Borgen Goes the Distance, Defeats Winter in Playoff to Win Minnesota Golf Champions

October 2, 2022
By Nick Hunter

  ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – While he’s collected more than 35 victories at Minnesota PGA section events over the past 16 seasons, Chris Borgen’s most significant win came Sunday at Minneapolis Golf Club.

The 50-year-old Borgen posted a final-round 72 before sinking a four-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat amateur Brock Winter at the 48th Minnesota Golf Champions, becoming the oldest player to win the tournament since John Harris won in 2008 at age 55.

“This is the biggest win I’ve had,” Borgen said Sunday. “I expected to play well—I know I have it in me and I know how to do it, I just haven’t had the game for a while.

“I was looking to keep doing what I had been doing the first two days. I didn’t hit the ball particularly well today, but my short game was pretty good. I felt like I had it fairly easy with a [few holes] to go, but made it sort of stressful at the end.”

Opening the championship with a 4-under 68 Friday, Borgen carded a bogey-free 69 during Saturday’s second round to extend his lead to three strokes entering Sunday’s final round.

Steady once again to begin the final round, Borgen was seemingly on his way to another stress-free round by carding two birdies against one bogey during his opening nine to turn in 8-under for the championship.

Rolling in birdies at the 12th and 14th holes, Borgen moved to 10-under for the tournament before losing momentum by taking bogey at the par-5 15th.

A poor chip at the 16th led to a three-putt for double-bogey as Borgen watched his lead cut to one shot with two holes to play.

Winter matched Borgen at 7-under with his birdie at the 17th and the two would both two-putt for par at the last to force a two-way playoff.

Hitting his second just short of the first green with his second shot during the playoff, Borgen chipped his third to four feet and buried his birdie chance to clinch the championship.

“I scored well this week; I stayed below the hole and didn’t make any bogeys the first two rounds—one double,” Borgen said. “Today, I just stayed away from making bogeys and didn’t get above the hole. This course, if you get in the wrong spots, you can really screw it up. Having played it a lot, I missed it in the right spots."

A former University of Houston golfer, Borgen entered the 2022 campaign after a two-win season in 2021. Starting 34 events this season, he claimed 13 top-10 finishes while collecting more than $15,000 in winnings.

Borgen has earned at least one win in 13 of his last 16 seasons in the Minnesota section.

Winter, a junior at North Dakota State University, bounced back from his opening-round 72 Friday by firing a 4-under 68 during Saturday’s second round to enter the final 18 holes three shots off the lead.

Looking to close the gap early Sunday, Winter carded two birdies during his first four holes to pull within two shots of the lead at 6-under.

Unable to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the sixth, Winter gave back a stroke, but would make a charge late during his opening nine with back-to-back birdies at the seventh and eighth to reach 7-under for the tournament.

Winter would stumble early during his inward nine with bogeys at the 10th and 11th, but found his footing by converting his birdie chance at the 12th.

Capitalizing on a birdie chance from six feet at the 14th, Winter moved back to 7-under, but failed to make up ground on Borgen, who extended his lead to three.

Despite a three-putt bogey at the 16th, Winter earned a share of the lead following late struggles by Borgen, rolling in a 15-footer for birdie at the 17th. He would make par at the last to force extra holes.

Chipping his third over the green during the playoff, Winter hit a delicate chip to three feet, leaving a short par putt before Borgen rolled in his birdie putt for the win.

“I’m happy to be in the spot I was in,” Winter said following his round Sunday. “I was playing some scrappy golf this week, but my short game came along and threw me into contention. I knew to trust the putter and things just fell into place. I just came up a hair short.

“I’ve been playing well. I was not a big believer in my short game coming in, but it saved me this week. I look forward to getting back to Fargo and playing the rest of the fall and, hopefully, throw myself into contention again.”

After winning the Class AAA individual title to cap off his senior season at Stillwater High School, Winter won the 2019 Lyle Cran Shortstop Tournament at Stillwater Country Club.

Winter won a second Lyle Cran Shortstop last month, defeating Trent Peterson during the championship match.

During his sophomore season for the Bison last year, Winter notched three top-5 finishes, including his first collegiate victory at the Stampede at the Creek, and finished second on the team in stroke average (72.94).

For his efforts, Winter was named First Team All-Summit League.

A string of three consecutive birdies lifted former University of Minnesota golfer Thomas Campbell into contention late, but the professional was unable to convert a birdie chance on the final hole to join Borgen and Winter in a playoff at 7-under 209.

Campbell carded a final-round 70 to finish third at 6-under 210.

A pair of late bogeys thwarted 2006 champion Jeff Sorenson’s chances Sunday as he posted a round of 1-under 71 to finish in fourth place at 4-under 212.

The 49th Minnesota Golf Champions will be contested at Golden Valley Country Club.



THE 48TH MINNESOTA GOLF CHAMPIONS
MINNEAPOLIS GOLF CLUB
ST. LOUIS PARK, MINN.
7,045 YARDS, PAR 72


SUNDAY’S FINAL RESULTS

1. Chris Borgen (p), Lost Spur GC, 68-69-72—209 (won playoff)
2. Brock Winter, Indian Hills GC, 72-68-69—209
3. Thomas Campbell (p), 2nd Swing, 71-69-70—210
4. Jeff Sorenson (p), Minikahda Club, 72-69-71—212
T5. Michael Schmitz (p), 2nd Swing, 72-71-70—213
T5. Nate Adams, Rush Creek GC, 75-68-70—213
T7. Eric Rolland (p), Augsburg College, 76-69-71—216
T7. Andrew Israelson (p), Bemidji T&C, 73-72-71—216
T9. Angus Flanagan (p), University GC, 73-73-71—217
T9. Lucas Johnson (p), Suite Shots, 67-74-74—217


For complete tournament results go to: https://mnpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpga22/event/mnpga2230/contest/5/leaderboard.htm

 

Nick Hunter

Nick Hunter is entering his tenth season covering golf in Minnesota as news editor for the MGA's website. He resides in New Prague with his wife, Amber, and two sons.

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