Minnesota Golf Association

Christensen Combo Cruise to MGA Four-Ball Title

September 10, 2020


By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  HUTCHINSON, Minn. – After setting a tournament-record with a round of 59 to begin the 59th Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball Championship on Monday, cousins David and Michael Christensen tied another tournament record, a 36-hole aggregate score of 125, most recently achieved when the twosome of Jesse Polk and Sammy Schmitz won in 2014.
 
A final-round 66 Wednesday at Crow River Golf Club allowed the Christensens to run away from the field with a sizable seven-stroke victory over Polk and Schmitz.
 
“What golf has brought to our family—we grew up playing and love tournament golf,” Michael Christensen said Wednesday. “As you get older, you cherish the opportunity to play with loved ones. It’s our competitive nature to want to win and get your name on the plaque and have that there. It’s nice to check that box.”
 
“This trophy has been around forever. To have such a great round, to be in contention and to win it and have our names on it together—the Christensen name—it doesn’t get any better,” David Christensen added. “It’s one of those things that’s a milestone for me to have my name on that trophy.”
 
The Christensen cousins entered Wednesday’s final round five strokes ahead of the team of Bradley Wohlers and Topher Baron, and got to work quickly despite poor conditions for the third consecutive round when David Christensen rolled in his birdie chance from four feet at the third to move to 13-under for the tournament.
 
In trouble seldomly this week, Michael Christensen missed his par putt from 10 feet after his teammate failed to save par from 12 feet at the par-4 fourth for the twosome’s first bogey of the week.
 
Following back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth holes, the two stared down bogey for a second time Wednesday before Michael Christensen buried his putt from 12 feet to save par at the eighth and remain four shots ahead of Polk and Schmitz.
 
With David out of the 12th after finding the water with his second, Michael answered by sinking a 12-footer for birdie to push the two to 15-under.
 
“When [Michael] made his birdie on 12 is when I felt like the pressure was off,” said David Christensen. “Things could’ve gone dramatically different had that putt not gone in. The wheels were kind of dragging along a little bit. I felt like we got the momentum back a little bit on that hole.”
 
Already up by five over Polk and Schmitz, the Christensens added birdies at the 14th and 15th holes to post a final-round 66 to tie the low round for the day, while cruising to a seven-shot victory at 17-under 125.
 
“When we look back at some of the great teams over the years that have played really well in competitive four-ball, it’s the people that have played a ton of golf together,” David said. “Many times, two really good players in the state pair up together and it doesn’t work out the same way. It has a lot to do with the chemistry and the trust you have in your partner."
 
“The first 10 holes were not as easy as it had been,” Michael said. “On Monday we were both in the hole at the same time and never came close to making bogey. Today, there was a deal where one of us had to step up. Some of those hole locations were tricky, and with the lead, it allowed us to play to the safe side instead of taking those chances. We were able to let the round come to us a little bit versus having to force it.”
 
Michael, who won the Northland Invitational three weeks ago, claims his first state championship since 2017, when he defeated Trent Peterson in a playoff at the Minnesota Public Golf Association State Mid Public Links Championship at Highland National Golf Course.
 
A Grand Rapids, Minn., product, Michael played with current PGA Tour player Kevin Streelman at Duke University, where he remains tied for third in program history for career tournaments played. He led the 1997-98 team in low-stroke average and sits inside the program’s top-10 for number of rounds in the 60’s.
 
 After graduating in 2000, Christensen turned professional and played on multiple mini tours, but would find more success as a caddie for his former teammate Streelman from 2008 to 2010. Michael made one appearance on the PGA Tour, the 2001 John Deere Classic, finishing tied for 47th. He began playing as an amateur once again in 2009.
 
Owner of 13 wins statewide, Christensen's victories include a pair of Class AA individual titles, as well as the 1995 MGA Amateur at Alexandria Golf Club.  
 
“I love competing like this. When you play poorly, now you just go home and get back to life,” the 43-year-old Michael Christensen said Wednesday. “When you play poorly professionally, the next day you’re on the range and you’re not sleeping because you’re trying to figure it out. It’s nice to be able to have both."  
 
A native of Elk River, Minn., 44-year-old David Christensen most recently captured the MPGA Combination Championship in 2011 at Bunker Hills. He was a member of the 1993 MGA Junior Team champions and won the 1997 MGA Amateur Championship at Wayzata Country Club. He added a MGA Players’ Championship win to his resume the following year, defeating Mitch Thornell at Golden Valley Country Club.
 
After graduating from East Tennessee State University in 1999, Christensen spent the better part of six years on both the Canadian and Nationwide Tours, playing in a pair of PGA Tour events, both at the Bell Canadian Open in 2001 and 2002. He began playing amateur golf once again in 2007.
 
“I’ve never looked back,” David said of his professional career, “I don’t miss those days—they were fun, but I don’t miss them.”
 
Polk and Schmitz played their opening nine in 3-under, highlighted by Polk’s 45-foot putt for eagle at the sixth before giving back a stroke with a bogey at the ninth. The former champions bounced back with a birdie at the 11th, but it was all the closer they could get to the surging cousin twosome. Polk and Schmitz followed their opening-round 65 with a 4-under 67 Wednesday to finish second at 10-under 132.
 
Former University of Minnesota Golf Noah Rasinski and former Winona State University golfer Michael Schmitz posted a final-round 66 to finish alone in third place at 134, while defending champions Ryan Conn and Hunter Rebrovich finished in a tie for fourth with 2018 champions Joe Conzemius and Will Hickey at 6-under 136.


 


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