Minnesota Golf Association

Former MGA Amateur Champ Bull Has Sights Set on Mid-Amateur Title

September 12, 2017

By Nick Hunter

  WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. – Posting a round of even par 71 Tuesday at Southview Country Club, Jesse Bull positioned himself to collect his third state amateur golf victory over the past four seasons.

Bull held off Erik Christopherson on his home course of Golden Valley Golf and Country Club to win the Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship in 2014 before teaming up with Andrew McCain to win the 2016 MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Edina Country Club.

Opening the 30th MGA Mid-Amateur Championship with a round of 2-under par 69 Monday, Bull carded an even par 71 Tuesday and will begin final round with a one-stroke advantage over Andy Jacobson and Scott Fenwick.

“I’d like to be a little more consistent tomorrow, fairways to greens,” Bull said ahead of Wednesday’s final 18 holes. “I hope to have a better feel—I felt really good putting the last six or seven holes today—my reads were better and pace was better.

“The key tomorrow is to be consistent and hope that my ball flight is still there.”

Bull started the second round Tuesday by rolling in a four-footer for birdie, but would give back a shot with bogey at the second. Carding a second bogey at the fourth after finding the water, Bull dropped to 1-under for the championship, but converted a short birdie chance at the sixth to get back to 2-under.

Unable to get up-and-down for par at the seventh, Bull then let a short birdie chance at the ninth slip away to turn at 1-under for the tournament. Bull put his tee shot at the 10th to eight feet and sank his putt to get back to 2-under, but again gave back a stroke with a bogey at the 12th.

A crucial par came at the par-4 16th when after finding the water from the tee, Bull hit his third from 180 yards to four feet and made his putt to save par to remain at 1-over for the round.

Bull lipped an eagle putt at the par-5 17th, tapping in for birdie before sinking a four foot comebacker to save par after lipping another short birdie chance at the 18th. He would finish the day even and in sole possession of the lead at 2-under par 140 with 18 holes to play.

“I was happy with my finish, other than it being a little frustrating at the end. It could’ve been a really strong finish, but ended up being a good finish,” Bull said Tuesday. “I just couldn’t hold it under par.

“It was a grind. I’ve played out here, but I couldn’t remember a handful of holes. The greens were tricky and tough to read. I didn’t make anything that I shouldn’t have, but I’m hitting the ball good and staying out of trouble.”

Jacobson, of Eagle Creek Golf Club, opened the championship with a round of 71 at Dakota Pines Monday and got started quickly Tuesday, sticking his approach at the opening hole inside of three feet, but would draw even for the day with a bogey at the 216-yard fifth.

The 2016 MGA Mid-Players’ champion turned at 1-under for the round after his second birdie of the day at the par-4 eighth. A pulled tee shot left of the par-3 10th led to a double-bogey for Jacobson, but he bounced right back by hitting his approach inside of two feet at the 11th, converting birdie to go to 1-under for the championship.

Playing the par-3’ at 4-over Tuesday, Jacobson fell back to even for the championship with a bogey at the par-3 15th, but finished on a high note by converting his birdie look at the par-5 17th to post a 71 to finish 36 holes on top of the leader board at 1-under par 141.

“I had some looks, but I also had some testy par putts that I was very happy to make. On some of these greens, if you’re on the wrong side, you can’t stop the ball. I had some good five-foot, six-foot par putts,” Jacobson said Tuesday. “I feel comfortable out here and I’m looking forward to coming back tomorrow. You need to hit the ball in the fairway to have some looks, if you don’t you’re going to be in trouble.

“The par-3’s had my number today. I was happy with the way I hit the ball, but I’d like to see a few more putts go in. I need to fine-tune some mid-irons because those par-3’s are important out here.”

Fenwick opened the championship Monday with an unassuming round of 75 at Dakota Pines Golf Club Monday before switching venues to his home course at Southview Tuesday, resulting in the lowest round over the first 36-holes of competition at 5-under par 66.

Rolling in birdies early and often, Fenwick carded four red numbers over his first six holes Tuesday to quickly jump up the leader board to even par for the championship, turning at 4-under for the round.

Fenwick had a minor setback with bogey at the 11th, but birdied his final two holes, playing the par-5’s at 4-under during the final round, to finish in a tie for second with Jacobson at 141, just one shot off the lead.

The 30th MGA Mid-Amateur Championship concludes Wednesday with final-round tee times beginning at 8 a.m. at Southview Country Club.


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