Minnesota Golf Association

Amateurs Win Sixth Straight by Pummeling Pros at MGA/PGA Cup Matches

May 29, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The winning trend continued Wednesday for the Minnesota Golf Association at the 43rd playing of the MGA/PGA Cup Matches, as the amateurs downed the professionals in a convincing 28-12 victory at Minnesota Valley Country Club.
The win Wednesday is the sixth consecutive victory for the MGA, who have now won seven of the last eight championships. The Minnesota PGA still holds the overall lead at 27-14-2, but the victory Wednesday is the largest margin of victory for the MGA since the tournament changed to a 40-point championship in 2007. Previously, the largest margin of victory for the amateurs came in 2005, when the MGA posted a 16-point victory, 32-16 at Chaska Town Course.
Defending MGA Amateur champion Van Holmgren recorded an early point Wednesday when he dispatched one of the PGA’s top players in Brent Snyder, 3 and 2. Holmgren, who recently finished his sophomore season at North Dakota State University, said he was unfazed by his unfamiliarity with the course as well as facing one of the state’s strongest golfers.
“I was thinking birdies—attack the course. I haven’t made any mistakes on this course before, so I had nothing to worry about,” Holmgren said following his performance Wednesday. “[In match play] I always try to play the course. There are a lot of mental games you can play, but you end up distracting yourself. If I play as well as I can play, then I don’t think anyone’s going to beat me, and that should be everyone else’s mindset as well."
Carding birdies at his first two holes Wednesday, Holmgren jumped out to the early lead before Snyder countered with a birdie at the fourth. While Snyder looked to keep pace with Holmgren with a birdie at the fifth, the match tipped to the former Wayzata High School standout when Holmgren holed his eagle putt to regain a 2-up lead.
“Beating someone when they have a birdie—it’s very tough to come back after that. That’s when the foot hit the gas pedal,” Holmgren said.
Taking a 3-up lead to the back nine, Holmgren’s two birdies and one bogey was good enough to close out the match with a victory at the 16th, 3 and 2.
“I usually don’t play in enough events to qualify for this event, but I’ve always wanted to play in it. Thankfully the [MGA Amateur] helped last year.”
Holmgren’s fellow Bison teammate Andrew Israelson showed little mercy against his opponent, father Bill Israelson, Wednesday as the younger Israelson shrugged off an early deficit, rolling in a string of three birdies in a five-hole span to cruise to victory, 5 and 4.
“It went well—it’s nice to play him one time,” a grinning Bill Israelson said after his match Wednesday. “We’ve played a few smaller [Lyle Cran Shortstop] tournaments when he was younger. I hit the ball pretty well, so I was happy with that, but my putting was suspect. He was a leaky at the start but then he started playing really well.”
“I started hitting the ball and putting it in better spots,” Andrew said of his early string of birdies to turn the match in his favor.
Wednesday’s result may put to rest some friendly banter between father and son as Bill has held a head-to-head advantage entering the event Wednesday.
“There was some trash talking only because at Bemidji Town and Country Club, where I grew up and now where he plays at a lot, he did not beat me one time last year after he trashed talked about beating his dad all the time,” Bill said, which was adamantly denied by his son. “I did beat him the first time of the year up there again.
“The trash talking beforehand was because I was joking that I was going to play him and he goes, ‘They don’t allow wrinkly, old men in these kinds of tournaments.’”
Andrew Israelson and partner Ben Sigel teamed up to earn all four points against the elder Israelson and partner Scott McDonald.
Partners, and teammates at Bradley University, Taylor Ledwein and Megan Welch collected all four points in their respective matches against the PGA’s Angie Ause and Kathy Swanson. The women from the MGA provided a clean sweep as 2018 MGA Mid-Amateur champion Jasi Acharya and partner, defending MGA Senior Women’s Match Play champion Betsy Aldrich, added another four points, including the overall match-clinching win in four-ball over Kellie Hoiness and Taylor Ramirez.
The twosome of Dale Jones and Mike Barge provided a small spark for the professionals Wednesday as the two collected all four points against the amateur pairing of 2009 Senior Open and MPGA Senior Public Links winner John Anderson and defending Senior Players’ champion David Rehfeldt.
The PGA pairing of Don Berry and Eric Chiles also provided 3 ½ points with a pair of wins by Chiles and Berry’s halve with Troy Johnson in singles play.
The 44th MGA/PGA Cup Matches will be contested at Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville, Minn.

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