Minnesota Golf Association

Peterson Nearly Flawless to Win Third MGA Mid-Amateur in Four Seasons

September 2, 2020

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  DULUTH, Minn. – Defending Minnesota Golf Association Men’s Player of the Year Trent Peterson is accustomed to being chased by his fellow competitors, and following his second consecutive round of 71 Monday, Peterson enjoyed a one-stroke advantage entering Tuesday’s final round of the 33rd MGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Northland Country Club.
 
In search of his second win of the season, Peterson’s approach to navigating the difficult conditions at Northland to remain ahead of the field was simple: “Par is good out here; par is your friend.”
 
Peterson executed his plan admirably Tuesday by firing a final-round 72, despite a double-bogey finish to claim a one-stroke victory over two-time champion Troy Johnson as Peterson becomes the fourth player in tournament history to claim three titles, winning three of the last four championships.
 
“I played great, but I putted phenomenally—that’s what it was,” said Peterson, who collected his 29th state victory Tuesday. “I hit the driver great and irons were okay, but it didn’t matter because no matter where I put it, I chipped and made the putt. I had some great two-putts and I was making five and 8-footers for par. I putted fantastic for 16 holes.
 
“It’s nice because I haven’t been able to play as much as I would like and to be able to still play well is satisfying. We played a great golf course this week—I love this golf course, and against a great field. To be able to hold them off is amazing.”
 
Beginning at 11th hole of his second round at Northland Monday, Peterson played 27 consecutive holes without a bogey before his tee shot at the par-3 17th rolled over the green, where he’d be unable to save par from six feet for his first blemish of the final round Tuesday.
 
“I hit a great tee shot on 17. It was 167 yards and I hit my 170 club into the wind, thinking it would be middle of the green and it landed pin-high. I hit it perfect. I hit an okay chip and then played too much break on the putt,” said Peterson of his first bogey of the final round.
 
Standing over his tee shot at the 54th and final hole with a three-stroke advantage Tuesday, Peterson was reminded of his drive at the 18th in the final match of the 2008 Players’ Championship at Northland that nearly cost him the championship.
 
“I smothered my tee shot left. That was 12 years ago and I’m standing there thinking, ‘Don’t smother it.’ That’s a terrible swing thought and I blocked it out right. I made a mental error—only one of the day, but I should’ve just stopped.”
 
Similar to his 2008 match against Tom Jenkins, Peterson was fortunate to hang on to earn the victory, making a double-bogey Tuesday to edge Johnson and finish at 2-over 214.
 
With a win at the Minnesota Public Golf Association State Mid Public Links Championship at Valleywood Golf Course earlier this season, the 33-year-old Peterson extended his streak of at least one state win each season since he regained his amateur status in 2013.
 
Lightening his competitive golf schedule since enrolling at the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia last year, Peterson has maintained his high level of play despite rarely having time to work on his golf game. In five events this season, Peterson won twice with four top-5 finishes.
 
“I usually play better the more I play and as the tournament goes on. From round one to round three, I played way better. I get in that rhythm and understand what my swing is doing—that’s how I practice.”
 
During the final round Tuesday, Peterson rolled in two birdies on his front nine, but recovered with four putts over three feet to save par and remain on top of the leaderboard. Peterson created separation from Andy Jacobson and Johnson when he sank an 8-footer for par at the 10th.
 
He would roll in a delicate par putt at the 11th before getting up-and-down after missing the green left at the par-3 12th. The crucial point of the final round came at the par-4 13th where Peterson found trouble off the tee and was forced to punch out. Left with a 12-footer from off the front edge, Peterson drilled his par putt to maintain a two-stroke lead.
 
“It’s a hard course and I knew I had to be consistent,” Peterson said. “It’s a marathon not a sprint, and I stayed below the hole and made par. I had some long putts, but I was below the hole. I had so much confidence in the putter today.”
 
A pair of late bogeys proved costly for Johnson Tuesday as he was denied his third win at the event by posting a 1-over par 72 to claim a runner-up finish at 3-over 215.
 
“It was kind of a Jekyll and Hyde round—I was making some birdies and some bogeys, but just couldn’t keep stringing a solid round together,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I didn’t feel totally comfortable today because I haven’t played that much to really get in the groove.
 
“I’m happy with the tournament and I think I did a little bit of everything. I putted well at times and hit some good irons. If I was a little more consistent, I think I would’ve been a lot better.”
 
Johnson carded three birdies against three bogeys on his front nine, unable to make up any ground on Peterson, but would chip in for birdie at the par-5 11th to pull within two. Bogeys at the 13th and at the last would send Johnson away with his third runner-up finish at the championship.
 
After earning his first victory at the 2010 championship at Minneapolis Golf Club, Johnson claimed a second victory in 2014 at Chaska Town Course.
 
Entering the final round tied with Johnson and Joe Conzemius one shot back at 2-over, Jacobson played a spectacular front nine, rolling in three birdies to share the lead with Peterson until the inward nine.
 
Jacobson, a winner of 10 championships in Minnesota, would stumble down the stretch by carding five bogeys over his final nine to card a final-round 73 for a fourth-place finish at 4-over 216.
 
“It was going great on the front, but three-putting [No. 11] really put me behind the eight ball against Trent because he just doesn’t make mistakes,” Jacobson said Tuesday. “When he made that putt from off the green at 13, that was a game changer. I felt like I was still in it and I was trying to be aggressive down the stretch, but that can backfire on these pins.”
 
Using 21 putts during his final round Tuesday, 61-year-old David Haslerud carded an even par 71 to finish in fourth place at 5-over 217. Haslerud, winner of the MGA Senior Amateur Championship in 2017, paired up with Matt Yeager last month and fired back-to-back rounds of 63 to claim the MGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at Southern Hills Golf Course.
 
 


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