Minnesota Golf Association

Christensen Cousins Break Tourney Record With 59 to Open MGA Amateur Four-Ball

September 7, 2020

By Nick Hunter
  HUTCHINSON, Minn. – Since 1962 only two teams have posted a round of 60 during the Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball Championship. On Monday, cousins David and Michael Christensen entered the record books by carding a tournament-record 12-under par 59 at Crow River Golf Club.
Despite cool and wet conditions during the opening round, the cousin combo combined for 10 birdies and an eagle, including a string of five straight birdies to close out the round, to take a seven-shot lead following the first day of competition.
“I think it’s a comfort level that we have playing together,” David Christensen said Monday. “We both know each other’s game so well that it’s almost like playing a practice round every time we play. It’s never a lot of stress, and that always helps, but from the X’s and O’s on the course, we play so differently, once he gets a round going like that, I just stay out of the way. The hole was like a bucket for him out there today."
“It went from a really nice round and being well-positioned, to a really special one,” Michael Christensen added. “To have the chance to come out on Wednesday and be in the final group and have a chance to win with my cousin—it’s tough to beat that.”
The top 14 teams from Monday’s field of 24 twosomes will advance to Wednesday’s final round, while 22 teams and ties from Tuesday’s 36-team field will also advance to the final 18 holes of play.
Going no more than two holes without at least a birdie Monday, Michael Christensen sank a 25-footer for eagle at the par-5 third hole to quickly move his team into red figures for the round.
“It’s nice to get started like that on a day like today. The faster you can get under par, the more you feel like you’re playing with the lead versus forcing it,” said Michael Christensen. “In general, at these events momentum is so key, especially on a day when the weather is less than good, you find the positives and keep your head down.”
The two traded birdies over the next four holes to turn in 6-under for the round before Michael Christensen sank a 6-footer for birdie at the 11th. Recording back-to-back pars at the 12th and 13th, the cousin tandem once again found their rhythm by recording birdies on each of their final five holes, highlighted by some late-round theatrics to post a 12-under 59.
“It almost felt like we stalled-out there in the middle of the round and after [No. 11], we said we better keep trying to make birdies here,” said David Christensen. “Then we got hot again at the end and it changed from a pretty good round to an exceptional round pretty fast.”
“The weather got bad out there so it was nice to have the fast start,” Michael Christensen said. “At the end, it was situation where we said let’s birdie two of the last four, then let’s birdie two of the last three. There were a couple of situations on the back where David was off the green and chipped up for a [tap in] and allowed me to make a 40-footer on 15 and then I chipped in on 17. That’s two shots you really don’t expect to make, but the four-ball format, I ultimately had the green light to go at it.
“From a best-ball perspective, there was never really a time where either of us were in trouble, so it frees you up stress-wise. We had stretches on the front and back where we both got hot.
Teaming up for the third time this week, the Christensens are looking to improve on their second-place finish in 2018 and Oak Ridge Golf Club. The cousins, both with MGA Amateur Championships to their credit, first played together at the 2011 championship at Oak Ridge, where they would finish in a tie for fifth.
David Christensen and partner Brian Thompson placed fourth at the 2014 championship at Pebble Creek Golf Club.
“We’ve played a lot of golf over the years. A lot of head-to-head stuff when we were kids, but a lot of friendly events, so we know each other’s games better than our own sometimes,” David Christensen said. “We talk each other through a lot of stuff and say the right things to each other in the right situations to kind of put our minds at ease. Best ball is always easy for us to pair up, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve played together.
“Wednesday we’ll just start over and wash it away. We’re not trying to replicate what we did today. There are a lot of players that can get hot and we just have to think about shooting another great score.”
Following Monday’s opening round, the Christensens hold a seven-stroke lead over the 2018 champs of Conzemius and Hickey, as well as the team of Nick Jarrett and Matthew Norgaard and the twosome of Alan Johnson and Ryan McDowell.
Conzemius and Hickey, who bettered the Christensen cousins by three strokes to hoist the hardware two seasons ago, carded four birdies against one bogey over the first nine holes Monday and would add another pair of birdies during their inward nine to earn a share of second after the first round of competition.
“I thought it was tough out there. It rained all day, it was cold and there were some really good pins out there. We made a sloppy bogey on five, but outside of that, it was pretty solid. We never really had to work too hard outside of the bogey,” Conzemius said. “If you told me at the start of the round that it was going to rain all day and we’d shoot 5-under, I’d take it.
“It’s a little discouraging to be seven strokes out of the lead, but you have to tip your cap to Mike and Dave and move on. It was hard playing in that rain. If you see someone get to 12-under in that weather—that’s incredible playing.”
Conzemius got the scoring started Monday, two-putting for birdie at the third before Hickey rolled in his birdie chance from 25 feet at the fourth. Following a bogey at the fifth, the two responded with birdies at the sixth and eighth to turn in minus-three.
“We chatted after nine and said [3-under] with a bogey is pretty good, but let’s see if we can get to five or six.”
“Our goal, as hard as it was raining, that’s what we were looking at. I wasn’t hitting the ball that great. It was the Joe Conzemius show once again and I climbed on and let my captain go to work,” Hickey joked following Monday’s round. “I played a lot better on the back side, but we played well, overall.”
Jarrett and Norgaard carded five birdies during their opening round Monday for a bogey-free 66, while Johnson and McDowell overcame a pair of bogeys during their outward nine to manage a round of 5-under 66 to sit tied for second.
The 59th MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship continues Tuesday with tee times beginning at 10 a.m. at Crow River Golf Club.


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