Minnesota Golf Association

A 66 Puts Emily and Andrew Israelson on Top of Leaderboard to Open MGA Mixed Team Championship

July 2, 2018

By Nick Hunter
  FOREST LAKE, Minn. – Fueled by an eagle on the 14th hole Monday, the brother and sister team of Andrew and Emily Israelson posted a 7-under par 65 to take an early lead following the opening round of the play at the 28th Minnesota Golf Association Mixed Amateur Team Championship at Forest Hills Golf Club.
In search of their first victory in three appearances as a twosome at the event, the Israelsons enter Tuesday’s final round with a two-shot advantage over 2009 champions Leigh Klasse and J.T. Johnson when the format switches from standard four-ball to a Modified Chapman alternate shot Tuesday.
“We left a couple out there, but we hit the ball well and we didn’t fight,” Andrew Israelson said Tuesday. “A couple of the pin placements got us. They were a little closer to the edge that we were expecting.”
“A few of the pin placements on the front we had wedges in and fought them off—that kind of hurt us, but we didn’t make any bogeys,” Emily Israelson said. “I think the tee shots for the men set up really well. I felt like we were back with [the men’s tees] quite a bit.”
Emily Israelson started the scoring at the par-3 third hole, sticking her approach to four feet and converting her birdie putt before her brother carded birdie at the fourth hole to put the two at 3-under for the championship.
Keeping a bogey off the scorecard by sinking her par putt at the par-5, Emily Israelson took a jab at her brother, who flew the green and failed to get up-and-down to save par.
“[Andrew] airmailed the green on the back pin, so that was our only tiff and then he came back and birdied nine, so that was good.”
Rebounding on the ensuing hole, Andrew Israelson got a fortuitous bounce from the trees as his ball stopped 10 feet from the pin, where he would make birdie to put his team at 4-under with nine holes to play.
Finding the green in two at the par-5 14th, Andrew Israelson rolled in a 40-footer for eagle and the two would finish the day at 7-under par following an easy birdie at the 17th.
Despite the format change to alternate shot during Tuesday’s final round, Andrew Israelson felt the change could benefit his team.
“I think we’ll be better tomorrow—I feel like I’m a pretty good long-iron player,” he said. “We need to keep the ball in front of us tomorrow and we both drive it pretty straight.”
Playing in their third championship together, the Israelsons are looking to become the third brother and sister tandem to win the championship. Alissa and Tim Herron claimed the championship in 1993 and again two years later. Betsy and Mark Aldrich claimed the title in 2007, the last time Forest Hills hosted the tournament.
The Israelsons placed fourth a year ago at Chaska Town Course, but took second in 2015 at Oak Glen Golf Club, four shots back of Cassie Deeg and Dominic Kieffer. Emily Israelson and partner Dakota Waverek placed second in 2016, falling in a playoff to Trent Peterson and Olivia Herrick at Valleywood Golf Course.
Klasse and Johnson, who won the 2009 tournament by three shots in 2009 at Medina Golf and Country Club, quickly moved to 2-under after rolling in a pair of short birdie putts by Klasse at the fifth and sixth holes before Johnson rolled in his birdie look at the ninth to turn at 3-under.
Carding birdie at the par-5 14th, the twosome moved to 4-under and would post a bogey-free 68 to sit in second place after 18 holes, two shots off the lead.
“We did a good job of covering each other—when one was in trouble, the other came through. I had some bogeys and he had some bogeys, but nothing on the team card,” Klasse said Monday. “I’m pretty happy with 68—I think it’s a good score out here today. The greens are running pretty fast and if you’re above the hole, you can easily putt it off the green.
“Tomorrow we have to make a few more putts. Neither one of us remembered the course all that well. Today was sort of our practice round, and now we know where we’ve got to be because there are a lot of doglegs out there. You’ve got to be in the right spots off the tee.”
The 28th MGA Mixed Amateur Team Championship concludes Tuesday, with the final round slated to begin at 8 a.m. at Forest Hills Golf Club.
6,514 YARDS, PAR 72 (MEN)
5,794 YARDS, PAR 72 (WOMEN)
1. Israelson/Israelson, 33-33—66
2. Klasse/Johnson, 33-35—68  
T3. Tollette/Anderson, 35-34—69  
T3. Aldrich/Aldrich, 35-34—69
T3. Hankinson/Hankinson, 32-37—69
T3. Anderson/Burleson, 34-35—69
T3. Kim/Anderson, 35-34—69   
T8. Guggisberg/Stensrud, 35-35—70
T8. Stuckey/Stuckey, 36-34—70
T10. Herrick/Peterson, 36-35—71
T10. Yang/Jensen, 35-36—71

Download Full Results: media email - mixed.pdf

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