Haslerud and Yeager Win Back-to-Back MGA Senior Four-Ball Titles
September 21, 2021
By Nick Hunter
By Nick Hunter
WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. – For a second consecutive season, the Minnesota Golf Association Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship was decided at the 18th hole of the final round, and for the second consecutive season, the team of David Haslerud and Matthew Yeager came away victorious.
Posting a 2-under 69 Tuesday at Southview Country Club, Haslerud and Yeager escaped with a one-stroke victory at the 48th edition of the championship despite final-round charges by the teams of Jim Lehman and Jerry Rose, John Brellenthin and Tim Peterson and John Mugford and Jon Freeman.
Haslerud and Yeager become the first players since Jerry Gruidl and Robert Leaf in 2003 to successfully defend their title, tallying a 36-hole total of 8-under 134.
“Last year was special because of our big comeback. We were four down with six to go and we thought if we could get a couple birdies, maybe we could finish second,” Haslerud recalled Tuesday. “To come back was so exciting. This year, there’s expectations being at your home course. We played really well and it was just good enough. A great way to end the year.”
“This win means a lot. I love golf and I hate golf,” Yeager joked after earning his fourth state victory Tuesday. “It probably hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s really cool.”
Haslerud sank his birdie putt on the 17th hole during the final round of last year’s championship at Southern Hills Golf Club to put him and Yeager up by two strokes over Lehman and Rose before Rose’s eagle chance on the final hole came up short, tapping in for birdie to come up one shot shy of Haslerud and Yeager.
During Tuesday’s final round, both Peterson and Brellenthin had birdie opportunities to earn a share of the lead, but both were unable to convert, while Rose’s birdie chance from 10 feet at the last missed on the high side of the cup, giving Haslerud and Yeager another one-stroke victory.
“The comfort of playing on the home course was the biggest key for me,” Haslerud said. “Playing at Minikahda for the [MGA Senior Amateur], there was always uncertainty about what club to hit and how far to hit it. Here, I just felt a lot more comfortable—what shots to hit, where to hit them and how the putts were going to break.”
Haslerud notched his third state victory Tuesday, winning his first at the MGA Senior Amateur Championship at Island View Golf Club in 2017. Over the past five seasons, Haslerud has finished inside the top-10 nine times at state championships.
Yeager’s first state championship win came in 1999 at the MGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship, when he teamed up with J.B. Lloyd for a victory at Olympic Hills Golf Club. It wasn’t until 2008 when he captured his next win at the Northland Invitational at Northland Country Club.
“It’s been a little bit since I’ve played here, so I don’t remember all of the nuances. I’m still a little comfortable with it and knew some yardages,” said Yeager, a former Southview member who now plays at Minnesota Valley Country Club. “Playing with David was the biggest key—every drive is good and even when he missed a green, he’s going to get it up and in. He hits every shot down the middle and he’s never out of a hole.”
Posting a 6-under 65 during Monday’s opening round, Haslerud and Yeager carried a slim one-stroke victory to the final round and got off to a quick start for the second straight round, sinking three birdie putts over their first six holes to move to 9-under for the championship.
Bouncing back from a bogey at the par-4 11th hole Tuesday, Haslerud chipped in for birdie from off the front edge of the 12th green to move back to 9-under. A pair of errant iron shots at the 16th led to a second bogey of their back nine, but Yeager’s approach from 146 yards at the par-5 18th stopped six feet from the flagstick, sealing the championship with a par.
Mugford and Freeman were the biggest movers during Tuesday’s final round, facing a five-stroke deficit before posting a 6-under 65 to finish one back of Haslerud and Yeager at 7-under 135.
Playing their front nine in 1-under Tuesday, Mugford and Freeman rattled off five birdies during their final nine holes, including three straight beginning at the 13th, to quickly move up the leaderboard and into contention with the first-round leaders.
Finishing runner-up in three of the past four seasons, 2019 champions Lehman and Rose birdied their 15th and 16th holes to pull within one shot of the lead, but failed to convert a pair of birdie chances over the final two holes. They would card a final-round 66 to earn a share of second at 135.
Newly-crowned MGA Senior Amateur champion Brellenthin and his partner Peterson fired a 4-under 67 Monday, and would play the first 10 holes of the final round in 1-under. Birdies at their 11th and 13th holes put the two to 7-under and within striking distance, but they’d be unable to convert any chances over their final five holes to card a final-round 68.
John Anderson and Bill Tadewald carded a 6-under 136 to finish in fifth place, while three teams tied for sixth at 5-under 137.
The 49th MGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be contested at The Jewel Golf Club.