Minnesota Golf Association

Herzogs Come From Behind to Edge Welch Sisters at MGA Women's Four-Ball

August 9, 2019

By Nick Hunter
  ELK RIVER, Minn. – During the finals of the 2018 Resorters at Alexandria Golf Club, Stephanie Herzog got the better of younger sister, Leah, to claim her first victory in the state since winning the 2016 Minnesota Junior PGA Championship. Leah Herzog earned redemption Sunday, advancing to the finals at the Resorters for the second straight season, this time knocking out cousin Maddie Herzog to earn her first career state win.
The Herzog sisters joined forces this week at the 2019 MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship and overcame a two-stroke deficit Thursday by carding a 2-under 70 to earn a two-shot victory over Megan and Emma Welch at Elk River Golf Club.
“We were only two shots away, so we were feeling pretty good about it today,” said Leah Herzog, beginning the final round within reach of the leaders. “We just wanted to play our own game and not worry too much about the outcome or anything. Two shots really isn’t a lot, especially in best ball.
“We had kind of a rough day yesterday, so it could really only get better from there. We obviously needed to make some birdies to make up ground out there and knew they weren’t going to be making bogeys, so you have to take advantage of some of the birdie holes, but try not be too aggressive on the tougher holes.”
Carrying a two-shot advantage to the 17th hole, the Herzogs carded bogey and saw their lead cut in half before Stephanie Herzog closed the door on the final hole, nearly jarring her approach as her ball bounced off the bottom of the flagstick, leaving a 6-foot birdie putt to earn the two-stroke victory.
“I think this is pretty cool because it’s our last tournament before we both go off to college,” said Leah Herzog, who will begin her freshman season at the University of Nebraska this fall. “It’s good for both of us to build up that confidence going into qualifying right away.”
“To win the last tournament of the year and play with Leah—it was fun,” Stephanie Herzog, a soon-to-be junior at the University of Iowa, said after the round Thursday.
Posting a frustrating 1-under par 71 during the opening round with one bogey during the front nine and another on their back nine Wednesday, the Herzog sisters got off to a better start during the final round Thursday when Stephanie Herzog wedged her approach to three feet at the fifth and converted her birdie look.
Turning at 2-under for the championship, the Herzogs would move into a share of the lead when Megan and Emma Welch carded their second bogey of the day at the par-4 ninth.
Reaching the fringe of the par-5 10th with her second shot, Stephanie Herzog two-putted for birdie to move her team into the lead for the first time before the lead was extended to two following a bogey by the Welch sisters at the 11th.
The win Thursday give Stephanie Herzog her third state victory since 2016, while she’s collected more than 20 top-10 finishes at state championships since 2012. Following her senior season at Red Wing High School in 2017, she was named Ms. Minnesota Golf.
Leah Herzog recorded one of the best seasons by a high school golfer in state history this spring, finishing the year at 40-under par and capturing Ms. Minnesota Golf as the Herzog sisters became the first siblings to win the award.
Since 2016, Leah Herzog has 12 top-10 finishes at state championships events, including a remarkable six runner-up finishes.
After posting a 3-under 69 to begin the championship Wednesday, early bogeys to start the final round proved costly for the Welch sisters, leading to a final-round 74.
“We didn’t hit good shots and they hit some really good shots,” said Megan Welch, who fell short of defending her title after winning with partner Taylor Ledwein a year ago. “I think we played well; we just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had. I think we could’ve made more birdies.”
The twosome of Alexa Hanson and Lexi Jonas bettered their opening-round score by 10 strokes Thursday, firing a tournament-low 4-under 68 to finish in third place at 2-over 146, while the pairing of Leigh Klasse and Betsy Aldrich placed fourth at 3-over 147.
Lauren and Elise Stockmoe carded a final-round 72 Thursday to earn a four-stroke victory in the First Flight, while sisters Abbey and Alexa Filipiak ran away in the Second Flight, shooting even par 72 during the final round to earn a nine-stroke victory on their home course.
A final-round 84 gave the twosome of Molly Baker and Joan Frie an 11-stroke victory in the Third Flight, finishing the 36-hole championship at 20-over 164.
The 2020 MGA Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be contested at Dellwood Country Club.


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