four-shot win over Clayton Rask the last time Hazeltine National hosted the amateur championship in 2007.

After carding back-to-back 70s over the championship’s first two rounds, and on track to claim his second MGA Amateur title in five years, a frustrated Bull carded a closing-round 75 to finish in a tie for second with Jacques Wilson, at 1-under par 215. Also tying the tournament-low round, Ben Sigel’s 69 earned him a tie for fourth place at even-par 216 with the 1995 Amateur champ, Michael Christensen.
THE FIELDVan Holmgren returns to defend his title amongst a formidable field of challengers including four former MGA Amateur champions: Jesse Bull, Golden Valley G&CC (2014); Dave Carothers, Wild Marsh GC (2017); Jon Dutoit, Chaska Town Course (2015); and Trent Peterson, Valleywood GC (2008).  
Should Holmgren successfully defend his title, it would be the eleventh time a champion has accomplished this remarkable achievement – the most recent being current PGA Tour player Tom Hoge, who won in 2009-2010, and before that, it was former Somerby golf professional, Dave Nordeen, who won in 1985-1986.  
Notable competitors in the field include the 2017 and 2019 Class AA High School individual champ, Cecil Belisle (Mississippi National); the 2019 Minnesota Boys' Junior PGA champ, Gunnar Broin (Chaska TC); the 2018 MGA Mid-Players’ (Match Play) and MPGA Mid-Public Links champ, Justin Burleson (Valleywood GC); the 2017 MPGA State Public Links champ, Joe Conzemius (Interlachen CC); the two-time Minnesota State Open champ (2016-2017), Ben Greve (Olympic Hills GC); the 2016 Class AA High School individual champ, Derek Hitchner (Minikahda Club); the 2019 MGA Players’ and 2016 Minnesota State Junior Boys’ champ, Andrew Israelson (Vintage at Staples); the 2016 MGA Mid-Players’ champ, Andy Jacobson (Eagle Creek GC); the 2011 Minnesota State Open champ, Troy Johnson (Medina G&CC); the 2014 MGA Players’ champ, Johnny Larson (Dacotah Ridge); the 2019 MGA Senior Players’ and 2018 MGA Senior Amateur champ, Jim Lehman (Windsong Farm); the 2018 Class AA High School individual champ, Tristan Nelko (Windsong Farm); the 2015 MGA Mid-Players’ champ, Joe O’Brien (Rush Creek GC); the 2019 MGA Players’ runner-up and 2019 Twin Cities champion, Parker Reddig (Hiawatha GC); the 2017 MGA Senior Players’ champ, Jerry Rose (Alexandria GC); six-time MGA Player of the Year, and the 2018 MGA Players’ champ, Sammy Schmitz (StoneRidge GC); the 2016 Class AAA High School individual champ, Ben Sigel (Windsong Farm); the 2019 Minnesota State Junior Boys’ champ, Ian Simonich (Moorhead CC); the 2016 and 2018 MPGA State Public Links champ, Max Tylke (Links at Northfork); and the 2019 MGA Players’ semi-finalist, Steve Whittaker (Pebble Creek GC).
CLUB TEAM EVENT – The MGA Amateur Championship includes a team competition during the first two rounds (MGA member clubs are represented by three or four golfers, whose low three scores are totaled). Ties are broken by a matching of scorecards, per the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, see Section 5A(6) of the Committee Procedures.  
Last year, Baker National GC (Van Holmgren, Will Holmgren and Tim McKenney) won with a two-day total of 440 (+8), one shot better than the Chaska Town Course team (Jacques Wilson, Gunnar Broin and Lincoln Johnson).    
COURSE SET UP – 7,209 yds, Par 36-36 – 72
Hole #1 – 565 yards, par 5         Hole #10 – 406 yards, par 4
Hole #2 – 374 yards, par 4         Hole #11 – 542 yards, par 5
Hole #3 – 417 yards, par 4         Hole #12 – 484 yards, par 4
Hole #4 – 610 yards, par 5         Hole #13 – 191 yards, par 3
Hole #5 – 210 yards, par 3         Hole #14 – 402 yards, par 4
Hole #6 – 433 yards, par 4         Hole #15 – 317 yards, par 4
Hole #7 – 398 yards, par 4         Hole #16 – 454 yards, par 4
Hole #8 – 186 yards, par 3         Hole #17 – 150 yards, par 3
Hole #9 – 480 yards, par 4         Hole #18 – 590 yards, par 5
Out   –   3,673 yds   Par 36         In     –    3,536 yds    Par 36
Course Rating/Slope Rating:  74.6/143
ELIGIBILITY – To enter the MGA Amateur Championship, a player must be an
associate member of the MGA (through membership of an MGA member club) and carry a USGA Handicap Index of 6.4 or lower at the time of entry. 
As of July 11, there are 89 players in the field with “plus” USGA Handicap Indexes (that is, having an index that is better than scratch), with Max Tylke, of the Links at Northfork, topping the list of competitors at +4.4.


Complete pairings and the notice to competitors are available online at
Founded in 1901, the Minnesota Golf Association is the governing body over amateur golf in the state, responsible for administering the Rules of Golf, and committed to uphold and promote the game of golf and its values for all golfers in Minnesota. The MGA conducts 23 major amateur championships and 14 USGA qualifying events each year. Thanks to the support of its member clubs and associate members, and the efforts of its volunteers and staff, the MGA provides a variety of services such as handicapping, course rating and measuring, an online golf news and information resource, mngolf.org, and an official publication, Minnesota Golfer magazine, which benefits all golfers throughout Minnesota.


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