Brellenthin and Peterson Share MGA Senior Four-Ball Lead with Lehman and Rose
September 12, 2023 | 4 min.
By Nick Hunter
WILLMAR, Minn. – A total of five teams have claimed back-to-back titles at the Minnesota Golf Association Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship since the tournament began in 1974.
Firing a 7-under 65 Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Club, John Brellenthin and Tim Peterson look to become the sixth team to successfully repeat as the defending champions earned a share of the first-round lead with 2019 champions Jim Lehman and Jerry Rose.
“We matched up pretty well today and we didn’t go backwards at any point,” Peterson said following the opening round Tuesday. “We actually left a few out there with a few three-putts on par-5s, but we just want to be in the mix tomorrow.”
“Tim played really well and hit a lot of good shots,” added the 2021 MGA Senior Amateur winner Brellenthin. “He played alone on about 12 holes, so I’d like to help a little more tomorrow, but it’s hard to help a guy who’s 5-under.”
Former roommates and teammates at the University of Minnesota, Brellenthin and Peterson edged J.T. Johnson and Tom Whaley in a playoff to claim the 2022 championship at The Jewel Golf Club, locking up MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year honors for Brellenthin—one year after Peterson claimed the award.
On Tuesday, Brellenthin and Peterson combined for three birdies during their front nine to turn in 3-under before Peterson’s two-putt birdie at the short par-4 11th.
Brellenthin stepped in and rolled in his birdie chance from over 20 feet at the 12th to help his team to 5-under for the round.
Peterson reciprocated by converting his birdie chance from 12 feet at the 14th before both carded birdies at the 17th to earn a share of the clubhouse lead with Lehman and Rose at 7-under 65.
“It was a little damp this morning, so playing in the afternoon tomorrow, I think the course will be a little firmer,” Peterson said looking forward to Wednesday’s final round.
“The golf course is really fun to play—you’ve got to hit every club in your bag,” Brellenthin said, “if you hit good shots, it’s pretty straight forward, but if you get out of position, it’s not easy to make par.”
Lehman and Rose, who claimed a two-stroke victory over Johnson and Whaley on Lehman’s home course at Windsong Farm four seasons ago, got off to a fast start Tuesday with four birdies over their first eight holes, turning in 4-under for the day.
“We didn’t have a lot of stress today, which was good,” said Rose, the current points leader who’s closing in on a fifth MGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year nod. “There’s usually a little bit of that.
“Jerry started strong with three birdies on the front,” Lehman said. “On the back, we just kept it going. Always nice to have Jerry as a partner and rely on his steady game to keep up in there.”
The two converted a birdie chance at the 12th before Lehman dropped a 30-foot bender at the 14th to put the two at 6-under for the tournament.
A final birdie at the 17th put Lehman and Rose into a share of the lead as they look for their second win in four seasons.
“We’re hoping to play well tomorrow and get off to a decent start,” Rose said. “The course is tricky—it’s not long, but if you’re in the wrong spot on the tee, it’s pretty tough. It’s not about hitting it long out here. The key is keeping it in play, so you’ve got two shots at it.”
“A little knowledge of the golf course under our belt with help tomorrow,” said Lehman, “we’ve both played here before, but it’s been a while.”
Dave Haslerud and Matt Yeager, the most recent team to win consecutive championships, claiming the 2020 tournament at Southern Hills Golf Course and again in 2021 at Southview Country Club, will begin Wednesday’s final 18 holes one shot back of the lead after carding an opening-round 66—despite taking a two-stroke penalty at the par-4 ninth.
The twosome bounced back by dropping a pair of birdie chances early on their back nine before closing out with three consecutive birdies to sit tied for third with the team of Reed Kolquist and John Spreiter.
The team of Bart Bradford and Rick Frieburg posted a tally of 5-under 67 Tuesday to sit tied for fifth with the pairing of Michael and Patrick Smith, while five teams will begin the final round three shots off the lead at 4-under 66.
The final round of the 50th MGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship gets underway at 8 a.m. at Eagle Creek Golf Club.